RSOI: Understanding Thermal Mixing, Water Quality, and Algae Dynamics with the Pulsing of Releases from Jordan Reservoir in the Cape Fear River

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
FORT WORTH DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS
P.O. BOX 17300
FORT WORTH, TX  76102-0300

REQUEST FOR STATEMENT OF INTEREST
Number W9126G-21-2-SOI-4740
Project to be initiated in 2021

Responses due by 5:00 P.M., Central Time, on 27 July 2021

Applicants must be a member in one of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU): Piedmont – South Atlantic Coast, Chesapeake Watershed, Southern Appalachian Mountains

Project Title: Understanding Thermal Mixing, Water Quality, and Algae Dynamics with the Pulsing of Releases from Jordan Reservoir in the Cape Fear River.

Responses to this Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) will be used to identify potential investigators for a project to be funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Wilmington District)-Sustainable Rivers Program. The work involves comprehensive support of researchers in studying pulses and flow prescriptions to aid in basin wide efforts, and USACE relationships with water users as well as examining the effectiveness of water releases to achieve the desired outcomes while all in accordance with 10 U.S.C. § 2358 – Research and Development.

Approximately $40,000.00 is expected to be available to support this project, for the base period. Additional funding may be available for follow on work in subsequent fiscal years to the successful recipient/awardee.

Background:
The Cape Fear River Basin was added to a nationwide program called The Sustainable Rivers Program (SRP) in 2016. The mission of SRP is to improve the health and life of rivers by changing water infrastructure operations to restore and protect ecosystems, while maintaining or enhancing other project benefits. The SRP attempts to analyze the effects from dams and use reservoir operations to enhance and manage downstream (and sometimes in lake) ecosystems.

The Cape Fear River Basin was chosen for the SRP because of its complex human-ecology relationships, the expert stakeholders in the basin, and because the Corps-owned B. Everett Jordan Dam (Jordan Dam) has potential to influence fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and other natural resources. The Cape Fear River Basin contains over two million people (2010 census), one-fifth of the state’s population. This includes growing urban areas of Durham, Greensboro, Pittsboro, Fayetteville, Wilmington and other cities, which contribute urban runoff into the river, but many of which also get a portion of their drinking water from this waterbody. The basin also supports 95 species of recreational fish, 42 rare aquatic species, as well as streamside habitat containing some of the oldest trees east of the Rocky Mountains; some of which are over 2000 years old (Stahle, 2012).

Natural and human environments rely on the Cape Fear River, making its water quality and water quantity of the utmost importance. There have been multiple harmful algal bloom outbreaks behind Lock and Dam 1. These algal blooms are harmful to the health of the aquatic ecosystem, resulting, at times, in fish kills. The Cape Fear River also has many drinking water users, especially near locations of historic algal blooms. The algal blooms impact the treatment capacity of the many water supply systems on the Cape Fear River.

The Corps and expert stakeholders have collaborated and identified flow recommendations that may reduce these harmful algal blooms. Flow recommendations include pulsing events to flush lower velocity (pooled) areas, drought conditions, temperature improvements, and like issues.

Type of Award:
Authority to enter into a Cooperative Agreement: 10 U.S.C. § 2358 – Research and Development for Understanding Thermal Mixing, Water Quality, and Algae Dynamics with the Pulsing of Releases from Jordan Reservoir.

In accordance with section 6305 – Using cooperative agreements of the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreements Act of 1977 (31 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.), all CESU projects must carry out a public purpose of support or stimulation, instead of acquiring goods or services for the exclusive direct benefit of the United States Government.

In accordance with section 6305 – Using cooperative agreements of the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreements Act of 1977 (31 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq.), substantial involvement is expected between the federal partner and the nonfederal partner when carrying out the activities specified in the project agreement. The exact nature of the government’s involvement will be defined in the statement of objectives, issued with a request for full proposal.

As a result, it is anticipated that a cooperative agreement through the CESU program will be awarded. Such awards may be administered through a CESU only upon mutual agreement and official authorization by both parties of the acceptance of the application of the CESU Network IDC rate (17.5%).

Note: Must be a non-federal partner in the Piedmont – South Atlantic Coast, Chesapeake Watershed, or Southern Appalachian Mountains CESU Unit Region.

Brief Description of Anticipated Work (Please refer to Statement of Objectives for complete detailed objectives and tasks):

This project focuses on the following objectives:

  1. Understand thermal stratification of the Cape Fear River, especially near Lock and Dam 1, and ideally another location between Jordan Dam and Lock and Dam 3;
  2. Correlate different flow rates with potential thermal mixing of the water column;
  3. Track water quality constituents, especially chlorophyll a, as it relates to flow;
  4. Relate the Corps’ water management to water quality and investigate the influence of releases out of Jordan

This project requires the following tasks:

  1. Contribute intellectual capacity and technical review to the USACE Wilmington District and partners (The Nature Conservancy and USGS) as they create a comprehensive water quality sampling plan for the Cape Fear River in relation to pulse releases out of Jordan Reservoir.
  2. At Lock and Dam 1, install temperature thermistors throughout the water column combined with sonar equipment and collect hourly data throughout the summer and early fall.
  3. Collect periodic (minimum monthly, ideally weekly) water samples at Lock and Dam 1 for chlorophyll a throughout the summer and early fall.
  4. In a timely fashion, analyze water samples adhering to all QA/QC lab procedures to quantify algal biomass and chlorophyll a and other critical water quality constituents.
  5. Provide quarterly check-ins with the Corps on sampling status, data analysis, and any early results.
  6. Participate in occasional calls/meetings with partner groups investigating water quality information with pulses to share information and findings.
  7. Summarize data into a yearly report at the conclusion of data sampling and analysis.
  8. Potential for additional thermistors throughout water column at Buckhorn Dam, with hourly data collection throughout summer and early fall.
  9. Potential for monthly water sample collection at Buckhorn Dam for chlorophyll a and algal biomass throughout summer and early fall.
  10. Potential for analyzing water samples collected at Buckhorn Dam byt other collaborators to quantify algal biomass, chlorophyll a, and other critical water quality constituents.

Note: At this time we are only requesting that you demonstrate available qualifications and skills for performing similar or same type of work. You will be evaluated for request for a proposal based on skills, qualifications and certifications demonstrated in your SOI.

Preference will be given to statements of interest that demonstrate researchers with a strong knowledge of algal dynamics, hydrology, thermal mixing, flows, and previous research in the Cape Fear River and can demonstrate good working relationships with collaborating partners in the basin. Water quality sampling will be dependant upon weather events, thus quick response time and mobility to sampling locations is necessary.

Period of Performance:
The base period of performance is anticipated to be twelve (12) months from date of award. Four option periods, extending for 12 months each, are anticipated subject to availability of funds.

Base Period (Mandatory Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award date. Base Period (Optional Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to expiration of the Base Period (Mandatory Tasks).

Option Period 1 (Mandatory Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of the Base Period (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 1 (Optional Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 1 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 2 (Mandatory Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 1 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 2 (Optional Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 2 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 3 (Mandatory Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 2 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 3 (Optional Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 3 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 4 (Mandatory Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 3 (Mandatory Tasks).
Option Period 4 (Optional Tasks) will be for a 12-month period from the award and shall be exercised prior to the expiration of Option Period 4 (Mandatory Tasks)

Materials Requested for Statement of Interest/Qualifications:

Please provide the following via e-mail attachment to: sandra.justman@usace.army.mil

and Gregory.W.Bonnell@usace.army.mil (Maximum length: 2 pages, single-spaced 12 pt. font).

1. Name, Organization, Cage Code, Duns number, and Contact Information (Email)

2. Brief Statement of Qualifications (including):

    • Biographical Sketch,
    • Relevant past projects and clients with brief descriptions of these projects,
    • Staff, faculty or students available to work on this project and their areas of expertise,
    • Any brief description of capabilities to successfully complete the project you may wish to add (e.g., equipment, laboratory facilities, greenhouse facilities, field facilities, etc.),
    • Response time and proximity to the Cape Fear River,
    • Any past or existing research in the Cape Fear River regarding water quality and any description of relationships with basin stakeholders and partners.

3. Support personnel should have:

    • A QA/QC laboratory to analyze water quality samples
    • Extensive experience with field sampling
    • Past research demonstrating knowledge of flows and water

Note: A full study proposal and proposed budget are NOT requested at this time.

Review of Statements Received: All statements of interest received will be evaluated by a board comprised of one or more people at the receiving installation or activity, who will determine which statement(s) best meet the program objectives. Based on a review of the Statements of Interest received, an investigator or investigators will be invited to prepare a full study proposal. Statements will be evaluated based on the investigator’s specific experience and capabilities in areas related to the study requirements.

Please send responses or direct questions to:
Grants Specialist
USACE Ft. Worth District
Sandra.justman@usace.army.mil

Greg Bonnell
Project Manager
Regional Planning and Environmental Center
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Email: Gregory.W.Bonnell@usace.army.mil

Timeline for Review of Statements of Interest: RSOI required to be posted on www.Grants.gov for 30 days, prior to the Government making a decision and requesting full proposals. Responses due by 5:00 P.M., Central Time, on 27 July 2021.

Click here for PDF of full RSOI with Statement of Objectives.

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