Texas Wildlife Research Program
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) Grants
Proposal Specifications and Guidelines
Request for Proposals — November 2021
1. Native Bird and Mammal Conservation/Management
All proposals must be consistent with the purpose of the Wildlife Research (WR) program in that they must contribute to the conservation and/or management of Texas native bird and mammal species.
2. Matching Requirements and Funding Limitations
The funding awarded through this RFP originates from the WR grant program. WR is a cost-share program that requires a non-federal match to the funding that is awarded. The current cost-ratio for WR grants is 75:25, meaning that all grants require non-federal matching funds that are equal to at least 25% of the grant’s total cost. Funds will be made available to the grantee on a reimbursement basis.
All funding recipients under this RFP will be required to provide the non-federal matching funds for their grant (25% of the grant’s total cost). No federal funds, including funds from other federal grant programs, can be used as matching funds for the WR grant program. Non-federal matching funds cannot have been used to match other federal grants.
We anticipate over $1,000,000.00 will be available to support the proposals funded through this RFP. Proposals should request at least $250,000 in federal reimbursement for the life of the grant. Any requested amount must meet the 75:25 matching rate already listed.
Indirect costs are no longer capped at 15%. TPWD has a statutory and fiduciary responsibility to maximize cost-effectiveness of grant dollars. One important measure of cost effectiveness is the quantity or quality of tangible products proposed to be generated from funded projects. Applicants may voluntarily reduce their reimbursable indirect (F&A) rates to dedicate more funds to their project goals. Unrecovered indirect costs may be used to meet match requirements.
3. Proposal Format and Proposal Preparation Guidance
All proposals submitted in response to this RFP must be written in the format described in Appendices I and II. Proposals should contain a thorough description of the activities to be performed and the data that will be collected and provided with the project’s Interim Performance Reports and Final Report.
Proposals must be submitted in Microsoft Word format using 8-1/2 x 11 inch pages and 11-point font or greater with one inch margins for all sections. Sections A through S of the proposal text (see Appendix I) should not exceed 10 pages. Proposals exceeding this length will not be accepted. The proposal may include up to six additional pages for needed attachments and/or appendices that may present data tables, graphs or maps that support the proposal’s narrative section.
Total electronic file size for all materials submitted should not exceed 25 MB. We will send an email within 2 business days confirming receipt of your application. Application materials will not be returned following evaluations and awards.
4. Compliance with Federal and State Law
Excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment are collected and appropriated from the WR account. These funds are then apportioned to the states based on a formula that takes into account the size of the state and number of licensed hunters in that state. Texas has opted to pass some of these monies on to sub-recipients for research through this RFP. Because the WR program’s funds are federal dollars, all activities funded through the program must comply with all federal laws.
Successful grant recipients will be considered sub-recipients of TPWD and will be required to comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations including the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. If handling endangered species, the Primary Investigator (PI) will be required to provide his or her federal scientific collecting permit number or indicate if the PI will obtain a federal scientific collecting permit before contract approval. Additionally, the grant recipient is required to obtain a state scientific collector's permit if any non-threatened or endangered species will be captured, held in possession temporarily or collected as part of the project.
Proposals that will request grant funds to purchase and/or operate any unmanned aerial system (UAS)/unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)/drone must purchase the UAS from a federally approved manufacturer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently following guidance provided by the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) "Blue sUAS project" at www.diu.mil/autonomy-blue-sua on what UAS manufacturers they will approve for purchase and use in projects they fund. Any proposal requesting funds for the purchase or operation of a UAS must be purchasing/operating a UAS from one of the federally approved manufacturers listed in the link above.
Projects that involve construction or soil-disturbing activities must be prepared to address their potential effect on archaeological and cultural resources as well as historic preservation. Projects that involve the capture or collection of any vertebrate species may require Animal Welfare compliance (e.g., Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and Health Research Extension Act of 1985). As a condition of accepting federal funds through the WR program, grant recipients must agree to adhere to all Federal Assistance compliance requirements including a thorough written assessment of the project’s Environmental Compliance in Section R of the proposal (see Appendix I for details) and the timely submission of financial and project performance reports. The recipient’s organization must have a system to track and document all expenses claimed toward the grant.
Any work to be performed on private lands in Texas using these funds requires, as a matter of state statute (TPW 12.103) and TPWD policy, that grantees secure written permission from the private landowner(s) for the purposes of (1) access to the land, and (2) use of data collected on that land. If your project will include reporting results from specifically identified private lands, written permission from applicable private landowners will be required to be provided to TPWD before the contract can be approved. Complete and attach form PWD 0153a Landowner Permission for Wildlife Research PDF including landowner(s) signature and date to this application packet to verify that they have read, understood and agreed to your proposal; will grant access to their land to specified individuals; and will grant permission to use data obtained from the project for scientific and/or environmental consultation purposes (e.g., reports, maps, databases). OR, if the project has not specifically identified private lands at the time of proposal submission, a form PWD 0153a Landowner Permission for Wildlife Research must be provided later before contract approval. If such action becomes necessary after the contract has been signed, then documentation, as specified above, will be required before work can begin on identified private lands study sites.
5. TPWD Wildlife Division Project Coordinator
PIs should provide the name of the TPWD Wildlife Division employee that they would prefer to act as the Project Coordinator (PC) for their project(s) subject to the provisions below. All TPWD-funded research projects must include a TPWD employee contact who will serve as first point-of-contact and advisor on all matters related to the project. This person will serve as co-author on any publications resulting from this research and will be the point-of-contact for submission of all required reports. If no PC is identified by the PI, then one will be assigned. If a PI has identified a preferred PC, the PI must contact the proposed PC to inform him/her of this fact and to obtain written approval (email is sufficient) from the proposed PC’s supervisor (via the PC) stating that he/she is approved to function as PC on the project. This approval must be obtained prior to listing the proposed PC on the proposal. Include this supervisory approval email as one of the proposal attachments. . A PI’s failure to verify supervisory approval prior to proposal submission may result in a different PC being assigned to the project IF the project is selected for funding.
6. Performance Reporting Requirements
All successful applicants will be required to provide annual reports of their project’s activities to satisfy federal project monitoring requirements.
An Interim Report will be due to TPWD within 30 days of the annual reporting period end date of the grant as listed in the contract. A Final Report will be due to TPWD within 30 days of the completion of the grant. Interim and Final reports are critically important and must be submitted on time in order to process grant invoices. Invoice payments may be delayed because of untimely report submissions, and invoices may be returned if the required reports are not received on or before their scheduled due dates. Each Interim Report and the Final Report must be provided in Microsoft Word format; reports submitted in any other format will be rejected. PIs are encouraged to submit digital images/photos with their reports that depict various aspects of their project including procedures employed in the field, their study site and the species involved in the project. Performance reports must contain a comparison of the actual accomplishments during that grant segment with the objectives of the grant as written in the proposal/scope of work. If applicable, an explanation must be provided describing why the objectives were not met and any other pertinent information relevant to the project results.
7. Duration of Grants
Grants may start between September 1, 2022 and December 1, 2022. Please be sure to take into account delays that result from hiring students, complying with federal or state regulations (particularly those involving ground disturbing activities), special order equipment or other items applicable to the submitted project. Typical grant duration is expected to be two to five years in length.
8. Budget Preparation
Budgets must be submitted on the provided Excel template (Appendix II). The project title on the Excel budget form should match exactly the title from the MS Word proposal text. Text in the Excel budget should also be 11 point font or greater.
The necessary funding for the entire project should be included in the proposal. Detailed information itemizing expenses should be provided in the Budget Justification (Excel Sheet 2) of the template under the applicable cost categories. The budget should be prepared as a series of state fiscal year budgets (running September 1 to August 31) for each year or partial year of the project. The budget also should identify the source(s) of the non-federal matching funds that will be provided by the grant recipient. The budget shall be prepared by the institution’s fiscal, budget, or grant staff, and signed by this individual. Once the contract is developed between TPWD and the grant recipient’s institution, TPWD will reimburse the grant recipient for up to 75% of its approved invoiced costs. More information about budget preparation is found in Appendix I, Section N and in Appendix II. PIs and/or institutional budget/contracting personnel are strongly encouraged to email email@example.com if you have any questions while drafting your proposal budgets to avoid having to resolve errors after they have been finalized and submitted, which delays TPWD’s proposal review process.
9. Pre-Award Meeting
Successful grant applicants and their relevant fiscal staff shall participate in a pre-award meeting with relevant TPWD program and Federal Assistance staff to discuss reporting requirements and financial aspects of the grant process.
10. Evaluation Criteria
All of the proposals received through this RFP will be evaluated under the same set of criteria. These criteria are described in Appendix III.
Proposal Submission Deadline and Contact
The deadline for the submission of proposals is the close of business (5:00:00 p.m. CST) on Friday, January 14, 2022. Proposals that are received after this date and time will not be considered for selection. No exceptions will be allowed.
Applicants must submit an electronic copy (Microsoft Word/Excel files) of their proposal in the format described in the attachments to TPWD by this deadline. Email proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions regarding the content of this RFP may be directed to email@example.com.
Proposals sent in response to this solicitation will be evaluated by a review committee based upon the criteria listed in Appendix III. The solicitation and evaluation will follow the timeline below.
- March 2022 — Wildlife Research Review Committee meets to assess, rank and choose final proposals for award.
- On or about April 1, 2022 — Successful grant applicants will be notified, any needed revisions to their proposals will be requested of the PIs, and a TPWD biologist will be assigned to each project. The TPWD lead biologist, or Project Coordinator (PC), will work with TPWD's Federal Aid office to guide each proposal through the process of becoming a federal grant (i.e. creation of the grant's project statement using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's online system, creation of required environmental compliance documentations, etc.). Each project is subject to final approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Once the federal award is received, TPWD will enter into a contractual agreement with the sub-recipient and ultimately issue a purchase order to fund the project.
- Awardees (PIs) will have until May 1, 2022, to submit back to TPWD through their PC any changes to their proposals requested by the Wildlife Research Review Committee. Delays in return of these updates/edits will result in a delayed project starting date in the contract.
- Due to the time requirements needed for full processing by both the TPWD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, projects cannot have starting dates earlier than September 1, 2022.
At all times, grantees shall be considered cooperators and not agents or representatives of TPWD.
Grantees shall be subject to potential audit by the Texas State Auditor’s Office and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Because of the origin of this funding, grantees will be considered to be sub-recipients of both TPWD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
TPWD reserves the right to terminate a contractual agreement for failure to perform obligations under the contract.
TPWD reserves the right not to select a proposal in the listed topic areas due to funding limitations, insufficient proposal quality or any other factors deemed appropriate.