At a Glance

Frequently Asked Questions

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Since 2002, more than $50.1 million in grants.

Grants have supported 451 projects in 36 countries.

Partners have contributed an additional $190.6 million.

More than 3.7 million acres of habitat affected.

Preguntas Frecuentes - Perguntas freqüentes

Proposal Phase

Do I have to stay within the 12-page limit?
Should I apply to both the core and pilot programs?
Do I start with grants.gov, or do I first have to read the “NMBCA PROPOSAL FORMAT”?
Do I need a DUNS number?
How do I obtain a DUNS number if my organization is within the US?
How do I obtain a DUNS number if my organization is outside the US?
Do I need to register in the System for Award Management (SAM)?
My organization is not in the USA; do I need to register with DUNS and SAM?
I am having trouble using GRANTS.GOV; who can help?
I sent the proposal one minute before the deadline, but my Internet server caused a delay and you did not receive it until 10 minutes after the deadline; will you accept it?
If my proposal was not funded in a previous cycle, should I apply again?
My proposal was rejected last year. I would like to know why so I can write a better proposal this year.
May I submit a proposal if I have a currently active NMBCA grant?
Can I apply for more than one grant?
May I send a pre-proposal?
What is the timeline for a NMBCA grant cycle?
Do you fund migratory bird inventorying?
Should I coordinate with a Migratory Bird Joint Venture?
Are colleges and universities allowed to request NMBCA funding?
Can I budget intermediary bank fees into my proposal budget?
Will my proposal be shared with outside parties?
Whom do I contact for further information?

For additional information about the proposal phase, see also: Proposal Application Overview

Selection Phase

What criteria are used in selecting projects?
Will prior performance influence future selection?
Who selects the projects for funding?
When will I find out whether my proposal was selected?
Are there limits to how much one organization can be awarded?
What should I know about research and monitoring?

Administration Phase

How soon can I expect to have access to grant funds?
How do I get the money from my grant?
I am having trouble with ASAP; what do I do?
Will I receive funds in advance or only as reimbursements?
What are the rules for receiving an advance of funds?
What reporting requirements are there?
Where do I find the SF 425 (Federal Financial Report Form)?
How do I complete the SF425?
When do I need to submit the SF 425(Federal Financial Report Form)?
Do I need to submit the SF425 every quarter, even if I haven't requested any of my assistance award funds?
What should I do when my bank information changes?
Are there special rules for land acquisition (purchase or easement) outside the USA?
How do I document matching funds and in-kind contributions?
What are key issues I need to remember about matching funds and in-kind contributions?

Proposal Phase

Do I have to stay within the 12-page limit?
Yes. Proposals exceeding the page limit are ineligible. The cover page is included in your 12 page limit. Partner contributions statements accompanying your proposal do not count towards this page limit. Otherwise, annexes or appendices are not accepted. You should include all the information to explain your proposal within the 12-page limit. (The SF 424 and 424B/D do not count toward the 12-page limit, and may be annexed to the proposal.)

Should I apply to both the core and pilot programs?
No. If you would like to be considered under both programs, apply only for the pilot program. Proposals not selected under the pilot program will automatically be considered for funding under the core program.

Do I start with Grants.gov, or do I first have to read the “NMBCA PROPOSAL FORMAT”?
First, make sure you have an account in Grants.gov. Then, read the Proposal Application Overview, and write your proposal according to the NMBCA PROPOSAL FORMAT. Finally, begin your application in Grants.gov, which will ask you to attach certain documents.

Do I need a Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number?
Yes, you must have a DUNS number to register in the System for Award Management and to apply through Grants.gov; registrations will not be accepted without it. It takes several weeks to set this up; you should begin the process at least 4 weeks before you submit your proposal.

How do I obtain a DUNS number if my organization is within the US?
Go to the Dun & Bradstreet web site at http://www.dnb.com/us/ or call them at 1-888-814-1435.

How do I obtain a DUNS number if my organization is outside the US?
Go to the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) web site at http://www.dnbla.com/esp_default.asp. Or call them at their main telephone numbers for international questions 800-932-0025 or 800-333-0505. In addition, you may try the following: D&B Office in Florida 954-472-0732 (covers Latin America, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and Paraguay); Brazil Office (55) 11 38-88-6800.

Do I need to register in the System for Award Management (SAM)?  
Yes. You will first need to obtain a DUNS number. Being registered in SAM will allow you to apply through Grants.gov.  Grants.gov is how your proposal is fed into our financial and business management system and forms the basis of your grant award should you receive funding.

My organization is not in the USA; do I need to register with DUNS and SAM?
Yes. An organization must have a current Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number and active System for Award Management (SAM) registration before it can apply in Grants.gov, receive an award, or be able to receive funds. The Grants.gov website provides an Organization Registration Checklist to facilitate registering in Grants.gov to apply for grants. The SAM registration requires a current DUNS number. If you do not have a DUNS number, you should begin the process of applying for it immediately, as this process takes several weeks. To obtain a DUNS number or to check the status of your number, see “Dun and Bradstreet Guidance”. All applicants are encouraged to initiate their registration in the SAM as soon as possible.

I am having trouble using Grants.gov; who can help?
Please see the “Contact Us” page on Grants.gov where they list phone numbers for domestic and international callers, or visit their “Help Resources”.

I sent the proposal one minute before the deadline, but my Internet server caused a delay and you did not receive it until 10 minutes after the deadline; will you accept it?
No. To be fair to everyone, we will strictly adhere to the receipt deadline. Therefore we discourage applicants from submitting applications less than an hour before the deadline. If you are submitting from a location that might lose Internet access, we encourage you to submit at least 24 hours before the deadline to ensure that your application arrives in time. Additionally, the Grants.gov website will not accept proposals after the deadline.  Because the Grants.gov application process requires getting a DUNS number, registering in the System for Award Management and registering in Grants.gov, applicants should initiate the processes as soon as possible to avoid registration delays that might prevent application.

If my proposal was not funded in a previous cycle, should I apply again?
The NMBCA is a very competitive program and good proposals are turned down every year, unfortunately we cannot fund all of the projects that are proposing high priority conservation activities to help Neotropical migratory birds.  We strongly encourage applicants to resubmit proposals in the subsequent year.  We will try to provide useful feedback to all who request it.

My proposal was rejected last year. I would like to know why so I can write a better proposal this year.
If your proposal is turned down for funding, we offer you the opportunity to request feedback on your proposal after the selection period has ended (usually in April-May).  Please request this feedback as soon as possible so that we have time to provide it to you.  We may not be able to respond to requests of this nature longer than 2 months after the review period has ended.

May I submit a proposal if I have a currently active NMBCA grant?
Yes. Recipients may have more than one grant at one time.

Can I apply for more than one grant?
Yes, a single organization can apply for more than one grant.  However to distribute funding to a wider variety of quality Neotropical migratory bird projects throughout the hemisphere: 1) we will not fund multiple projects of 1 or more organizations proposing to accomplish more or less the same objectives (via duplicative activities/strategies) in any given geographic area in a single cycle, and 2) while overall program funding remains under $5 Million, we will not fund a single organization for more than $500,000 for Latin American/shared country projects and $250K for US or Canada only projects in any given year. A single organization is defined by project officer, office location, or country of operation.

May I send a pre-proposal?
Yes, applicants are encouraged, but not required, to send a pre-proposal (no more than 1 page in length) to neotropical@fws.gov for review at least three months prior to the deadline.

What is the timeline for a NMBCA grant cycle?
Typically, proposal instructions are posted in August, proposals must be submitted in November, selections are announced on or before Migratory Bird Day (the second Saturday in May), and grant awards are made within 90 days of the announcement (if the applicant has submitted all required paperwork).

Do you fund Neotropical migratory bird inventorying?
While Neotropical migratory bird inventorying is an eligible activity, it is generally not a high priority activity unless it is clearly linked to future beneficial conservation actions for Neotropical migratory birds. You must be able to answer the questions: Will we be better able to conserve the habitat by knowing which Neotropical migratory birds are present? How will we better conserve the habitat as a result of the inventory? Merely adding inventorying for Neotropical migratory birds to, for example, a community development project does not make a competitive NMBCA proposal. However if there is a clear lack of scientific information about the presence of a Neotropical migratory bird species in a particular highly threatened habitat, a project designed to provide this information might be more competitive, especially if there is reason to believe Neotropical migratory birds might be present (e.g., anecdotal evidence or presence of species in similar habitats in other countries). Additionally, inventorying may be critical to establishing baseline data from which to measure progress towards bird population goals at a local level; such cases should be clearly explained and linked to desired goals.

Should I coordinate with a Migratory Bird Joint Venture?
For projects with activities in the USA, we strongly encourage applicants who are developing a proposal to contact the Migratory Bird Joint Ventures (JV) where the activities are taking place. Proposals that show coordination with a JV will be more competitive. Check this link to find the JV that is in charge of your area.

Are colleges and universities allowed to request NMBCA funding?
Yes.

Can I budget intermediary bank fees into my proposal budget?
Award recipients using banks in the United States of America will not be subject to intermediary fees. However recipients who use an intermediary bank in the U.S. to transfer funds to a destination bank in their country may be subject to intermediary bank fees. The recipient should contact their local bank and the intermediary bank they plan to use to determine what type of fees there may be in order to account for those costs within the proposal budget. The fees range from flat fees to percentages of the amount of the transaction. These fees are allowable costs for reimbursement with NMBCA funds, but should be kept to a minimum. Recipients can avoid these fees and processing delays by using a United States of America bank.

Will my proposal be shared with outside parties?
We may share proposals with outside parties for their professional input during our review, as examples of the work funded by our program, to improve coordination of conservation activities in a region (for example we will share proposals in the US with the appropriate Migratory Bird Joint Venture), and to promote the program.  Please do not include Social Security numbers; personal names, addresses or phone numbers (other than that of the applicant); or any other personal or sensitive information in your proposal. Should you not want your proposal shared for these reasons, please let us know.

Whom do I contact for further information?
Contact information is available on the Contacts page.
Hablamos español. Falamos português. Wir sprechen Deutsch. On lit de francais.

Selection Phase

What criteria are used in selecting projects?
Please visit our Selection Criteria Page.

Will prior performance influence future selection?
Yes, during the selection phase reviewers will take into consideration an applicant’s prior performance in past and current projects on-going with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. On-time submission of all required reports and documentation is an important performance component.

Who selects the projects for funding?
The Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service selects the projects.

When will I find out whether my proposal was selected?
Selected projects are typically announced on or before Migratory Bird Day (the second Saturday in May).

Are there limits to how much one organization can be awarded?
Yes, there are limits to how much one organization can be awarded. In order to distribute funding to a wider variety of quality Neotropical migratory bird projects throughout the hemisphere: 1) we will not fund multiple projects of 1 or more organizations proposing to accomplish more or less the same objectives (via duplicative activities/strategies) in any given geographic area in a single cycle, and 2) while overall program funding remains under $5 Million, we will not fund a single organization for more than $500,000 for Latin American/shared country projects and $250K for US or Canada only projects in any given year. A single organization is defined by project officer, office location, or country of operation.

What should I know about research and monitoring?
Research and monitoring will be more competitive if they are deliverable at a reasonable cost and tied to adaptive management, unless it is a very pointed specific issue such as testing a new technology.  For research, more competitive questions will seek to answer significant conservation unknowns; for instance, what are the limiting factors for a species of Neotropical migratory bird? We recommend that you consult the following resources for developing or improving monitoring projects (Opportunities for Improving Avian Monitoring: US NABCI and The Northeast Bird Monitoring Handbook: Ten Steps to Successful Bird Conservation through Improved Monitoring).

Administration Phase

How soon can I expect to have access to grant funds?
Once you receive your assistance award (the official grant award documentation), within 90 days of the grant announcement if the applicant has submitted all required documentation (usually in June or July), you can access your funds immediately.

How do I get the money from my grant?
First, ensure that you have complied with all the requirements; see your grant agreement and http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NMBCA/Manage.shtm. Then, if your headquarters are located in the USA, follow the instructions at http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Payments/index.shtm. If your headquarters are located outside the USA, regardless of where your bank is located, please go to the non-domestic recipient payments page at http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Payments/NonUSindex.shtm

I am having trouble with ASAP; what do I do?
If you have questions about the ASAP process, go to http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/FAPO/Service_Grants.htm.

Will I receive funds in advance or only as reimbursements?
You will be asked to choose whether you would like to receive advance payments. If you do, you will be required to submit quarterly financial reports (SF425) every quarter, and there are additional requirements if you choose advance payments; please refer to the grant guidelines; see below.

What are the rules for receiving an advance of funds?
You may request advances only if you choose the advance payment option before your assistance award is completed. The request for an advance must be limited to the minimum actual cash amount needed and be timed for immediate disbursement. A good guideline is to request funds no more than three days prior to the actual disbursement date. You must disburse the funds within 7 days (if over $10,000) or within 30 days (if under $10,000). Generally, advances must be maintained in interest bearing accounts. Recipients will incur an interest liability to the Federal government if this regulation is not followed.

What reporting requirements are there?
At a minimum, each grant recipient is required to submit annual and final reports, including annual and final financial reports (Standard Form 425), that describe in detail the success of meeting objectives as stated in the proposal and that explain any differences between the proposed activities and the actual achievements. Grantees who choose to receive payment advances must also submit quarterly financial reports (SF425). Additional requirements may apply to specific projects. See also Your Reporting Obligations.

Where do I find the SF-425 (Federal Financial Report Form)?
To download the SF-425 Federal Financial Report as an Adobe Reader, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/grants_forms/SF-425.pdf. Please print it out, complete it (do not forget your signature and the date), and mail the original or a scanned copy as an e-mail attachment.

How do I complete the SF425?
You can download the instructions from the following link: SF425 Instructions. Do not report multiple awards on one form. (Although the SF-425 can accommodate reporting on multiple awards, we will only accept SF-425 Financial Reports for a single grant.) Please complete items 1 – 9 on the form, then lines 10 d – k, skipping lines 10 a – c. If you have earned any income because of project activity (lease income on grant or match tracts, for example), enter that information on lines 10 l – o. Line 10i should be the entire match amount committed, as it appears in box 13 of your Assistance Award. Line 10j should be the match funds already expended. If your organization has a NICRA (“negotiated indirect cost rate”) and indirect costs were included in your proposal budget, complete line 11. Certify the form by filling out section 13, and mail the form with the original signature to your grant officer at USFWS-DBHC, 4401 N Fairfax Dr., MBSP-4075, Arlington VA 22203, USA or scan it and send it as an email attachment.

When do I need to submit the SF-425 (Federal Financial Report Form)?
All recipients must submit a SF-425 (which has replaced the SF-269 Financial Report) with each annual and final report. You must submit the SF-425 with each annual and final report no later than 90 days after the anniversary of the approving signature on your Assistance Award. (Please disregard instructions to the contrary, Reporting Requirements #1 in the SF-425 Instructions). Grantees who choose to receive payment advances must also submit quarterly financial reports (SF-425).

Do I need to submit the SF-425 every quarter, even if I haven't requested any advances of my assistance award funds?
Yes. The SF-425 provides disbursement and financial accountability data to the awarding agency. It is a cash report and provides useful information even if submitted as a zero report.

What should I do when my bank information changes?
You should contact your Project Officer at:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Bird Habitat Conservation
4401 North Fairfax Drive
Mailstop MBSP 4075
Arlington, Virginia USA 22203

Are there special rules for land acquisition (purchase or easements) outside of the USA?
If your project will acquire land or easements outside the USA with Federal (U.S.) funds, the title holder or easement holder must be an in-country organization and you must clearly state this in your proposal by identifying the future title holder. You will also need to provide proof (e.g., correspondence in the form of an email or letter) that you have communicated your intention to acquire land during this project to the appropriate government agency in the country. At the end of the project, you will need to submit copies of legal and other documentation (settlement statements, appraisals, deeds, maps, and GIS shape files) showing that all acquisitions were completed within the project period. You will need to submit similar documentation for land acquisitions provided as match, even if the match was donated and the acquisition occurred before the beginning of the project period.

How do I document matching funds and in-kind contributions?
Grantees must maintain detailed accounting of receipts and expenditures of their own and of all partner organizations’ matching funds and in-kind match. All match records must identify the specific NMBCA grant to which they contributed. Reports summarizing these accounting records must be maintained by the grantee, and must be submitted as part of the final report. Detailed records (including all supporting documentation) may be requested for review at any time, up to three years after the final report was received by FWS; therefore, grantees must keep all project records for at least 3 years after FWS acknowledges receipt of the complete final report. Any match that is not supported by adequate documentation may be disallowed. Records for in-kind match must explain and show how the values of in-kind contributions were determined (for example, number of hours of volunteer time contributed, basis on which the hourly rate was calculated, rental rates for meeting space and vehicles, records of actual calculations for valuing in-kind contributions). The rates for volunteer or staff services must be consistent with those paid for similar work in the labor market in which the grantee competes for the type of service and skill. The value of donated equipment cannot exceed the fair market value of equipment of the same age and condition at the time of donation. The value of loaned equipment cannot exceed its fair rental value. The value of donated facilities cannot exceed the fair rental value of comparable facilities in the same locality.

What are key issues I need to remember about matching funds and in-kind contributions?
Matching funds and in-kind contributions requirements are given in the grant guidelines. The following are highlights:

  • Match contributions must be directly related to the proposed project and the types of activities eligible under the Act and occur within the proposed project area. All match activities (cash and in kind) must be: 1) necessary and reasonable for accomplishing the project objectives, 2) described in the objectives and evaluation section of the proposal, and 3) listed in the approved proposal budget.
  • NMBCA reporting and documentation requirements apply to all match funded activities. (See also Your Reporting Obligations.) For example, if you provide a 1,000-acre easement as in-kind match you will need to send us copies of all required property documentation (deed, settlement statement, appraisal, map, GIS shape file).
  • For project activities in the United States (except Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and Canada, the 3:1 non-Federal share must be in cash. For project activities in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the 3:1 non-Federal share may be cash or in-kind contributions. “Cash” in this context means the recipient's cash outlay (including the outlay of money contributed to the recipient by third parties) to be expended after the date the proposal is submitted and during the project period. (Note that equipment depreciation and volunteer labor are not considered cash.) Contributions that have been expended up to two years prior to the date the proposal is submitted may be considered in-kind contributions. Contributions made more than two years before proposal submission are not eligible as match.

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