Section 6 Competitive ("Nontraditional") Grants

FY 2016 Request for Proposal
Deadline for TPWD receipt of proposals: 7 MARCH 2016


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is announcing the Fiscal Year 2016 Request for Proposals (RFP) for Competitive (“Nontraditional”) Section 6 funds. These are funds made available to state wildlife agencies through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) from Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; hereafter “USFWS”) for the conservation of threatened and endangered species. The CESCF programs are authorized through Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., as amended. The codified program regulations can be found at 50 CFR 81. Full description of the federal RFP is available at USFWS Grants (See Full Announcement of Federal Request for Proposals at: www.fws.gov/endangered/grants). Note that the federal description also includes mention of “Traditional” grants but these are handled separately by states so please only pay attention to material related to Nontraditional grants.

The Nontraditional Section 6 grants are competitive and nationwide (U. S.) - there are no funds directly ear-marked for Texas. Any proposals we submit will compete with other proposals regionally (Recovery Land Acquisitions) and nationally (Habitat Conservation Planning, and HCP Land Acquisitions).

For fiscal year 2016, the budgeted amount for Nontraditional Section 6 grants is $54.495 million, including $9.485 million for Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants, $11.162 million for Recovery Land Acquisition Grants, and $19.638 million for Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition Grants. Last year (FY2015), USFWS awarded #37.2 million for the Nontraditional Section 6 grant program, including approximately $4.7 million for Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance (fully funded 11 of 11 eligible proposals, 9 States), $20.3 million for HCP Land Acquisitions (fully funded 12 of 12 eligible proposals), and approximately $12.2 million for Recovery Land Acquisitions (funding 22 projects, 11 States). Information on the fiscal year 2015 grant awards can be found at: www.fws.gov (PDF).

FY2016 Program Information

Grant Program

Purpose

Funding

Competition

Financial (non-federal) Match Requirement *

Recovery Land Acquisition

acquisition of land in support of approved recovery goals or objectives

$11.162 million

Regional

25% of estimated project cost; or 10% when two or more States or Territories implement a joint project

Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance

support development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)

$9.485 million

National

25% of estimated project cost; or 10% when two or more States or Territories implement a joint project

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition

acquisition of land associated with approved HCPs

$19.638 million

National

25% of estimated project cost; or 10% when two or more States or Territories implement a joint project

* As required under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, grants to states and territories must include a minimum contribution by the project's non-Federal partners. These contributions can be in-kind staff time or donations.


For grants in Texas, all proposals must be submitted through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

These funds are not directly available to individual organizations, but are indirectly available through partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Proposals must strictly follow guidelines indicated here.

The grant requires a minimum 75:25 cost share, so applicants will need to provide the match. The match is based upon Total Project Costs, and must be from non-federal funding sources.

Awards for these CESCF “Nontraditional” grants (i.e., Competitive Section 6) will be announced through a national press release and a memorandum to the Regional Directors of the Service for further notification of the applicants’ selection for an award. Notification of an award through a press release or letter from a USFWS Regional Office is not an authorization to begin performance. The successful applicant (thereafter referred to as “subrecipient” or “subgrantee”) to TPWD in response to the program announced here will be asked to sign an agreement (state contract) that specifies the project requirements, such as the cost share, the project design, the time commitment for maintaining the project’s benefits, and the reporting requirements, and that provides for USFWS access to the project area in order to check on its progress.

The subrecipient is reimbursed based on the cost-sharing formula in the agreement. An applicant should not initiate a project proposal in expectation of CESCF funding, nor should they purchase materials or begin work until such time as they receive the final grant award document signed by an authorized Service official.

USFWS is committing resources to addressing climate change and if a project proposal has a climate change component then the project narrative should articulate how the project addresses that topic. As part of this commitment the USFWS is encouraging Regional Offices to include the context of climate change when evaluating new proposals.

Keep in mind the federal ranking criteria, as described under Application Review (Section VI of the federal RFP), while developing your proposal. Project descriptions that clearly address the specific ranking criteria in an organized manner will facilitate proposal review and scoring. If you have any questions regarding organization and structuring of your proposal please do not hesitate to contact us.


Below is a brief synopsis of the three available grants (also see www.fws.gov/endangered/grants)

Habitat Conservation Planning Assistance Grants - This category provides funds to States and Territories to support the development of Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs), or Regional Habitat Conservation Plans (RHCPs, which cover broader geographic areas, such as counties; but hereafter HCP refers also to RHCP). Competition for these grants is held at the National level. The purpose of an HCP is to ensure adequate protection for threatened and endangered species, while at the same time providing for economic growth and development. These grants provide support for baseline surveys and inventories, document preparation, outreach, and similar planning activities. In all cases it is expected that work funded from this grant would assist with recovery of covered species. Draft HCP documents prepared for an awarded HCP Planning grant are expected to meet issuance criteria for incidental take under Section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act (1973, as amended). Applicants are strongly advised to consult with their local USFWS Field Office prior to submitting a final proposal in order to fully understand the documentation requirements leading to 10(a) permit issuance. The USFWS is the sole authority in determining whether issuance criteria have been met. This year there is a $1,000,000 cap on HCP Planning Assistance Grants.

HCP Land Acquisition Grants * - These grants provide funds to States and Territories to acquire land associated with approved HCPs. Grants do not fund the mitigation required of an HCP permittee, but rather, support acquisitions by the state or local governments that complement actions associated with the HCP. Competition for these grants is held at the National level. The HCP Land Acquisition program supports both single-species and multiple-species

HCPs. This year, there is a $2 million cap on HCP Land Acquisition Grants.

The HCP Land Acquisition program has three primary purposes: 1) to fund land acquisitions that complement, but do not replace, private mitigation responsibilities contained in HCPs, 2) to fund land acquisitions that have important benefits for listed, proposed, and candidate species**, and 3) to fund land acquisitions that have important benefits for ecosystems that support listed, proposed and candidate species. The HCP Land Acquisition program supports both single-species and multiple-species HCPs. This year, 10 percent of the total amount of HCP Land Acquisition funding will be targeted to support proposals for single-species HCPs.

Recovery Land Acquisition Grants * - These grants provide funds to States and Territories for acquisition of threatened and endangered species habitat in support of approved and draft species recovery plans. Acquiring habitat in order to secure long term protection is often the critical element in a comprehensive recovery effort for a listed species. Generally, proposals benefiting multiple important taxa are ranked higher. Competition for these grants is held at the Regional level.

* For land acquisition grants (HCP Lands and Recovery Lands) it is important to note that development inholdings (i.e., within the boundaries of the subject property) are generally prohibited, except under the strictest of circumstances (e.g., single family dwelling, small footprint, minimal impact) on a case-by-case basis; no commercial development will be allowed.

** Candidate Species as defined at 50 CFR 424.02(b) means “any species being considered by the Secretary for listing as an endangered or a threatened species, but not yet the subject of a proposed rule.” Therefore, any species identified by the State or Territorial agency that has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Service may be considered a candidate for the purposes of the CESCF grant programs provided that upon selecting a project for an award, or in forwarding that project for consideration for an award, the Regional Director will affirm that the species is being considered for listing, and upon conclusion of the grant project, make a determination of whether the species should or should not continue to be considered for listing as an endangered or threatened species.

Application proposals to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for consideration under this grant program should strictly follow the guidelines below. Failure to follow format instructions will automatically disqualify the application package.

Proposals (Project Statement, “B. Project Narrative” p. 10 of current USFWS RFP: www.fws.gov/endangered/grants | PDF).

Project Statement Guidelines (Times New Roman, 11 pt, single spaced):

  1. Title Page. Include Title, Name and Contact information for applicants.
  2. Need. Why is the project being undertaken? (NOT TO EXCEED ONE PAGE)
  3. Objective. What is to be accomplished during the period of the grant pursuant to the stated need? Specify what is to be accomplished within the time, money, and staffing allocated; identify a recognizable end point; and be quantifiable or verifiable. (NOT TO EXCEED ONE SENTENCE) Example: “To acquire by conservation easement 1,500 acres (Johnson Ranch) of prime watershed within the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer, Texas.”
  4. Expected Results or Benefits. What will be the results or benefits of accomplishing the objective? Try to provide quantifiable or verifiable resource benefits, such as listed and unlisted species benefited. (NOT TO EXCEED ½ PAGE)
  5. Approach. How will the objective be attained? Include only specific, numbered procedures, arranged chronologically. Keep procedures brief, simple and understandable.
  6. Contact information. Provide telephone numbers and email addresses of key project personnel and cooperators.
  7. Location. Where (city, county, etc, as applicable) will the work (HCP, land acquisition) be performed? Attach location map (see Attachments below).
  8. Estimated Cost. Provide breakdown of what it will cost to attain the objective.
    See following page for detailed example.
  9. Milestone Schedule. Timetable for initiation and completion of procedures outlined in Approach.
  10. Literature Cited.
  11. Attachments. For HCP grants, attach list(s) of species benefited, maps, etc. For land acquisitions (fee simple or conservation easement) please attach map(s) of lands with accurate boundaries to be acquired, letters of support (including a Willing Seller letter), and other relevant documentation.

Please Note: the federal RFP instructs applicants to fill out a Standard Form-424, but you may disregard this request as TPWD will submit it for you.

  • Willing Seller letter: must be written and signed by the seller, stating the intent to sell subject property at current fair market value (see below) to be determined in accordance with Federal standards. If such a letter is not available prior to submission of the proposal to TPWD then, in the event of the project being awarded funds, the transfer of funds to TPWD (approval of Standard Federal Application form 424) from USFWS shall not occur until such letter has been received.
  • Fair Market Value: subject property is appraised by an independent, certified appraiser which is then reviewed by an independent certified review appraiser; both are to follow Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions ("Yellow Book"). It is strongly encouraged to obtain the services of appraisers with expertise in local markets and Yellow Book standards.

Estimated Cost

Below is an example budget (categories may vary for land acquisitions). See instructions below for each item.

Example Budget with Instructions Below

Item No.

Budgeted Item

Federal Share

Non-federal Share (match)

Total

1

Personnel

$ 80,000.00

$ 20,000.00

$100,000.00

2

Travel

$ 29,000.00

$ 9,000.00

$ 38,000.00

3

Equipment

$ 8,000.00

$ 5,000.00

$ 13,000.00

4

Supplies

$ 10,000.00

$ 9,000.00

$ 19,000.00

5

Contractual

$ 18,000.00

$ 2,000.00

$ 20,000.00

6

Other

$ 5,000.00

$ 5,000.00

$ 10,000.00

7

TOTALS

$ 150,000.00

$ 50,000.00

$200,000.00

 

Percentages

75%

25%

100%

  1. Personnel: List names of all individuals or agencies collaborating on project along with personnel/agency titles, estimated hours on project, and rates per hour. Does not include third-party contractors (see Contractual below). Fringe Benefits: additional personnel costs, including FICA, Retirement, Insurance, etc. Indirect Charges: subcontractee administrative overhead, include rate as a percent & attach institutional rate agreement.
  2. Travel : Lodging, mileage, meals, per diem (as appropriate) per individual.
  3. Equipment: capital expenses for equipment to be used for project.
  4. Supplies: routine costs for items needing replenishment throughout project.
  5. Contractual: expenses for services under contract with third parties, list names and contact information. These costs will need to adhere to standards in §2 CFR 200.330.
  6. Other: Items not listed above. Itemize and include justification. For In-kind contributions provide signed commitment letters which include verifiable monetary valuations.
  7. Total Project Costs: sum of Federal Share and Nonfederal Share; at least 25% of this amount represents the match.

Proposal package (Project Statement, related materials,) should be emailed as an attachment in Microsoft Word, pdf, or compatible format to craig.farquhar@tpwd.texas.gov . Please note that materials exceeding 8 Mb will need to be emailed in smaller packages or delivered by surface mail (preferably overnight) to the address below.

 

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION TO TPWD: COB, 7 MARCH 2016

Dr. Craig Farquhar
Endangered Species Grants Coordinator
Wildlife Division
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Office telephone: 512-389-4933
Office fax: 512-389-8043


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