Section 6 Grants: Competitive ('Nontraditional') Grants

Fiscal Year 2015 Request for Proposals

Deadline for TPWD receipt of proposals is 19 January, 2015

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is announcing the Fiscal Year 2015 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. 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 2015 the President’s budget request for Nontraditional Section 6 grants is $50 million. Last year (FY2014), the President’s budget request was $56 million for this program but the final awards totaled $35 million. Information on the fiscal year 2014 grant awards can be found here (PDF).

As usual, due to budget changes currently ongoing in Congress, there is no indication as to what this year’s total award may be, nor are there estimated proportions given this year regarding funds distributed across the three major Nontraditional grants. Therefore, the table below describes the grant programs only.

FY2015 Program Information
Grant Program Purpose Funding Competition Financial (Non-federal) Match Requirement*
Recovery Land Acquisition acquisition of habitat in support of approved recovery goals or objectives n/a 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) n/a national 25% of estimated project cost; or 10% when two or more States or Territories implement a joint project
Habitat Conservatipn Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition acquisition of land associated with approved HCPs n/a 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.

**A species covered by the HCP is any species (listed or unlisted) that is included in the section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, thus receiving incidental take authorization.

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.

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 75:25 cost share, so applicants will need to provide the 25% 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.

**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.

Keep in mind the federal ranking criteria, as described under Application Review Information (Section V 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 (Please read carefully).

IMPORTANT: there is now a strict three (3) year time limit for completion of projects in any of the categories listed below. If you are uncertain whether your project would be completed within a 3-year timeframe then you should consider not applying for these 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 $750,000 cap on HCP Planning Assistance Grants.

As in prior years, the Service will be implementing a $1 million cap on HCP Planning Assistance proposals. HCP Planning Assistance proposals should request no more than $1 million in Federal funds as the maximum amount that will be awarded annually per HCP planning effort is $1 million.

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.

Please note: for fiscal year 2013, 10 percent of the funding available through the HCP Land Acquisition program will be targeted to support single-species HCP land acquisition projects. Also, for fiscal year 2013, the Service will place a $3 million (federal share) cap on HCP Land Acquisition proposals.

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.

Proposals (Project Statement)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: There has been considerable consolidation and revision of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) circulars to the extent that a new document has been codified, entitled §2 CFR 200. Please be aware that the new rules in this document take effect Dec. 26, 2014 (although some requirements have a grace period) and will likely affect the preparation of your proposals and other business processes, such as procurement. The requirements of §2 CFR 200 will apply to the Section 6 grant program administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. We therefore encourage you to become familiar with the requirements for compliance with the new rules. Further information can be found here.

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.

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 nonlisted 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, if needed (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) must attach map(s) of lands with accurate boundaries to be acquired, letters of support (including a Willing Seller letter), and other relevant documentation.

Estimated Cost

Below is an example budget (categories may vary for land acquisitions). See instructions below for each item.  If applicant is awarded funding, all invoices submitted for payment shall list expenses grouped by line items as they appear in the Estimated Cost section; documentation of all expenses (copies of receipts) shall also accompany all invoices for payment.

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: contractee 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.
  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 in Microsoft Word, PDF, or compatible format to Please note that materials exceeding 5 Mb will need to be e-mailed as smaller files or delivered by surface mail to the address below.

Surface Mail Information:

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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