The Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) was developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to sustain working ranches and conserve sage grouse in 11 western states.
SGI targets conservation delivery within high sage grouse abundance centers or ¿core areas¿ to help maintain large
and intact grazing lands by applying conservation practices to maximize the biological return on conservation investments.
NRCS and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have entered into an Interagency Agreement to implement the SGI Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) to accomplish the following objectives through diverse public-private partnerships facilitated by the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV).
The objectives of the SGI SWAT are as follows:
Increase field-level capacity by placing specialized human skill sets at critical geographic `pinch points¿ to increase SGI benefits.
Increase science capacity to better focus SGI implementation, assess biological outcomes, and continually improve program delivery.Improve and enhance outreach and communication strategies to increase partner buy-in and SGI participation from landowners.
Expand SGI partnership to further leverage NRCS contributions resulting in increased outcomes and participation.The FWS, through its IWJV office located in Missoula, Montana, is seeking administrative and fiduciary assistance to implement the SGI SWAT.
The FWS and the successful applicant will manage NRCS funds and other federal funds to achieve the objectives of the SGI SWAT through a Cooperative Agreement.
The Cooperative Agreement will define the responsibilities of the FWS and the selected applicant.
The FWS through the IWJV will provide the oversight and technical guidance for all aspects of the SGI SWAT while the selected applicant will provide administrative and fiduciary services.
The applicant¿s responsibilities include developing agreements ¿ as determined by IWJV staff ¿ with a broad array of conservation partners to carry out the objectives of the SGI SWAT; ensuring fiscal accountability for NRCS and matching funds; and delivering reports as required by the NRCS-FWS Interagency Agreement.
The conservation delivery, science, and communications work facilitated by these sub-agreements will occur throughout the sage-grouse range, including portions of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.This funding opportunity was facilitated by NRCS modifying the initial NRCS-FWS Interagency Agreement to add funds for a second phase of building field delivery, science, and communications capacity.The specific criteria used for evaluation of proposals is as follows:Strong familiarity with the work of migratory bird Joint Ventures.Demonstrated experience in working with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U. S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), particularly related to the administrative policies and procedures of both agencies.Demonstrated fiduciary skills and experience in successful implementation of Cooperative Agreements and/or Contribution Agreements with the FWS and NRCS.Proven skills in managing federal funds to achieve conservation outcomes.High level of fiscal management capacity and skill in the office that would be the primary point of contact for IWJV staff in administration of this Cooperative Agreement.Low indirect rate or administrative fee for handling federal funds (5% is the maximum allowed for this funding opportunity).Significance:
The extent to which the project, if successfully carried out, will make an original and important contribution to the Fish and Wildlife Service Mission and the public.Approach:
The extent to which the concept, design, methods, analyses, and technologies are properly developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the project.Feasibility:
The likelihood that the proposed work can be accomplished within the proposed budget by the technical staff, given their experience and expertise, past progress, available resources, and institutional/organizational commitment.
Note any unusually high or low cost-effectiveness.Proposals must be consistent with the Funding Opportunity Description above and follow the parameters of the FWS-NRCS Interagency Agreement for the SGI SWAT (see attached).
The applicant shall provide the following:
1. Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424).
2. Budget Information, i.e., estimated costs to attain the project objectives.
Applicants shall use (a) Standard Form 424A, Budget Information ¿ Non-construction Projects, providing a breakdown of the available funding between contracts and administrative fees/indirect costs.
Administrative fees/indirect costs cannot exceed 5%; however, lower costs are encouraged.
3. Statement of Assurances of compliance with applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies.
Applicants should use Standard Form 424B, Statement of Assurances ¿ Non-construction Projects.
The applicant shall provide responses to the following questions in accordance with the format described below:I.
Describe your experience in working with migratory bird Joint Ventures.II.
Describe your experience in working with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U. S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to support the conservation mission of both agencies.III.
Describe your demonstrated fiduciary skills and experience in successful implementation of Cooperative Agreements and/or Contribution Agreements with the FWS and NRCS.IV.
Describe your proven skills in managing federal funds to achieve conservation outcomes.V.
Describe the level of fiscal management capacity in the office that would be the primary point of contact for the IWJV.VI.
List the indirect rate or administrative fee for handling federal funds through this Cooperative Agreement (5% is the maximum allowed for this funding opportunity).VII.
Provide resumes of staff that would carry out fiscal management tasks associated with this Agreement.The Opportunity Number must be in the subject line.Proposals must be consistent with the Funding Opportunity and follow the parameters of the FWS-NRCS Interagency Agreement for the SGI SWAT.