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NFWF: Delaware River Restoration Fund

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)


Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $500,000

Deadline: The deadline for this grant has passed

Applicant type: Nonprofit Indigenous Group Government Entity College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Counties in New Jersey: Atlantic County, Burlington County Expand all

Location of residency: United States

Overview:

Overview

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) is soliciting proposals to restore the water quality and habitats of the Delaware River watershed. In 2018, the Delaware River Restoration Fund (DRRF) will award matching grants of $50,000 to $500,000 each to improve waters and habitats that contribute to the overall health of the Delaware River watershed. Approximately $2 million - $2.5 million in grant funding is available. Major funding for the DRRF is provided by the William Penn Foundation with additional support from the American Forest Foundation and the US Forest Service. Grants will be awarded in three categories:

Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, local governments and educational institutions to implement on-the-ground restoration to improve water quality and habitat within the focus areas of one or more of six Delaware River Watershed Initiative (DRWI) sub-watershed restoration or hybrid “Clusters,” including: the Kirkwood-Cohansey Cluster, New Jersey Highlands Cluster, Middle Schuylkill Cluster, Schuylkill Highlands Cluster, Brandywine-Christina Cluster, and Suburban Philadelphia Cluster. Projects should be located within or benefit Cluster focal areas as identified in the Cluster Plans. One or more of three priority strategies must be addressed: Conservation on Working Lands – Farms and Forests; Restoring Streams, Floodplains and Wetlands; and Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Urban/Suburban Landscapes.

Cluster Cornerstone Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, local governments and educational institutions to implement large-scale, strategic project(s) in Cluster focus areas that will serve as “cornerstones” for restoration aggregation. These projects will integrate several partners with clear roles, address multiple restoration priorities through a detailed work plan, and leverage Cluster resources (including monitoring) to serve as a model in collaboratively advancing goals set forth in Cluster plans.

Habitat Restoration Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations, local governments and educational institutions to address habitat restoration priorities as outlined in NFWF’s Delaware River Watershed Business Plan and in NFWF’s partnership with the American Forest Foundation.

Geographic Focus

DRRF projects must be implemented entirely within the Delaware River watershed, which includes portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Organizations located outside the watershed may apply if their project will be conducted entirely within the watershed. To be eligible for Targeted Implementation Grant and Cornerstone Grant funding, projects should be located within or substantially affect the focus areas of one of the six Clusters listed above and shown on the map. View detailed map here. To be eligible for a Habitat Restoration Grant, please review the relevant geographic priority areas in NFWF’s Delaware River Watershed Business Plan and the American Forest Foundation’s Hidden in Plain Sight report.

Program Priorities

All proposals must specifically address how projects for which funds are requested will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. The Delaware River Restoration Fund seeks projects in the following program priorities:

Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants.

Priority for Targeted Implementation Grants will be given to projects that address at least one of the following strategies in one or more of the focal areas identified in the Cluster plans. To obtain one or more of the Cluster plans, please contact the program director listed in this RFP.

Conservation on Working Lands – Farms and Forests. Deliver outreach and technical assistance to engage private landowners and agricultural producers in restoration and conservation on their lands using a deliberate and well-articulated implementation strategy and work plan. Programs may provide technical assistance to producers, forest managers, and other private landowners to improve the health of local waters. The most competitive projects will prioritize a comprehensive and aggregated approach to agriculture conservation and demonstrate strong collaboration with relevant federal, state, regional agencies, and conservation organizations. Projects should extensively leverage federal Farm Bill resources and other government programs for implementation, explicitly address technical assistance needs, and ensure landowners are invested in the success of the project. Specific approaches include the following:

  • Reducing pollutants entering headwater streams (including bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, thermal, and other pollutants) by increasing landowner adoption of conservation and nutrient management plans and implementation of conservation practices. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Brandywine-Christina, Middle Schuylkill, Kirkwood-Cohansey, Poconos and Kittatinny, Schuylkill Highlands, New Jersey Highlands
  • Establishing comprehensive, or “whole farm” best management practice (BMP) programs working with landowners to address all aspects of polluted runoff from the barnyard, field, pasture, and areas of conveyances including hydric soils, groundwater, wetlands, floodplains, and streams. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Middle Schuylkill, Brandywine-Christina
  • Increasing farmer participation in programs to conserve water and improve efficiency, increase on-farm infiltration of surface water to the aquifer and increase riparian buffers. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Kirkwood-Cohansey, Middle Schuylkill

Restoration of Streams, Floodplains and Wetlands. Improve or restore natural stream hydrology to reduce stream bank erosion and scouring, improve floodplain storage/infiltration and filtering capacity, and restore stream function to provide clean water and healthy habitat. Priority will be given to restoration on public lands or lands that are otherwise permanently or semi-permanently protected. Priority will be given to projects that contribute to the aggregation of restoration. Specific approaches include the following:

  • Restoring and enhancing existing stream buffers that will significantly improve their function in protecting in-stream water quality, reduce non-point source pollution introduction to the system, and increase public engagement in the practice. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Kirkwood-Cohansey
  • Restoring the capacity of rural/urban/suburban streams to mitigate the impact of land disturbances (including impervious areas) and improve floodwater retention by maximizing infiltration, addressing underlying hydrological challenges, increasing connectivity of streams with floodplains, enhancing and restoring associated wetlands, managing forests for water quality, improving riparian buffers, and restoring eroding stream banks. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Brandywine-Christina, Kirkwood-Cohansey, New Jersey Highlands, Poconos and Kittatinny, Upstream Suburban Philadelphia

Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Urban/Suburban Landscapes. Build local government capacity for green infrastructure and accelerate adoption of green infrastructure practices on private lands.

  • Increasing water conservation and on-site infiltration in order to reduce stormwater runoff, decrease aquifer withdrawals and improve critical recharge. Projects may target improved residential, municipal, and commercial water management, implementation of upland (non-riparian area) measures for decreasing nonpoint source runoff, technically-appropriate retrofits to stormwater basins (including engineered/scaled graduated outlet structures and increased native re-vegetation in infiltration areas) and other stormwater control measures. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Kirkwood-Cohansey, New Jersey Highlands, Schuylkill Highlands, Upstream Suburban Philadelphia
  • Restoring and enhancing existing stream buffers and other natural stream function to protect in-stream quality, reduce non-point source pollution, and improve infiltration. Geographic Focus by Cluster: Kirkwood-Cohansey, Schuylkill Highlands, Upstream Suburban Philadelphia

Cluster Cornerstone Grants

Cluster Cornerstone Grants will be awarded to projects that exhibit exceptional strategic planning and partner engagement to deliver one large project or a suite of projects within the focal areas of the five restoration Clusters. These projects should be designed to allow for measurable progress—and will serve as models that collaboratively advance Cluster efforts to achieve goals set forth in Cluster plans. Specifically, these projects will:

  • ​​Establish a project leadership team and coordinate well-defined roles and activities of numerous Cluster participants and other partners necessary for effective project delivery; consider including new and non-traditional partners to broaden impact.
  • Present a clear work plan (to prioritize restoration needs and the most important practices to improve water quality) with an achievable timeline that includes metrics and outcomes by which progress will be measured (look to DRRF and DRWI metrics for guidance).
  • Address multiple DRRF Program Priorities as described above for Targeted Implementation Grants.
  • Give careful consideration to watershed context by complementing other existing or planned Cluster projects, and implementing pollution source reduction strategies (upstream and upland) prior to restoration and other “end of pipe” solutions.
  • Integrate data collection, employ adaptive management and incorporate information-sharing mechanisms both within the Cluster and with external Cluster partners; have a plan for using information for education, outreach and technical assistance purposes.
  • Prioritize and fully incorporate monitoring (existing or planned) through coordination with DRWI monitoring, modeling (SRAT and other tools), and citizen science efforts.
  • Consult with NFWF and the Circuit Riders in the development of the project proposals (contact the program director for additional details); ensure appropriate technical assistance is available to partners.
  • Frame outcomes with the expectation that methods and lessons will serve as examples of strategic restoration and can be exported to other focal areas and DRWI Clusters. Successful Cluster Cornerstone Grants will serve as models and provide case studies as the DRWI moves into Phase 2.

Habitat Restoration Grants

Habitat Restoration Grants will be awarded to projects that address restoration priorities described in the Delaware River Watershed Business Plan for nearshore habitat, aquatic habitat, and forest habitat. Priority for grants in 2018 will be given to projects that address the following specific strategies:

Nearshore habita​t.

  • ​​​​Collaboratively address threats to shorebirds in the Delaware Bay, especially red knot, by increasing high quality beach habitat at priority roosting and foraging sites and reducing impacts of human and wildlife disturbances to critical habitat areas.
  • Identifying priority sites for the construction of living shorelines.

​​​​Aquatic habitat.

  • Work to restore eastern brook trout habitat within either of two overlapping DRWI water quality clusters: Poconos and Kittatinny and Middle Schuylkill (see Cluster map above). These clusters contain brook trout habitat patches that can be improved through targeted actions. In some cases, filling key knowledge gaps will be appropriate, such as: completing comprehensive barrier assessments or population assessments of brook trout and non-native trout species. Efforts to restore allopatric brook trout populations will likely include barrier removals and/or actions to improve water quality that are accompanied with estimates of the resulting increases to brook trout abundance.
    • Habitat patches have been defined by the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture and an assessment of their conservation needs was conducted by Trout Unlimited, see here.
  • Identify priority sites for restoration for alosine species (including American shad and river herring) by developing criteria to evaluate habitat suitability and existing barriers or impediments to connectivity. Criteria should consider habitat quality, feasibility and cost effectiveness—and result in list of most actionable waters with greatest chance for success

​Forest habitat.

  • ​Improve the management of large forest blocks to enhance age and structural diversity (early successional, transitional mature, and late successional) in the region to demonstrate beneficial forest habitat conditions for birds and other wildlife (esp. wood thrush, golden-winged warbler and cerulean warbler). 
  • Applicants seeking to work with private, family-owned woodlands are encouraged to target opportunities in the Upper Delaware. This specific watershed has been identified by the American Forest Foundation as the greatest opportunity to work with family woodland owners to protect and improve wildlife habitats in their woods. For more information, including details on the selected HUC-12 watershed, refer to AFF’s report Hidden in Plain Sight.

Funding Availability

The DRRF will award $2 million to $2.5 million in grants in 2018. Generally grants of less than $100,000 will be awarded for restoration at a single site and/or involving a limited number of partners. Any proposals requesting $100,000 to $500,000 should represent broad-based partnerships engaged in implementing comprehensive watershed restoration approaches that may include multiple sites and multiple strategies. Grants will be awarded in three categories:

Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants will range from $50,000 to $250,000 each.  Projects must be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award, and completed within two years of grant award.

Cluster Cornerstone Grants may qualify for up to $500,000 each. Projects must be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award. Typically, projects are completed within two years of grant award, but a longer timeline can be requested to implement all projects and achieve desired outcomes.

Habitat Grants will be awarded in the range of $50,000 to $250,000 each. Projects must be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award, and completed within two years of grant award.

Applicants may only apply to one of the above funding categories for a project (e.g. an applicant cannot use the same project or components of the project to apply for a Cornerstone Grant and Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants).

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants
    • These grants require a minimum matching contribution valued at 25% of total project costs (i.e., 1/3 of the grant request) is required; however grants in the higher end of the range are strongly encouraged to approach or exceed 50% match to ensure competitiveness.
  • Cluster Cornerstone Grants
    • These grants require a minimum matching contribution valued at 25% of total project costs (i.e., 1/3 of the grant request) is required; however grants in the higher end of the range are strongly encouraged to approach or exceed 50% match to ensure competitiveness. 
  • Habitat Grants
    • Applicants are encouraged to have matching contributions valued at 50% of total project costs (1:1 ratio)

Preferences:

  • Priority for Targeted Watershed Implementation Grants will be given to DRWI Cluster participants and their partners.

Ineligibility:

  • Ineligible applicants include: unincorporated individuals, businesses, U.S. Federal government agencies, and state government agencies.
  • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.


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