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 Request for Preliminary Proposals for an Evaluation of the Pacific Seabirds Program

October 14, 2013

Requesting Organization:  National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1133 15th Street NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005. Contact: Christina Kakoyannis, Director, Strategic Planning & Evaluation, 202-595-2462; Christina.kakoyannis@nfwf.org.

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) invites a preliminary proposal for performing the following evaluation: Pacific Seabirds Program (PSP). The successful grantee will be selected through a competitive process.  The available budget for the third-party evaluation is approximately $125,000–$150,000, although the actual award amount will be dependent on the number and depth of the evaluation questions addressed and budget documentation.

PROGRAM BACKGROUND

Focal Species
IUCN Red List Status
Ashy Storm-petrel
Endangered
Black-footed Albatross
Vulnerable
Hawaiian Petrel
Vulnerable
Kittlitz’s Murrelet
Critically Endangered
Laysan Albatross
Near Threatened
Newell’s Shearwater
Endangered
Pink-footed Shearwater
Vulnerable
Red-legged Kittiwake
Vulnerable
Townsend’s Shearwater
Critically Endangered
Scripps’s Murrelet
Vulnerable

Seabirds represent a diverse group of birds whose life history cycles are intricately linked to marine and coastal resources.  The overlap of seabird activity in the marine environment with that of human commercial and industrial activity has driven many species to the brink of extinction. Consider the following facts:

  • 97 of 346 seabird species (28%) are globally threatened; seabirds are more threatened than any other large bird group, including parrots (374 species; 26% imperiled), doves (318 species; 19% imperiled) or raptors (238 species; 18% imperiled).[1]
  • The principle threats to the 97 globally threatened seabird species include: invasive animals on breeding islands (affects 73 species); fisheries by-catch (40 species); human disturbance (26 species), and habitat loss due to development (14 species).

The Pacific Ocean represents one of the most globally significant regions for threatened seabird conservation. Based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List, 85 of 103 Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable seabirds occur in the Pacific region. The Pacific Seabird Program outlines a 6-year strategy to guide investments that are designed to measurably and directly improve current populations and/or the conservation status of ten seabird species (Table 1) in the Pacific. Conservation actions outlined in the Pacific Seabird Program business plan will also benefit more than 65 additional seabird species.

The Pacific Seabird Program business plan identifies six core strategies for improving the conservation status of focal species and creating sustainable populations through increasing survival and reproductive success.

    1. Removal of non-native, invasive animals: Support invasive animal removal efforts that engage key partners, with a proven track record of conducting successful eradications, to ensure the protection and recovery of seabird populations into the future.

    2. Removal of invasive plants: The Foundation pursues a three-tiered approach to invasive plant threats: a) removal; b) restoration of native plant communities; c) bio-security planning to prevent reintroduction

    3. Reduce seabird by-catch: To reduce by-catch threats, the Foundation works to advance the development of specific fishery-appropriate mitigation gear, increase voluntary adoption rates amongst the fleets, and improve our understanding of threats to specific seabirds by increasing observer coverage.

    4. Capacity-building: NFWF’s strategy emphasizes close collaboration with conservation partners that have an on-the-ground presence in local communities and are already fostering pride and support for seabird conservation in those communities.

    5. Fill information gaps: For several imperiled species, lack of information is the primary and initial hurdle to effective conservation. A key strategy of this program is to fill those information voids, thus allowing for more effective, directed conservation outcomes and actions in the future.

    6. Protect seabird foraging locations and forage prey base: A successful strategy for protecting seabird forage bases will bring together fisheries managers, marine protected area managers, and seabird conservation experts to develop practical and measurable fisheries practices that benefit both seabirds and the commercial fishing industry.

Since 2011, 40 grants have been awarded—the average grant is $207,000 (range $8,000 to $900,000); >90% of funding has been directed to one or more focal species. Conservation actions have been funded for all key strategies; however, >50% of funding has been directed towards planning and implementation of invasive animal removal projects and 22% of funding has been awarded to partners addressing invasive plant threats. Project metrics for determining the outcomes of individual awards are diverse and include species specific measures (e.g., mortality reduction, increased breeding success or individuals), habitat measures (e.g., acres restored and acres with reduced predation threat) and measures for capturing human behavioral change (e.g., # of boats using mitigation measures for reducing seabird bycatch or # individuals trained, educated or engaged in environmental projects or programs) as well as the outcomes of research work (e.g., # of research studies completed resulting in BMPs).

SCOPE OF WORK

The evaluation findings will be used to determine the following:  

  1. what conservation outcomes the program has accomplished,
  2. where the program has added value to seabird conservation that would not have been present without this investment, and
  3. how the program can best be implemented in the future to maximize conservation goals.

Anticipated evaluation questions include the following:

  • What is the added value or contribution of NFWF’s Seabird program across the conservation landscape? To what extent has the program stimulated:
    • Additional funding?
    • Partnership development?
    • Organizational capacity to scope and initiate new projects (outside of NFWF funding)?
    • Increased visibility of seabird conservation?
  • Were initial scope and selection of species and strategies appropriate to the conservation need?
    • Are we addressing priority needs with the appropriate strategies?
  • To what degree is the program on track for achieving goals? To what extent has it achieved on-the-ground implementation of core objectives?
    • Has the program benefited focal species? Additional species?
    • Has the program had an on-the-ground impact on seabird conservation?
    • Is the program able to report on outcomes using existing metrics?
  • What is the program’s greatest point of leverage and why?
    • Where should the program focus to maximize impact in the future?
    • How is NFWF’s program distinct from (and complimentary with) Packard’s Marine Bird program?
    • Are there opportunities for leveraging off each other’s programs?
  • What are the primary future directions the program should pursue to continue to have the desired impact or to expand its conservation impact?
    • Are there strategies that we should consider as we move forward that we have not invested in?
    • In what priority geographies should the program invest?
    • Should the program expand or is consolidation of existing outcomes and successes the best future investment?

Specific methods could likely include:

  • Focus groups and/or interviews with key stakeholders, including grantees and program partners, perhaps in conjunction with established meetings
  • Survey questionnaire
  • Review and analysis of grant project proposals and reports to compile anticipated and reported project results
  • Field visits to a very limited number of project sites to ground truth the actual on-the-ground conservation outcomes achieved by the grant projects

Although this list provides our thinking to date on the general scope of work to be addressed by the evaluation, the evaluation design needs to remain flexible to address additional questions that will emerge through consultation with program stakeholders.  Therefore, significant collaboration between the evaluator and NFWF will be required throughout the evaluation to ensure that the proper questions are being posed and answered.

CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS

Highest priority will be given to applicants based on the following criteria:

  1. Understanding of the Scope of Work.  The proposal must demonstrate originality and an understanding of the activities involved in seabird conservation, including invasive species removal, bycatch reduction, and capacity-building.
  2. Technical Approach.  The proposed technical approach for conducting the evaluation must demonstrate familiarity and proficiency in using the various research methods and designs determined to be appropriate for conducting the investigation.  For instance, this might include a description of methods for collecting and analyzing primary data from a survey, interviews, or site visits.
  3. Qualifications of Proposed Personnel.  The proposal should describe relevant professional experience in the following areas:  (a) evaluation study design and implementation; (b) experience dealing with federal, state, and local governmental agencies as well as national and local NGOs involved with conservation; (c) an understanding of seabird life history sufficient to be able to ground truth reported outcomes of a sample of grant projects; (d) conducting and disseminating research involving humans as subjects and (e) Spanish language fluency recommended.
  4. Contractor’s Past Performance.  The proposal should include information on the primary investigator(s)’s past performance conducting evaluations with NFWF or other organizations.  If sub-contractors are to be used, information should be provided that demonstrates their past performance as well.

COMMUNICATIONS EXPECTATIONS

A successful evaluation of PSP will require significant ongoing communication with NFWF staff. In addition, the contracted evaluator will be expected to produce a final report and presentation that includes evaluation findings as well as recommendations for where future grantmaking investments should be directed to maximize conservation impact.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

Eligible applicants are individuals, institutions of higher education, other nonprofits, commercial organizations, international organizations, and local, state and Indian tribal governments.

SELECTION PROCEDURE 

A panel of NFWF staff will review the preliminary and full proposals.  Applicants may be asked to modify objectives, work plans, or budgets prior to final approval of the award.  Only one award will be made for this project.  If multiple institutions are involved, they should be handled through sub-awards and sub-contracts.

PRELIMINARY AND FULL PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS

Interested parties should submit proposals electronically to NFWF as a Word document or PDF attachment following the requirements below:

  1. Narrative: Concise (3-page limit for preliminary proposal and 10-page limit for full proposal) description of the project, including its evaluative design and methodology, and principal investigator(s)’s past performance conducting evaluations.
  2. Bios: Resumes and/or vitae of the principal investigator(s).
  3. References: List of three professional references with names, postal and email addresses, and telephone numbers.
  4. Sample evaluation report: Attach a copy of a previously conducted evaluation final report, if available.
  5. Budget: Budget and budget justification provided for the project including any sub awards and contracts.
    1. Preliminary proposal should include a maximum one-page budget description that identifies the general budget for personnel, travel and operations; a detailed budget and timeline is not being requested at this stage.
    2. Invited full proposals should include a budget that itemizes all budget items in sufficient detail to enable reviewers to evaluate the appropriateness of the entire funding request. The budget is to be accompanied by a detailed timeline of anticipated activities and key reporting dates.

SUBMISSION DEADLINES

Nov 4, 2013

​A preliminary proposal must be received electronically as an email attachment by Christina Kakoyannis (Christina.Kakoyannis@nfwf.org) by 8 PM Pacific Time.

Nov 15, 2013

​Successful pre-proposal applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal.

Dec 11, 2013

​Full proposals must be received electronically as email attachments by Christina Kakoyannis (Christina.Kakoyannis@nfwf.org) by 8 PM Pacific Time.

Dec-early Jan

​Interviews of selected finalists.

Jan 2014

Contract awarded to chosen evaluator; evaluation study begins.

Aug 1, 2014

​Draft evaluation report presented to NFWF.

Sept 15, 2014

​Final evaluation report presented to NFWF.

 


[1] Croxall, J.P, S.H.M. Butchart, B. Lascelles, A.J. Stattersfield, B. Sullivan, A. Symes and P. Taylor. 2012.  Seabird conservation status, threats and priority actions: a global assessment.  Bird Conservation International 22: 1-34.