RSOI: Assessment of dual-purpose fish/oyster reefs in the Lynnhaven River, VA

Request for Statements of Interest Funding Opportunity Announcement

Statement of Interest/Qualifications Due Date: 22 July 2022 by 1700 EST.

Federal Awarding Agency:
Army Corps of Engineers,
Engineer Research and Development Center
3909 Halls Ferry Road
Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199

Funding Opportunity No: W81EWF-22-SOI-0024

CFDA No: 12.630

Statutory Authority: 10 USC 4001

Project Title: Assessment of dual-purpose fish/oyster reefs in the Lynnhaven River, VA

Announcement Type: Initial Announcement

Issue Date: 21 June 2022

Statement of Interest/Qualifications Due Date: 22 July 2022 by 1700 EST.

Full Application Package Due Date, if Invited: 14 August 2022 by 1700 EST.

Estimated Award Ceiling: $75,000.00

Estimated Total Program Funding (optional): $225,000 dollars total over 3 years. (ex. Base and all options)

Expected Number of Awards: The government may issue more than 1 award from this announcement.

Section I: Funding Opportunity Description

Background:

The Lynnhaven River, Virginia, is the southernmost tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Its watershed lies mostly within the bounds of the heavily urbanized City of Virginia Beach. The river once held an extensive network of intertidal and subtidal oyster reefs, but today the only subtidal reefs are those constructed as part of a river-wide restoration effort. Recently, as part of the Lynnhaven River Basin Ecosystem Restoration Project (LRBER), a joint USACE/City of Virginia Beach led effort, a large network of reef balls and a series of high-relief granite/crushed concrete reefs have been constructed in the Lynnhaven River system.  The intent of these reefs are dual-purpose oyster and fish reefs.  Many fish species in Chesapeake Bay prefer, and some require, hard reef habitat in order to thrive. This habitat type is rare in the modern-day Bay and was extirpated from the Lynnhaven River decades ago. These dual-purpose oyster/fish reefs are the first of their kind, constructed as part of a large-scale ecosystem restoration project in Chesapeake Bay.

Brief Description of Anticipated Work:

Our objectives are to monitor and document the status of these reefs. For the oyster component, a physical assessment of the reefs is desired. Assessing the reefs for oyster and other attached fauna for density and biomass (dry weight) and for oysters, size-frequency distribution. Approximately 50 samples will be needed to minimize the SE (standard error of the mean) and ensure survey accuracy.

An assessment of fish use of the reefs is also desired. For this component, a variety of methods could be used. Control sites for this work will also be necessary in order to determine what differences in fish species distribution and abundance, if any, exists between the fish/oyster reef sites and surrounding open sandy bottom areas.

There are two sites that will need to be monitored. The first site is 8-acres mostly in the low intertidal and shallow water zone. It consists of several thousand reef balls weighing approximately 50 lbs. Each. The second site which is currently  under construction  is  proposed to consist of crushed concrete  or  granite riprap with an oyster shell veneer. This subtidal, high-relief reef is approximately 18” off the surrounding bottom. The second site will cover anywhere from 23-30 acres post-construction and is approximately -6 ft MLW.

Public Benefit:

This large-scale ecosystem restoration project taking place within a heavily urbanized estuarine river system is of considerable interest to the public. It could potentially serve as a model for restoration in urbanized estuaries in other regions. It is one of the larger ecosystem restoration projects attempted in the Chesapeake Bay region. Assessing the progress of the largest component of this project, the dual- purpose fish/oyster reefs, is necessary to determine their effectiveness as well as are they providing ecosystem benefits sufficient to justify their cost. The reefs will improve local production of commercially and recreationally valuable fished species, such as blue crabs, black sea bass, and tautog, among others. Oysters can also be a net reducer of CO2, helping to reduce climate change impacts due to increased atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

The results of this study shall also be published in a peer-review journal in collaboration with Norfolk District personnel, to provide the information gathered in the proposed study to the wider scientific community.

Section II: Award Information

Responses to this Request for Statements of Interest will be used to identify potential investigators for studies to be sponsored by the Norfolk District and the Engineer Research and Development Center to provide monitoring of these dual-purpose fish/oyster reefs. The estimated level of funding for FY22-23 is approximately $75,000.00. There are option years for two additional years, with each option year also providing for $75,000.00 to continue the monitoring as needed, for a total award of $225,000.00.

Government Involvement:

USACE personnel will assist in experimental design, provide maps of sites and desired sampling locations of the reefs, consult with the awardee on the specific proposed methodology to assess fish use, assist in production of a report that will also be published in a peer-reviewed science journal. USACE personnel will be co-authors on any peer-review articles that are produced from this study, assisting in writing, as well as approving the document for publication.

Section III: Eligibility Information

  1. Eligible Applicants – This opportunity is restricted to non-federal partners of the Chesapeake Bay Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit and Piedmont South Atlantic Coast (CESU).
  2. Cost Sharing – This action will be 100% funded by USACE.

Section IV: Application and Submission Information – Two Phase Process

Phase I: Submission of a Statement of Interest/Qualifications.

  1. Materials Requested for Statement of Interest/Qualifications:
    • Please provide the following via e-mail attachment to: derek.a.howard@usace.army.mil (Maximum length: 2 pages, single-spaced 12 pt. font).
      • Name, Organization and Contact Information
      • 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.).

Note: A proposed budget is NOT requested at this time.

The administrative point of contact is Derek Howard, 601-634-3310; derek.a.howard@usace.army.mil.

  1. Statement of Interest/Qualifications shall be submitted NO LATER THAN 22 July 2022 by 1700 EST.

Based on a review of the Statements of Interest received, an investigator or investigators will be invited to move to Phase II which is 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.

Phase II: Submission of a complete application package to include a full technical proposal including budget, if invited.

  1. Address to Request Application Package

The complete funding opportunity announcement, application forms, and instructions are available for download at Grants.gov.

The administrative point of contact is Derek Howard, 601-634-3310; derek.a.howard@usace.army.mil.

  1. Content and Form of Application Submission

All mandatory forms and any applicable optional forms must be completed in accordance with the instructions on the forms and the additional instructions below.

  • SF 424 R&R – Application for Federal Assistance
  • Full Technical Proposal – Discussion of the nature and scope of the research and technical approach. Additional information on prior work in this area, descriptions of available equipment, data and facilities, and resumes of personnel who will be participating in this effort should also be included.
  • Cost Proposal/Budget – Clear, concise, and accurate cost proposals reflect the offeror’s financial plan for accomplishing the effort contained in the technical proposal. As part of its cost proposal, the offeror shall submit cost element breakdowns in sufficient detail so that a reasonableness determination can be made. The SF 424 Research & Related Budget Form can be used as a guide but is required if the sub-recipient uses it. The cost breakdown should include the following, if applicable:
    1. Direct Labor: Direct labor should be detailed by level of effort (i.e. numbers of hours, etc.) of each labor category and the applicable labor rate. The source of labor rates shall be identified and verified. If rates are estimated, please provide the historical based used and clearly identify all escalation applied to derive the proposed rates.
    2. Fringe Benefit Rates: The source of fringe benefit rate shall be identified and verified.
    3. Travel: Travel costs must include a purpose and breakdown per trip to include destination, number of travelers, and duration.
    4. Materials/Equipment: List all material/equipment items by type and kind with associated costs and advise if the costs are based on vendor quotes and/or engineering estimates; provide copies of vendor quotes  and/or  catalog pricing data.
    5. Subrecipient costs: Submit all subrecipient proposals and analyses. Provide the method of selection used to determine the subrecipient.
    6. Tuition: Provide details and verification for any tuition amounts proposed.
    7. Indirect Costs: Currently the negotiated indirect rate for awards through the CESU is 17.5%.
    8. Any other proposed costs: The source should be identified and verified.
  • Application package shall be submitted NO LATER THAN 14 August 2022 by 1700 EST.
  • Submission Instructions

Applications may be submitted by e-mail, or Grants.gov. Choose ONE of the following submission methods:

  1. E-mail: Format all documents to print on Letter (8 ½ x 11”) paper. E-mail proposal to derek.a.howard@usace.army.mil.
  2. Grants.gov: www.grants.gov: Applicants are not required to submit proposals through Grants.gov. However, if applications are submitted via the internet, applicants are responsible for ensuring that their Grants.gov proposal submission is received in its entirety.

All applicants choosing to use Grants.gov to submit proposals  must  be  registered and have and account with Grants.gov. It may take up to three weeks to complete Grants.gov registration. For more information on registration, go to www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants.html.

Section V: Application Review Information

  • Peer or Scientific Review Criteria: In accordance with DoDGARs  315(c),  an  impartial peer review will be conducted. Subject to funding availability, all proposals will be reviewed using the criteria listed below (technical and cost/price). All proposals will be evaluated under the following two criteria which are of descending importance.
    • Technical (items i. and ii. are of equal importance):
      • Technical merits of proposed R&D.
      • Potential relationship of proposed R&D to DoD
    • Cost/Price: Overall realism of the proposed costs will be evaluated.
  • Review and Selection Process
    • Categories: Based on the Peer or Scientific Review, proposals will be categorized as Selectable or Not Selectable (see definitions below). The selection of the source for award will be based on the Peer or Scientific Review, as well as importance to agency programs and funding availability.
      1. Selectable: Proposals are recommended for acceptance if sufficient funding is available.
      2. Not Selectable: Even if sufficient funding existed, the proposal should not be funded.

Note: The Government reserves the right to award some, all, or none of proposals. When the Government elects to award only a part of a proposal, the selected part may be categorized as Selectable, though the proposal as a whole may not merit such a categorization.

    • No other criteria will be used.
    • Prior to award of a potentially successful offer, the Grants Officer will make a determination regarding price reasonableness.

Section VI: Award Administration Information

  1. Award Notices

Written notice of award will be given in conjunction with issuance of a cooperative agreement signed by a Grants Officer. The cooperative agreement will contain the effective date of the agreement, the period of performance, funding information, and all terms and conditions. The recipient is required to sign and return the document before work under the agreement  commences.  Work described in this announcement SHALL NOT begin without prior authorization from a Grants Officer.

  1. Administrative Requirements

The cooperative agreement issued as a result of this announcement is subject to the administrative requirements in 2 CFR Subtitle A; 2 CFR Subtitle B, Ch. XI, Part 1103; and 32 CFR Subchapter C, except Parts 32 and 33.

  1. Reporting

See 2 CFR Sections 200.327 for financial reporting requirements, 200.328 for performance reporting requirements, and 200.329 for real property reporting requirements.

Section VII: Agency Contact

Derek Howard, Grants Specialist
US Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center
3909 Halls Ferry Road
Vicksburg, MS 39180-6199
derek.a.howard@usace.army.mil
601-634-3310

RSOI USACE Oyster Reefs June 2022 PDF