Region 5 White-Nose Syndrome Grants to States and Tribes

Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service
Posted on

Application Deadline

Type

Fellowship / research funding

Reference Number

F20AS00184

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is pleased to announce the availability of financial assistance to wildlife and natural resource management agencies of states, the District of Columbia, and federally-recognized Native American Tribes for efforts related directly to the management of white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease of bats. State Agencies and Tribal natural resource or environmental management programs are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. The most competitive proposals will present actionable plans to manage WNS and bat species that are affected or potentially vulnerable to the disease. WNS is confirmed in at least 12 bat species, including three that are federally listed as threatened or endangered. The northern long-eared bat was listed as Threatened primarily due to impacts of WNS. Concern over population declines resulting from WNS led the Service to schedule status assessments for two additional bat species: little brown bat and tricolored bat. The work funded through the WNS Grants to States and Tribes is expected to assist partners in their efforts to combat the disease and conserve affected species. In addition, the projects funded will provide scientific information that supports decisions under the Endangered Species Act. Since 2008, funding through the WNS Grants to States has led to critical information and resources for maximizing the benefits of bat conservation efforts by States. In 2019, this funding opportunity was extended to Tribes engaged in, or seeking to engage in, bat management and conservation efforts. Although WNS has decimated several species of bats in North America, efforts taken with the support of funding from the Service’s WNS program have helped the management community to focus efforts where there is the greatest need and benefit. Through the advances made in understanding WNS over the past decade, we now have numerous tools that management agencies can consider when developing and implementing strategies to combat WNS. In this way, these grants support the priorities of the Department of the Interior by creating a conservation stewardship legacy, restoring trust with local communities, and striking regulatory balance. 2020 Priorities The goal of this funding opportunity is to help our State and Tribal partners fulfill information needs and implement management actions for WNS and susceptible bat species. We intend to award funds that support the following activities: enact conservation strategies for WNS-affected or WNS-vulnerable species, including establishing baseline information for vulnerable species; develop and implement strategies to mitigate impacts of WNS and improve survivorship of affected species; curtail the spread of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd); conduct population monitoring and disease surveillance in support of local management priorities, the North American Bat Population Monitoring Program (NABat), and national guidelines; and enact long term protection, improvement, and conservation of bat roosts. Proposals for this program will be plans of action responsive to the current status of WNS in the applicant’s location, and will address context-specific conservation needs of bats as well as the ecosystem as a whole. These priorities are intended to address relevant projects in State or Tribal jurisdictions whether WNS is already affecting resident bats or the fungus has not yet arrived. Some examples of context-specific strategies for the endemic, leading edge, and at-risk areas are described in “Defeating White-Nose Syndrome: A Vision for the Future.” Successful applications to this funding opportunity will: aim to benefit bat species that are known, assumed, or anticipated to be affected by WNS, directly advance the priorities of this funding opportunity and the WNS National Plan, and build upon or advance the current state of knowledge of bats under their management jurisdictions. Awards are not guaranteed. Proposals will be reviewed based on the following considerations, responsiveness to described management needs, relevance to combatting WNS and conserving vulnerable species, geographic scope, project need and feasibility, cost efficiency, project design, species and colonies benefitted, degree of benefit to targeted species or habitat, and extent and importance of area monitored for population or disease status. The proposed actions and related budget must meet the following conditions: Proposed activities must be consistent with the WNS National Plan and must clearly address at least one of the “2020 Priorities” stated above. All proposed activities should represent a logical and appropriate progression of actions conducted in preparation for or in response to WNS in the action area. Applications must include clear project descriptions for how proposed activities address local and national management objectives for WNS. Project descriptions must clearly articulate the activities, methods, and timetables for each identified goal and objective, as well as justification for these goals and objectives, and anticipated outcomes. Grant proposals must be no more than $75,000 in total request of Federal funds (including direct and indirect costs). Up to $50,000 may be used for fulfilling data needs to inform management decisions, such as estimating distribution and habitat requirements of WNS-affected or susceptible bats, and implementing strategies to: mitigate ongoing, imminent, or future impacts of WNS; protect WNS-affected and WNS-vulnerable species and their habitats; improve survival of WNS-affected and WNS-vulnerable species; curtail the spread of Pd; enact bat population monitoring activities; (Use of NABat tools and protocols for data collection is strongly encouraged. Monitoring data obtained with Federal funds should be contributed to NABat to maximize utility and improve understanding of bat population dynamics.); or conduct disease surveillance in accordance with the national surveillance and diagnostics guidelines. Up to $25,000 may be used by Agencies and Tribes to enact conservation actions at significant bat roosts through restoration, protection, and enhancement, including: prohibiting unauthorized entry/vandalism, gating or fencing, stabilizing entrance portals, and correcting historic airflow; improving suitability of the roost for seasonal or year-round use by bats; developing funding agreements, cooperative conservation agreements, or contracts with cave and wildlife conservation groups, land trusts, and local advocacy groups to conserve caves, mines, and other significant roost locations that fulfill important life history functions for bats; or installing signage, camera, and acoustic monitoring systems; Collaborations are encouraged. Two or more applicants seeking funding to complete shared objectives in their relative project areas should coordinate to describe activities, methods and timetable consistently and describe the benefits of this cross-jurisdiction collaboration. NOTE: As a condition of any grant award, grantees will be required to submit or allow for submission of population monitoring data collected using awarded funds to NABat prior to completion of the grant reporting period. Proposed population monitoring efforts are not restricted to NABat highest priority grid cells. Contribution of these data entails providing locations only at the resolution of the NABat grid cell (10 km x 10 km), and not precise locations of data or descriptive site names. Standard reports including data visualization outputs generated by NABat for the data contributor may be used to fulfill award reporting requirements for relevant project activities. Proposed projects should aim to be completed within 1 year, but may be planned for up to 2 years. If an extension of the performance period becomes necessary due to unforeseen circumstances, the Service will consider an extension request if it is submitted at least 60 days in advance of the end of the performance period. The use of grant funds requires adherence to established protocols and methodologies developed or espoused by the national WNS working groups for surveillance, diagnostics, population monitoring, conservation and recovery, and disease management (for more information contact the appropriate Service WNS coordinator), as well as the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and National Environmental Policy Act. In 2020, all proposed actions must be in line with the most current guidance, policies, and information related the COVID-19 pandemic and SARS-CoV-2. Some proposed WNS mitigation and treatment actions will entail significant workload by the applicant to comply with regulatory requirements of the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and National Historic Preservation Act. These requirements must be completed prior to funds becoming available for the proposed actions. Department of Interior Priorities for Federal Financial Assistance The WNS Grants to States and Tribes will support the following Department of Interior priorities for Federal Financial Assistance: Creating a conservation stewardship legacy second only to Teddy Roosevelt - Utilize science to identify best practices to manage land and water resources and adapt to changes in the environment. Restoring trust with local communities - Expand the lines of communication with Governors, State natural resource offices, fish and wildlife offices, water authorities, county commissioners, Tribes, and local communities. Striking a regulatory balance - Ensure that Endangered Species Act decisions are based on strong science and thorough analysis. Ensuring sovereignty means something - Solidify mutual interests between the U.S. and the freely associated States and territories. The Service works closely with States and Tribes through the national WNS response effort, and provides much needed support to these partners to solidify our mutual interests for natural resource conservation. Funding from the Service’s national WNS program has contributed to a conservation stewardship legacy by helping to stem the decline of bat species impacted by WNS through research and monitoring efforts that improve understanding bats and treatment of the disease. By supporting research to better understand the disease and the species affected by it, WNS grants to researchers, States, and Tribes have utilized science to identify best practices to manage wildlife resources and to foster relationships with other agencies and conservation organizations. These programs help maintain and restore trust with local communities. WNS Grants have been awarded to State and Tribal agencies, academic institutions, non-profit conservation organizations, and others, directly expanding the lines of participation in conservation and research of bats undergoing the invasion, progression, or recovery from WNS. State agencies collect and possess scientific data and valuable expertise on the status and distribution of listed, candidate, at-risk, and recently delisted species. State agencies, because of their authorities and their close working relationships with local governments and landowners, are in a unique position to assist the Service in implementing all aspects of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service developed the national WNS response plan as a multi-species recovery plan to address the conservation needs of all affected bat species, including listed species and those that may put them at greater risk. Our collective goal is to effectively manage WNS by preventing its spread, promoting survival of bats, and helping the survivors through effective disease treatment to recover bat species listed under the ESA, and preclude the need to list additional species in the future. These efforts support the Secretary’s priority to strike a regulatory balance, and support Service priorities to strengthen ESA implementation and accelerate species recovery and delisting. The Service anticipates committing internally directed funds for this open funding opportunity, which accompanies three additional funding opportunities from the Service’s WNS National Response in 2020: 1) WNS Research Grants (through August 25: www.grants.gov); 2) WNS Challenge; and 3) Bats for the Future Fund (with National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other partners), www.nfwf.org/bats. Contact the Service’s WNS coordinator in your region (below) for more information about these funding opportunities. The Service’s White-nose Syndrome program is coordinated and funded through the branches of Ecological Services and Science Applications, and will be working with the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR) to administer grants to State agencies and Tribes that engage in the collaborative national response to WNS. Grants will be competitively awarded based on merit review of proposed actions for their applicability and feasibility to advance the priorities identified in this notice and for their overall contribution to meeting the objectives of the WNS national plan (White-Nose Syndrome Response Plans)
Categories: Natural Resources.

More Information

Posted on

Application Deadline

Type

Fellowship / research funding

Reference Number

F20AS00184

Roosevelt%2C%20United%20States

Roosevelt , United States