Advancing Ag Outreach RFP 

Advancing Ag Outreach RFP 

Advancing Ag Outreach RFP (PDF version)
Issued: June 18, 2021
Proposal Submission Deadline: July 9, 2021 

Issued by: Lancaster Clean Water Partners
Contact: Allyson Gibson, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Programs agibson@lancastercleanwaterpartners.com 

Objective: Coordinate and drive the outreach and plan writing process in at least 2 specific stream delisting catchment areas of the Octoraro Watershed. The goal of this project is to get landowners from current status to fully written Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP) when possible and ready to use implementation dollars in efficient ways at a scale that achieves collective success for that community of landowners and its stream segment. 

Overview/Background: The Lancaster Clean Water Partners (Partners) is a young collective impact initiative housed at the Conservation Foundation of Lancaster County. The Partners was formed to drive collaborative efforts and urgency to improve Lancaster County’s fresh water resources as more than half of Lancaster County’s 1,400 miles of streams are unhealthy. 

Coordinating a diverse, multi-sector group of experts, the Partners have come together with a common goal of clean and clear Lancaster waterways by 2040. The Partners recognize the urgency for change because the streams in Lancaster need to see improvements at a pace that is not only on target with the Bay watershed’s 2025 goals but also achieves local water quality success. The cross-sector collaboration of this group is essential and it requires intentional outreach, strategic and strong partnerships, as well as transparency and inclusive practices. The Partners include local leaders with years of experience in business, municipal public service, higher education, conservation planning, non-profit  management, and more. These leaders have come together to design and drive a strategy with a collective approach so that Lancaster County will see improved water quality across the landscape. 

For more information, see www.lancastercleanwaterpartners.com

This Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks a qualified partner(s) with direct experience in farmer outreach, agricultural plan writing, design, and implementation of best management practices. Each catchment is unique, resulting in differing outlooks on water quality. The Partners believe that strong and consistent initial outreach plus a coordinated data system will make the implementation process even more efficient and effective to meet our common goal of clean and clear Lancaster waterways by 2040.

Project Geography: 

  • Rapid stream delisting Tier 1 catchments (see Collaborative Mapping Tool “implementation” tab for the exact locations
  • Tier 1 catchments for this project are in the Octoraro watershed. 

Scope of Services: This RFP seeks assistance for agricultural outreach services including: 

  1. Coordinate the outreach and implementation work in the catchment based upon local knowledge of agricultural operations, community leaders, existing plans for Best Management Practices (BMPs), local needs, and highest impact areas. If an additional catchment lead is already in place as part of the rapid delisting strategy, the awardee will work with that partner organization to coordinate the outreach. This requires having an awareness of and collaborating with non-government organizations and agency partners working within the catchment.
  2. Provide technical assistance that shepherds a landowner from current status to completed plans with specific BMPs identified for implementation at the least cost alternative to the landowner/farmer when possible. Design and engineering of those practices can be included if the budget allows and other funding is not available in a timely manner or is an efficient use of resources.
  3. Provide support to the Partners by documenting implementation and compliance through the Pennsylvania Ag Conservation Stewardship (PACS) Program site visits.
  4. Use the Lancaster County Conservation District approved process for appropriate data collection on plan and BMP status.
  5. For the catchment identified for this project, assess and document plan compliance status, and report BMPs implemented and verified through the CAP data collection process (work directly with the Conservation District as necessary).
  6. Make progress toward priority initiatives and goals within Lancaster’s Countywide Action Plan.
  7. Coordinate with the Partners to assess the results of the outreach effort, and to discuss improvements and next steps for an effective outreach/communications plan to the remainder of Tier 1 and Tier 2 catchment landowners beyond. 
  8. Write a final report of results. The final report will include at a minimum the framework and methodology used, key findings, status of each parcel in the catchments, needs assessment, and recommendations for next steps. 

Budget: Phase 1 of the project has a budget of approximately $100,000. Proposals should include a budget breakdown of how many dollars and hours will be spent on staff time for outreach; how many CNMPs could be written; and if possible how much would

be spent on sealed design and engineering packages (beyond that contained in any CNMP) based on existing knowledge of plans that are already in place. 

Phase 2 will have a similar budget and will be available in late fall 2021. If the necessary work is completed in the Octoraro Watershed catchment areas, phase 2 will focus on other Tier 1 catchment areas. A separate announcement will be made about phase 2. 

Tasks to Address in Proposal 

1. Outreach development process 

Coordinate the outreach and implementation work in the catchment based upon the Partners rapid stream delisting strategy. It includes local knowledge of agricultural operations, existing momentum, planned BMPs and funding already pledged to implement them, local monitoring needs, and highest impact areas. If an additional catchment lead is already in place as part of the rapid delisting strategy, the awardee will work with that partner organization to coordinate the outreach.

2. Technical Assistance with these BMPs 

  • Nutrient Management Core N and P and Supplemental BMPs – Manure Management Plan (MMP) implementation (Chapter 91 agricultural compliance)
  • Soil and Water Conservation Plans – Ag Erosion and Sediment Control (Ag E&S) and Conservation Plan implementation (Chapter 102 agricultural compliance)
  • Design and Implementation of Animal Waste Management Systems, Barnyard Runoff Control, Loafing Lot Management (NRCS 561 Animal Heavy Use Area Protection), and other associated practices 
  • Riparian Forest and Grass Buffers with Exclusion Fencing – Livestock exclusion fencing and animal stream crossing design and permitting 

The chosen contractor(s) will need to provide the Partners with a progress report on plan development, BMP design, and implementation status of all BMPs listed above at 3 months, 6 months, and a final report at 12 months. These reports will provide the opportunity to make mid-course corrections and manage expectations.

3. Prepare final report and data files 

Delivered in the final report: 

  • A report out of plan compliance (Ag E&S and Manure management) with PA regulations that answers these questions: Did the farms have up-to-date plans, how many /which practices were identified as currently implemented and how many/which practices were identified as planned or needing to be implemented?
  • Use the information from this project to develop a needs assessment (time, materials and people) and schedule to complete work in the other Tier I catchments.

4. Work Plan and Schedule 

  • Provide demonstrated understanding of Lancaster Clean Water Partners’ needs and project scope. 
  • Describe the planned outreach approach, anticipated number of farms, research, timeline, and work plan to include major and subtasks. 
  • Provide a management plan with a description of qualifications of the key personnel selected to lead the scope of services. 
  • Identify tasks the Partners will perform versus tasks the candidate will perform or coordinate. 
  • Identify any suggested modification to the scope of services listed above.

5. Cost Proposal/Schedule of Fees 

  • Provide an all-inclusive cost proposal with an itemized cost for all proposed services, including incidental expenses based on task list. 
  • Include rates for all team members, the expected range of billable hours, and a “not to exceed” budget. 
  • Identify how work could be adjusted for potential or additional options regarding cost 
  • Actual scope, budget, and timeline for any activity will be developed using the hourly rates submitted in response to this RFP.

6. Evaluation criteria 

The contractor(s) will be chosen based on a variety of factors including:

  • Existing status of candidate’s work and expertise in the priority catchment
  • Candidate’s organizational capacity to reasonably complete project objectives
  • Proven track record of completing similar work 

All responses to this RFP will be analyzed for completeness and cost effectiveness. Failure to meet requirements can be cause for rejection of the proposal. Cost will be considered against other factors based upon the professional judgment of those involved in the evaluation. An internal staff committee will make the selection recommendation.

7. Timeline 

June 18, 2021 — RFP Posted 

July 9, 2021 at 5 p.m. — Proposal Deadline, Late submissions will not be considered July 12-16, 201 Bidder Interviews 

July 21, 2021 — Contract Finalized 

October 31, 2021 — 3 month report due 

January 7, 2022 — 6 month report due 

May 2022 — Final Report and Presentation of Results Due 

Submission Procedure 

All acceptable proposals submitted must include the following items listed below: 

Cover: Include the request for proposal title and submittal due date, and the name, address, email address, and telephone number of the firm and main contact. 

Table of contents: Include a complete and clear list of headings and pages to allow easy reference to key information. 

Letter to the selection committee: Convey a basic understanding of the project and key objectives as well as a project team overview. State why the candidate is interested in the project, how the project relates to other work it has successfully performed, and why the candidate should be selected for work in the specific catchment/geography. 

Proposal summary: Discuss highlights, key features, and distinguishing characteristics of the proposal. Include a list of individual staff members and contacts for this proposal and how to communicate with them. 

Profile of the proposing candidate: Include a description of the candidate organization’s size and a discussion of the financial stability, capacity, and resources. 

Qualifications and experience: Include a description of the candidate’s qualifications and previous experience on similar or related projects. Provide a summary of the work performed, total project cost, the period over which the work was completed, and the name, title, and phone number of clients to be contacted for references, and a general description of the client (e.g., size, complexity, etc.). Also give a brief statement of the candidate’s adherence to the schedule and budget for each project. 

Recent work examples: Provide three examples of deliverables of the most recently completed projects along with timelines the candidate worked within. Please include contact information for these references.

Work plan and schedule: Succinctly describe the proposed approach for addressing the required services and the candidate’s ability to meet the Partners’ schedule. Include a description of tasks and deliverables, including any optional services. 

Price proposal form: Submit a price proposal form, including a not-to-exceed amount. The form must include a task list with a breakdown of the anticipated fee per task. Provide hourly rates for the firm’s staff as well. 

Late submissions will be rejected. Questions may be referred to Allyson Gibson 717/368/4831 agibson@lancastercleanwaterpartners.com