1. Background

The Council, in coordination with Bonneville, is soliciting for proposals that address one Fish and Wildlife Program emerging priority for funding by Bonneville in Fiscal Year 2016 and 2017:

Habitat Reach Assessment: The Council is interested in investigating the habitat availability, suitability, and salmon survival potential in habitats above blocked areas of the Upper Columbia Basin within the United States. The purpose of the Request for Proposals is to develop an assessment of the Columbia River and its potentially anadromous-bearing tributaries for salmon and steelhead habitat from river mile 545.1 to river mile 745.

Background: The Anadromous Fish Mitigation in Blocked Areas Strategy in the Council’s 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program, calls for a science-based, phased approach to investigate reintroduction of anadromous fish in the blocked waters of the Upper Columbia River. Phase 1 of this investigation is to include:

  • “Evaluate information from passage studies at other blockages and from previous assessments of passage at Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams
  • Investigate habitat availability, suitability and salmon survival potential in habitats above Grand Coulee. This might include selective releases of salmon and steelhead. Investigate the scientific feasibility and possible cost of upstream and downstream passage options for salmon and steelhead. Before funding new investigations, provide the Council with a report for consideration of subsequent work to advance the fish passage planning process.
  • As part of Phase 1, the Council will engage in discussions with tribal, state, and federal agencies and others regarding the purpose, scope and progress of reintroduction efforts above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams.”

This request for proposals is targeting one element of Phase 1: the investigation into habitat potential. The completion of a habitat assessment will further inform that habitat potential, especially when linked with other elements of Phase 1.

Additionally, the Council identified investigation of blocked area mitigation as one of the program’s emerging priorities:

“Investigate blocked area mitigation options through reintroduction, passage and habitat improvement, and implement if warranted”

Since the adoption of the Council’s 2014 program, the Council and regional entities have begun important discussions and preliminary planning for how to implement this program priority while engaging all interested parties. In particular, the Upper Columbia United Tribes have begun collaborating with the region on developing a draft work and coordination plan.

2. Description of Solicitation

Request for Proposals

This solicitation focuses on compiling, integrating, synthesizing, and assessing existing data related to habitat for the species of interest within the area of interest to inform opportunities to investigate blocked area mitigation. This work may also include identifying and addressing uncertainties or gaps in habitat information (e.g. modeling, physical habitat assessment, etc.). Proposals should indicate known data uncertainties or gaps and the priority to potentially address the gaps based on previous habitat assessments. The Council asks that the project proponent enter their proposed data collection method information into monitoringmethods.org and strongly encourages them to look at methods already in the system to see if any fit their needs before creating a new method.   

Species of Interest 

Chinook salmon, sockeye, and steelhead

Area of Interest

This project will be conducted for the reach of U.S. waters of the Columbia River between river mile 545.1 and river mile 745, and any potentially anadromous fish-bearing streams and tributaries along this stretch. This nearly 200 mile segment of the Columbia River has been impounded since the 1940’s, blocking anadromous fish from reaching the U.S. Upper Columbia waters.

2.1. Threshold Requirements

Submission for funding under the Council’s Program is open to organizations that are able to meet the requirements and expectations below. [Insert additional procurement details from Bonneville as needed]

  1. To be considered, proposals must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on December 15, 2015.
  2. The applicant must address the emerging program priority described in Section 1. Background.
  3. Tasks and deliverables are expected to be complete by the end of calendar year 2017.
  4. Proposals for new projects that do not address these topics will not be considered for funding at this time.
  5. Applicant must demonstrate its feasibility, readiness and qualifications for implementation.
  6. Applicants must be able to meet Bonneville’s contractual requirements. Requirements can be viewed here: [insert website].
  7. Applicants must be able to quickly obtain site access to tribal lands and lands held by other authorities for potential field assessment work.

2.1.1. Who may apply?

All potential project applicants that meet the threshold requirements and can demonstrate an ability to work with and coordinate with the fish and wildlife agencies and tribes interested in this effort in this part of the upper Columbia. Collaboration among these entities is strongly encouraged. A joint application by interested parties will be viewed favorably given that a consortium of managers will benefit this project in the ability to share information, resources and workload, and will provide access to a broader range of expertise.

2.2. Tasks

  • Compile and synthesize what is known about both the area of interest and species of interest using existing studies, GIS information, reports, and local knowledge
  • Identify areas where information is weak or lacking
  • Identify and prioritize target reaches for potential field surveys using information from the compilation and synthesis in the first step
  • As necessary, perform field studies in target reaches to evaluate existing habitat condition and suitability (may include water quality assessments, predation and competition and species risk assessments, etc.)
    • Outline proposed study design (e.g., see menu in monitoringmethods.org)
    • Summarize information at the reach level by attribute (e.g., valley width, channel type, slope, terrace height and width, sinuosity, stream width and depth, gradient, substrate, eroding banks, water quality attributes, etc.)
  • Summarize and analyze previously existing and newly collected data to determine: a) what species and life histories can be supported by the existing habitat; b) salmon survival potential; and c) species interaction, particularly with native and non-native fishes.
    • Analyze information to determine suitability for the species of interest, based upon water quality, habitat condition, and species assemblages.
  • Evaluate findings and report to Bonneville and the Council.

2.3. Deliverables

Once work is completed consistent with the contract requirements, the project sponsor will compile a report describing the condition, suitability, and potential of the habitat for salmon/steelhead survival potential for the target reaches in the area of interest. The report will be provided to Bonneville, other relevant entities and the Council.

2.4. Timeline for completing work

Tasks and deliverables are expected to be complete by the end of calendar year 2017, provided that the review process and funding decision are timely and allow for full project implementation.

2.5. Cost Estimate

The applicant will develop a cost estimate based on the tasks, deliverables, milestones, and timeline, outlined above. At this time, funding of up to approximately $200,000 may be available for subject work. The Council strongly encourages applicants to collaborate and seek additional funding sources. The applicants should include any cost share, in-kind services and funding from other sources in the total cost estimate. Detailed cost estimates in proposals should be developed to support the scope of work as defined in this solicitation.

The Council will continue to work with Bonneville, other potential cost-share contributors, and the successful project sponsor(s) to determine an appropriate budget target for the work. The final contract, including the precise project budget, will be negotiated between Bonneville and the sponsor(s) during contract development. Depending on other funding sources, there may be multiple contract arrangements to support this work.

2.6. Deadline for Submission and Anticipated Schedule*

Proposals due Dec 15, 2015  
ISRP review of proposals begins Dec 16, 2015  
Preliminary ISRP report and additional info request Jan 13, 2016 Written public comment on ISRP reports
Additional information due for ISRP (fix-it loop)* Feb 3, 2016
ISRP final report Feb 24, 2016
Written public comments due March 24, 2016
Committee recommendations April 2016  
Council recommendation to Bonneville May 2016  
BPA contract development Summer 2016  
BPA final contracts in place  

*Proposals are due on December 15, 2015, but the remaining schedule could be faster or slower depending on necessary fix-it loop or other contingencies.

3. How to Submit Proposals

3.1. Communications

Council staff leads Review process: Lynn Palensky, 503-222-5161
Habitat Assessment: Laura Robinson, 503-222-5161
Bonneville Contracting Officer To be determined
Technical contact (form-specific help) Eric Schrepel, 503-222-5161
Science review Erik Merrill, 503-222-5161 or
Lynn Palensky, 503-222-5161

3.2. Getting started on your proposal

To submit a proposal, please download and complete the Word proposal template. Proposals must be emailed to Lynn Palensky by the close of business (5pm PST) on December 15, 2015. You will receive a confirmation email after you submit your completed proposal. Completed proposal forms will be stored by the Council, and made publicly available for review after the ISRP completes its preliminary review on January 13, 2016 (see schedule note in Sec. 2.6). Check back here for news and updates regarding the proposal development and review process.

3.3. Important Guidance Documents

Past work and proposals that could be used to inform this project proposal:

4. How Proposals are Evaluated and Selected

Proposals are evaluated and recommended by a combination of administrative evaluation and professional and scientific peer review. The evaluation occurs over several months in discrete steps, which are described below.

4.1. Administrative Review

All proposals will be reviewed by Bonneville and Council staff first to see that they contain the requested information and meet threshold criteria. Incomplete proposals will not be considered for funding. Project proposals will be posted here for the ISRP and public review and comment as soon as possible following the close of the solicitation.

4.2. Independent Science Review of the Proposals

Proposals for the emerging priorities will be distributed to the ISRP on December 16, 2015. The ISRP is scheduled to provide the Council with a final report on February 24, 2016. This report will include: an evaluation of each proposal for consistency with the specific elements of this targeted request and the criteria from the 1996 Amendment to the Northwest Power Act that proposals 1) be based on science principles; 2) benefit fish and wildlife; 3) have clearly defined objectives and outcomes; and 4) have provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results.

See more about the ISRP and review criteria.

4.3. Public Review

The Council will make the ISRP report available, along with the project proposals, for public review and comment.

4.4. Council Recommendations to Bonneville

Finally, based on the advice provided the ISRP, administrative review, and public comment, the Council will select the projects to be recommended for funding and make those recommendations to Bonneville at the May 2016 Council meeting.

The Council must also comply with the requirements in Section 4(h)(10)(D) to “consider the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations” and “determine whether the projects employ cost-effective measures to achieve program objectives” when making project funding recommendations. If the Council’s recommendations differ notably from those of the ISRP, the Council will explain its reasoning in writing as part of its recommendations.

BPA funding will be compliant with applicable procurement and contracting requirements and guidelines. Bonneville may request additional information during the course of the contracting process, which may include more specificity of the work to be performed and the associated costs. The amount of funding ultimately approved by Bonneville for a project may differ from the amount initially proposed by the applicant or recommended by the Council.