Section 6 Traditional Grants
Fiscal Year 2017 Request for Proposals
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) announces a Request for Proposals (RFP) for state fiscal year 2017 under the "Traditional" Section 6 research program, to be funded in state fiscal year 2018 (after 1 September 2017). Funds for these Federal Assistance grants are provided by Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund authorized by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, and are administered cooperatively between TPWD and the Endangered Species Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
NEW THIS YEAR...
I. Indirect Costs. As part of a recent,agency-wide modification Indirect Cost (F&A) is no longer capped at 15% Federal Share for federal grants. Please see "Indirect Costs" below for further details.
II. Estimated Costs. Please use the newly revised FY17 Budget Template when completing the Estimated Cost section of your proposal. Once filled in with your estimated costs you must save the file to your computer and send it, along with the Project Statement (see Proposal Guidelines).
III. Proposal submission. We can no longer accept proposals directly from the Principal Investigator(s). Proposal packages (the completed FY17 Project Statement; and, the FY17 Budget file) MUST be reviewed, approved and submitted by the Office of Sponsored Research (or similar) on behalf of the Principal Investigator(s).
Eligibility of Prospective Applicants
For Section 6 funded grants:
- Institutions of Higher Education, such as colleges or universities (private or public; see "Higher Education Coordinating Act of 1965" Sec. 61.003).
- Non-profit organizations [501c(3)].
- Federal (except Dept Interior), State, Local (County, City) offices, (see "Professional Services Procurement Act" Sec. 2254.002).
It is imperative that the applicant agency/institution possess thorough knowledge of State of Texas purchasing rules and Federal regulations (e.g., 2 CFR 200), and have the administrative expertise and infrastructure to be able to manage federally-funded state contracts.
Eligible projects for FY17
Projects that TPWD and USFWS would like to see addressed this year can be found the Priority List of Project Topics (PDF). This list is the culmination of examining the scope of conservation needs we find most pressing this year. As in previous years, these topics can change yearly depending on the nature of the conservation issues at hand. The taxa we focus on are federally listed or species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) as described in our Texas Conservation Action Plan. Our intent is always to provide avenues of research both important and narrow enough to address efficiently. The fact that there are numerous possibilities suggests only that there are many pressing conservation issues that need attention in Texas. The above set of topics above, while extensive, is not exhaustive; projects and taxa not on the list are also eligible for funding consideration in broad areas described below:
- Research on rare, threatened or endangered species in relation to habitat change and fragmentation, including management and protection on private lands;
- Status surveys (including geographic distribution, density estimates, population trends, conservation threats, etc.), habitat characterization, systematics, phylogeography and ecological assessments;
- Development and/or testing of specific experimental methods/actions designed to elicit positive responses in T&E populations, thereby facilitating recovery;
- Innovative and effective projects addressing endangered species education and outreach.
Emphasis on awarding a given proposal is placed overwhelmingly upon 1) scientific rigor (sampling effort, methodology, statistical power, etc. 2) cost-effectiveness, and 3) how well it addresses a stated conservation need. Given the broad realm of possibilities for eligible projects, and in light of the fact that Section 6 funding is normally quite limited, we strongly encourage you to seek guidance from biologists at TPWD (512-389-8111) and USFWS (512-490-0057) while developing your proposal.
Approximate proposal review timeline (months following RFP) -
- November: TPWD receives and distributes for internal TPWD review all eligible proposals. This same set of proposals is forwarded to USFWS Ecological Services Office for their own internal review. Based on an objective and systematic review process each group independently generates a rank order list of proposals for funding consideration.
- March: Staff from TPWD and USFWS meet to generate a short-list of proposals (typically <20% of those submitted). This list is then forwarded to USFWS Region 2 (Albuquerque, NM) for approval and budgeting.
- July - August: Federal budget appropriation is finalized and submitted to USFWS Regions. TPWD receives from Region 2 (USFWS) an official award letter listing projects selected for funding. No information regarding which projects made it (or did not make it) to short-list will be divulged prior to the receipt of the above-referenced official award letter.
- Upon receipt of award letter: TPWD notifies all applicants. State contracts are generated for awardees (=subgrantees). Please allow approximately 90 days from this notification until execution of state contract with subgrantee's agency or institution.
This is a two-tier system, and commences upon notification of award from USFWS.
- Tier 1: The state (TPWD) becomes 'grantee' for all Section 6 awards by authority of a cooperative agreement between states and the federal government to receive these funds. The money is obligated to the state via a federal award letter once projects are approved for funding.
- Tier 2: The successful applicant's agency/institution becomes the 'subgrantee.' Once federal money has been obligated to the state a contract can then be executed with the subgrantee. The terms of the subcontract include honoring the Objective, Approach and Estimated Cost from the Project Statement provided by applicants, as well as details regarding invoicing and other obligations.
The proposal, referred to as a (FY17 Project Statement) under federal guidelines, consists of a space delimited, electronic file in MS Word format. Please submit the completed Project Statement as a Word document.
When constructing proposal budgets, please adhere to the following:
- Projects may be of 1-3 years in duration but must be completed within 3 years.
- Funding varies; typically 6-8 projects are awarded annually, and average (last 3 years) approximately $80,000 per grant, 2 years in duration. Maximum awards rarely exceed $120,000 in total federal share; consequently, proposals with budgets of that magnitude are much less likely to be considered for award.
- Cost-split is 3:1 (federal share : applicant match). Therefore, of the Total Project Cost, at least 25% must be dedicated to Match. No extra evaluation points are awarded to Match amounts exceeding 25%.
- Note that the maximum Federal Share percentage cannot be greater than 75.000% of Total Cost (note decimal places). Anything greater than this (e.g., >75.001%) is considered 'overfunded' and is disqualified.
- Volunteer labor must be reasonable and requires documentation of fair market value.
Indirect Costs (Facilities and Administration; F&A):
- Indirect Costs must follow federal guidelines pursuant to 2 CFR (Part 220, Institutions of Higher Education; Part 225, State, Local and Tribal Governments; or, Part 230, Nonprofit Agencies).
- NEW: as part of a recent, agency-wide modification TPWD no longer caps Indirect Cost (F&A) at 15% of Federal Share. This means that applicants can, if they so choose, apply any or all of their federally authorized F&A rate to the Federal Share of the proposed budget. Alternatively, if only a portion of the full F&A rate is applied to the Federal Share, the remainder may be entered as Unrecovered F&A in the Match column per 2 CFR 200 rules.
- A copy of the valid Indirect Cost rate agreement negotiated with the appropriate cognizant federal agency must be available. If no rate has been authorized then applicants are allowed to use the 'de minimis 10% of modified total direct costs (MTDC)' rule (see 2 CFR §200.414(f)).
Miscellaneous information to be included in Project Statement
Endangered Species Permits. If working with federally listed species appropriate federal and state endangered species permits must be in your possession, and must cover all proposed activities and researchers involved in the project. If you do not have these permits by the time you apply for a grant in this program you may not have the permits in time to qualify for an award. Contact TPWD's permit office (512-389-4647) and the USFWS Endangered Species Office (email@example.com; 505-248-7450).
Landowner Permission. If proposed work is to be conducted on private land then TPWD Landowner Permission form (PDF) will need to be signed and submitted.
GIS data. If geographic locality data are to be collected then we require those data to be submitted electronically with Final Report as shapefile(s) or spreadsheets of latitude/longitude or decimal degrees.
State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) requires approval for any project that will disturb soil. Therefore, projects involving fencing, digging for soil samples, etc., may need formal clearance from the SHPO; we need to know about these activities in time to comply with state and federal regulations prior to start of field activity.
The deadline for receipt of FY17 proposals is COB November 18, 2016. Submit electronically by email attachment the completed Project Statement to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Craig Farquhar
Endangered Species Grants Coordinator
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Office Tel: (512) 389-4933
Office Fax: (512) 389-8043