2020 Behavior Change Grants for Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention-Request for Proposals

Grant Overview

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Invasive Species Program is offering Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Behavior Change Grants to help prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into Minnesota waters. These grants offer an opportunity for tribal and local government units to partner with the DNR and receive funding to design and implement AIS prevention behavior change initiatives.

Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) is a social science approach to foster sustainable, environmentally beneficial behaviors over the long term. CBSM reaches beyond traditional information and awareness campaigns by targeting individual behaviors and bridging the gap between awareness and action. CBSM provides a step-by-step, comprehensive approach to assess risks and identify opportunities for long-term change. The DNR prioritized AIS prevention behaviors (CBSM Step 1) and identified barriers and benefits to adopting priority behaviors (CBSM Step 2) to provide statewide baseline information about priority pathways, audiences, and behaviors. The Behavior Change for AIS Prevention webpage, in particular the Moving Forward Report, details all work completed as well as recommended strategies and next steps.

The 2020 Behavior Change Grants are intended to fund quick-start CBSM pilot projects. Projects must utilize results and follow recommendations as outlined in the Moving Forward Report. Additionally, projects should focus on high-priority target audiences and associated AIS prevention behaviors as specified below under Eligibility. Applicants may apply for funds to design, implement, and evaluate pilot projects using behavior change intervention strategies (CBSM Steps 3 and 4). Projects awarded grant funds may have an opportunity to consult with a behavior change expert to ensure activities align with behavior change best practices.

Funding Source and Availability

The DNR was awarded $60,000 through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to assist organizations using CBSM approaches.

This competitive grant program will distribute approximately $60,000 in 2020. The maximum amount available for any one project is $5,000. This Request for Proposals may receive more requests that funds are available. The award amount may be reduced at the state’s discretion. Not all proposed projects will receive funding. Approximately 12 grants will be awarded. Applicants may be offered funding for all or part of their proposed project.

Funding will be allocated through a competitive process with review by a committee of DNR staff representing content and community specialists with regional knowledge. We expect to announce selected grantees in May 2020. If selected, you may only incur eligible expenditures when the grant contract is fully executed and the grant has reached its effective date. The DNR cannot reimburse costs that were incurred before the grant contract is written and signed by all parties. You will be notified when work may begin.

All work for all executed grant contracts must be completed by February 1, 2021.

The Grantee must pay all project expenses up front and make all arrangements. Grantees will be reimbursed 100% of the project costs, up to their grant amount.

Minimum Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements in order to be fully considered for this grant opportunity: Applicants must be a tribal or local government unit in the state of Minnesota.

Eligibility

Proposals must utilize results and follow recommendations in the Moving Forward Report, which lists many potential actions and strategies. The DNR identified the following as priority initiatives for tribal and local government units to address given their local expertise and knowledge. Proposals should focus primarily on one of the five project focus areas listed in the table below.

Project Focus

Target Audience

Desired Behavior of the Target Audience

Strategy to Achieve Behavior Adoption by the Target Audience

1

Lakeshore Residents

Dry docks, lifts and associated equipment for 21 days

Partner with lake associations to communicate with residents

2

Lakeshore Residents

  • Dry docks, lifts and associated equipment for 21 days
  • Remove visible debris from docks, lifts and associated equipment

Identify and have lake associations promote credible Lake Service Providers

3

Anglers

  • Dispose of unwanted live bait in the garbage
  • Clean and drain boats

Partner with fishing clubs and organizations to communicate with participants and members

4

Anglers

Dispose of unwanted live bait in the garbage

Partner with bait retailers to distribute bait disposal bags

5

Anglers

Dispose of unwanted live bait in the garbage on-site

Designated bait and bait water disposal zones at water accesses

 

Priority will be given to projects that focus on one of the five areas listed above, however, proposals that address other initiatives outlined in the Moving Forward Report are also welcome. One of the following scenarios will occur during the evaluation process, either:

  1. All proposals within the five focus areas are evaluated. Proposals that do not meet minimum criteria are not awarded funds. The proposal with the highest evaluation points is awarded funds, followed by the second-highest and so on until no funds remain. In this case some proposals may meet minimum requirements but may not be funded because other proposals scored higher. Proposals that address “other” initiatives are not evaluated and are not funded.

OR

  1. All proposals within the five focus areas are evaluated. Proposals that do not meet minimum criteria are not awarded funds. All proposals that meet minimum criteria are awarded funds. Funds remain. A second round of evaluation is conducted for proposals for “other” initiatives. Of these proposals for “other” initiatives, the proposal with the highest evaluation points is awarded funds, followed by the second-highest and so on until no funds remain.

Priorities

It is the policy of the State of Minnesota to ensure fairness, precision, equity and consistency in competitive grant awards. In order to implement diversity and inclusion in grant-making, preference will be given to proposals that serve and/or are implemented by racial and ethnic communities, including American Indians. This grant will serve geographically diverse populations of the state by funding proposals in any of the four DNR administrative regions.

Competitive Priorities

In addition to the diversity and inclusion priorities listed above, priority will also be given to projects that:

  • Include collaboration between one or more additional organizations; and/or
  • Have one or more staff person(s) working for the lead organization that has attended CBSM or similar behavior change workshops or trainings; and/or
  • Offer additional funds and/or in-kind services to support work specific to the grant project; and/or
  • Include information about applicant’s history as a state grantee, if applicable.

Collaboration

Multi-organization collaboration is allowed and highly recommended, but not required.

Selection Criteria and Weight

The review committee will be reviewing each applicant on a 1,000 point scale. Applications will be judged on the following scoring factors and weighted criteria:

  1. Expressed understanding of project objectives (30%)
    • Demonstrates basic understanding of: Community-Based Social Marketing and behavior change methods, Moving Forward Report results and recommendations, DNR and partner roles in AIS prevention, AIS pathways, and eligible project areas of focus.
  2. Work planning (50%)
    • Demonstrates appropriate use of Community-Based Social Marketing and behavior change methods.
    • Clearly defines the behavior change strategy intervention, behavior change tools, and materials and content to be created.
    • Specifies metrics, methodologies and data tracking tools to be used for project evaluation.
    • Specifies development of a pilot test plan describing how the behavior change strategy intervention will be delivered to the target audience.
    • Expresses intention to consult with the DNR throughout project development, implementation and evaluation.
    • Provides a budget that contains only eligible expenses.
  3. Priorities (20%)
    • Proposal serves and/or is implemented by racial and ethnic communities, including American Indians.
    • Proposal includes collaboration between one or more additional organizations.
    • Staff of the lead organization have attended previous workshops or trainings on Community-Based Social Marketing and/or behavior change.
    • Proposal offers additional funds and/or in-kind services to support work specific to the project.
    • Lead organization has previous success with other state grants.

 

A standardized scoring system will be used to describe how the applicant will be rated on each criteria and used by the review committee to determine the extent to which the applicant meets the criteria.

Questions

Questions may be submitted to Tina Fitzgerald by email at [email protected] (preferred) or by phone at 651-259-5146. All questions and answers will be posted here to this website at a minimum each Friday by 12pm while this grant is open to applications. Please submit questions no later than 4:30 p.m. Central Time on April 13, 2020.

 

How to Apply

Application Content

Proposals must contain the following information. Details can be found in the Guidance for Completing an Application document.

  1. Applicant information
  2. Project focus
  3. Additional ranking criteria
    1. Proposal serves and/or is implemented by racial and ethnic communities, including American Indians.
    2. Proposal includes collaboration between one or more additional organizations.
    3. Staff of the lead organization have attended previous workshops or trainings on Community-Based Social Marketing and/or behavior change.
    4. Proposal offers additional funds and/or in-kind services to support work specific to the project.
    5. Lead organization has previous success with other state grants.
  4. Project proposal
    1. Behavior change intervention strategy
    2. Evaluation methodology
    3. Pilot test implementation
  5. Budget

You must submit the following in order for the application to be considered complete: A completed Application Template or a document containing similar content. Do not submit any other materials (binders, photos, etc.). Unrequested materials will not be reviewed.

Application Submission

All applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. Central Time on April 17, 2020. Email submissions are encouraged. If applications are mailed, they must be postmarked by April 15, 2020. Late applications will not be considered. The applicant will incur all costs incurred in applying to this RFP.

Applications may be submitted by email, by mail (postmarked April 15, 2020), or in person to:

Tina Fitzgerald
AIS Prevention Planner
Ecological and Water Resources
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-259-5146
Email: [email protected]

You will be notified when your application is received. If you do not receive a notification within two business days, please contact Tina Fitzgerald at 651-259-5146.

Review Process and Timeline

The review committee will evaluate all eligible and complete applications received by the deadline. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will review all committee recommendations and is responsible for award decisions. The award decisions of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are final and not subject to appeal.

Review Process Step

Date

RFP posted on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website

March 19, 2020

Questions due no later than 4:30 pm Central Time

April 13, 2020

Applications due no later than 4:30 pm central time

April 17, 2020

Committee begins review of applications

April 20, 2020

Selected grantees announced; grant agreement negotiations begin

Approximately mid-May 2020

Work plans approved and grants begin

Approximately mid-June 2020

Grant Application Documents

References