RSOI: Ecosystem Function Model Analysis on the Roanoke 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-4749
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: Ecosystem Function Model Analysis on the Roanoke 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 relationships between river flows, floodplain inundation and floodplain vegetation, to aid in basin wide efforts that examine the effectiveness of water releases to achieve the desired ecological outcomes while all in accordance with 10 U.S.C. § 2358 – Research and Development.

Approximately $30,000.00 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 lower Roanoke River has beautiful, 5-mile wide floodplains with some of the largest expanses of bottomland hardwoods on the east coast. In 2016, the Corps implemented a monumental operational change of Kerr Reservoir from 20k cfs releases to Quasi-Run-of-River (QRR) of 35k cfs when in flood stage. This change was in large part to enhance the health of the floodplain vegetation. TNC, USFWS, and academics finished analyzing extensive vegetation data along the Roanoke River. This includes five 4000m2 plots with every single tree tagged and measured, sampled in 2001, 2012, and 2017. Results show that the number of trees in the floodplain is decreasing for important species like Laurel Oak. The trees that are alive are growing, but they are growing more slowly in seasons with extensive water inundation.

Simultaneously, the Corps has been creating a HEC-RAS 2-D model for several sections of the Roanoke, including the locations of the vegetation plots. This scope will combine hydraulic modeling, aerial imagery, groundwater data and vegetation data in the ecosystem function model to analyze the impacts of changing hydrology in the lower Roanoke River floodplains.

Type of Award:

Authority to enter into a Cooperative Agreement: 10 U.S.C. § 2358 – Research and Development for Ecosystem Function Model Analysis on the Roanoke River.

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. Use remote sensing imagery with a partner’s peer-reviewed model to examine the extent of flooding on the landscape with releases between 20,000-35,000 cfs to understand the floodplain vegetation that is influenced by Kerr Reservoir releases;
  2. Update the existing vegetation analysis with information from the remote sensing findings, with the Corps’ HEC RAS 2-D models, and with additional field sampling of tree rings to further refine the relationship of inundation effects on tree growth;
  3. Run the Corps’ Ecosystem Function Model with defined relationships to apply the vegetation findings across a broader geographic scope of the lower Roanoke watershed and further understand the how QRR might influence floodplain vegetation;
  4. Provide recommendations of further research or monitoring that will be needed in subsequent years to capture the long-term effects of QRR on floodplain vegetation;

This project requires the following tasks:

  1. Researchers will use remote sensing imagery, especially from the Sentinel 1 satellite, to capture flood extent on the landscape with Kerr Dam releases between 20,000- 35,000 cfs. Researchers will qualitatively describe antecedent floodplain conditions before any releases to characterize the range of flood extent that can happen with different releases. Researchers will also characterize the vegetation that can be influenced with the Kerr Reservoir releases.
  2. Researchers will collect tree cores in the lower Roanoke to further analyze the relationship between vegetation and hydrology.
  3. Using Corps-provided 1D and 2D HEC RAS models, the remote sensing findings, and the tree ring findings, researchers will update the existing vegetation analysis to refine the relationships of inundation effects on tree growth.
  4. After refining the relationships between vegetation and floodplain inundation, the researchers will run the Corps’ Ecosystem Function Model with defined relationships to apply the vegetation findings across a broader geographic scope of the lower Roanoke watershed and provide insight into how QRR will affect the vegetation over time.
  5. Researchers will provide recommendations of further research or monitoring that will be needed in subsequent years to understand the long-term ecological effects of QRR on vegetation.
  6. Provide quarterly check-ins with the Corps on sampling status, data analysis, and any early results.
  7. Participate in occasional calls/meetings with partner groups investigating vegetation on the lower Roanoke.
  8. Summarize data, remote sensing imagery, and modeling into a final report.

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 field technicians that have working knowledge of the Roanoke River and comprehensive knowledge of its species and demonstrate good working relationships with collaborating partners in the basin. eDNA sampling will be dependent upon weather events, thus quick response time and mobility to sampling locations is necessary. Ability to collect samples, apply baseline data, and run necessary lab analyses is mandatory.

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 and shall be exercised prior to expiration of the Base Period (Mandatory Tasks).

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).

  • Name, Organization, Cage Code, Duns number, and Contact Information (Email)
  • 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.).
    • Any past or existing research in the Roanoke River regarding floodplain vegetation and any description of relationships with basin stakeholders and partners.
  • Support personnel should have:
    • Extensive experience with field sampling of floodplain vegetation.
    • Knowledge of vegetation analysis methods and the ability to use mapping software.
    • Past research demonstrating knowledge of Roanoke River vegetation and river dynamics.

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 Fort. Worth District
Sandra.justman@usace.army.mil
8178861073

Greg Bonnell
Project Manager
Regional Planning and Environmental Center
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Cell: (918) 951-0591
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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