At a Glance

Selection Criteria

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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.

This call for proposals is now closed. Please look for a new call in July 2014.

Deadline for Proposals Announced: December 3, 2013
The deadline for proposals to the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act program is Decenber 3, 2013. The 2014 application instructions and 2014 proposal template are posted.

Criterios (Español) - Guía de la Solicitud de Subsidio (Español) - Guia de Solicitação (Português)

What criteria are used in selecting projects?

In general, each proposal must define the problem, describe the conservation activities to be taken, and explain why the proposed solution is the most appropriate action to take to resolve the problem.

Reviewers will consider all of the information requested in the NMBCA Proposal Format section. To facilitate review, each proposal will be scored and ranked on how well it addresses all of the selection criteria listed in the table. The scores determine a preliminary ranking that is used to direct additional review and discussion leading to a final ranked recommendation to the Director of the USFWS.

How does the proposal address the requested elements and program priorities? Maximum Points
Q1. Does the project address Neotropical Migratory Birds (NMBs) identified as a conservation priority by a government agency or bird conservation initiative?  5
Q2. Does the project satisfy other important national or local conservation objectives, in addition to NMB conservation? 2
Q3. Is the project located in important breeding or nonbreeding areas for Neotropical Migratory Birds or does the project further our knowledge of these sites? 3
Q4. Are natural resources (i.e., habitat or species) in the project area under immediate and significant threat? For research and monitoring, does the lack of knowledge pose a significant threat to conservation of the species? 6
Q5. Will the project have a significant, direct effect on maintaining or increasing the population(s) of NMBs? 10
Q6. Does the project contribute to achieving goals and objectives of an international bird conservation plan? 3
Q7.  Does the project provide good benefits to Neotropical Migratory Birds for the costs? 4
Q8.  How will conservation activities continue after the project is completed? Is the project sustainable? 4
Q9.  Does the proposal represent a partnership among public, private and/or other organizations with appropriate local involvement? 5
Q10.  Are the implementers capable and qualified to deliver the objectives for which they are responsible? Are there risk factors for the grantee or contributing partners? Have they effectively delivered and demonstrated conservation outcomes in previous work? 5
Q11. Is the proposal well written, does it have clear objectives, and are the desired conservation outcomes measurable? 5
Q12. Is the project designed well? 5
Q13. Does the project address an immediate conservation challenge by reducing the effects of a predicted or current climate change impact on a highly vulnerable species or habitat? (If your proposal addresses climate change impacts on Neotropical migratory birds, please provide citations for the research guiding your proposed conservation actions.) 3
TOTAL 60

Reviewers will consider all of the information requested in the NMBCA Proposal Format section. To facilitate review, each proposal will be scored and ranked on how well it addresses all of the selection criteria listed in the table. The scores determine a preliminary ranking that is used to direct additional review and discussion leading to a final ranked recommendation to the Director of the USFWS.

Q1. Does the project address Neotropical Migratory Birds (NMBs) identified as a conservation priority by a government agency or bird conservation initiative? (0 – 5points)

Example: Two of the Neotropical migratory bird species that are the focus of project activities are 2008 Birds of Conservation Concern (a publication of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). See our eligible bird list for marked high priority species.

Q2. Does the project satisfy other important national or local conservation objectives, in addition to NMB conservation?(0 – 2 points)

Example: The project supports other biodiversity conservation goals, such as habitat improvement for endemic bird species.

Q3. Is the project located in important breeding or nonbreeding areas for Neotropical Migratory Birds or does the project further our knowledge of these sites? (0 – 3 points)

Example: Area 1 in this project is located in an Important Bird Area and is a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site.

Q4. Are natural resources (i.e., habitat or species) in the project area under immediate and significant threat? For research and monitoring, does the lack of knowledge pose a significant threat to conservation of the species?(0 – 6 points)

Example: Timber is being harvested in an unsustainable manner in the project area, reducing its value to an NMB which consequently could be locally extirpated within 10 years.

Q5. Will the project have a significant, direct effect on maintaining or increasing the population(s) of NMBs? (0 – 10 points)

Example: The species population is known to be limited by food availability on its wintering grounds and the project addresses this major population bottleneck (limiting factor).
Example: Residents of communities near important NMB habitats are informed about the value of the birds, and take actions to conserve them.
Example: The project will increase wintering habitat availability and quality and consequently increase over wintering survival of the target species.

Q6. Does the project contribute to achieving goals and objectives of an international bird conservation plan? (0 – 3 points)

Example: The project delivers high priority actions as identified in the species conservation business plan or conservation action plan.

Q7.  Does the project provide good benefits to Neotropical Migratory Birds for the costs? (0 – 4 points)

Example: The budget table clearly lays out budget items and costs (for both grant and match funds) in enough detail and with enough explanation to determine what actions are being taken to achieve the project goals and whether they are reasonably priced and overall provide good conservation benefit for the cost.

Q8.  How will conservation activities continue after the project is completed? Is the project sustainable? (0 – 4 points)

Example: After land acquisition, NMB habitat will be managed for conservation as part of a private reserve network that has a dedicated endowment fund for management.

Q9.  Does the proposal represent a partnership among public, private and/or other organizations with appropriate local involvement? (0 – 5 points)

Example: The local community is engaged in the proposal development and integrally involved in the delivery of project activities. The appropriate governmental agencies support the project and are committed to participate in the project or use project results to improve their resource management.

Q10.  Are the implementers capable and qualified to deliver the objectives for which they are responsible? Are there risk factors for the grantee or contributing partners? Have they effectively delivered and demonstrated conservation outcomes in previous work? (0 – 5 points)

Example: The applicant has received previous NMBCA awards, delivered on objectives and measured project outcomes as well as met all administrative requirements such as on-time and complete reporting.

Q11. Is the proposal well written, does it have clear objectives, and are the desired conservation outcomes measurable? (0 - 5 points)

Example: Objectives are specific, measurable, practical and results-oriented.

Q12. Is the project designed well? (0 – 5 points)

Examples: Project is logical and well designed to achieve the desired outcome.  Research project identifies a clear conservation or management question to be answered and will collect the appropriate data in the appropriate manner to answer the question.  Monitoring project includes appropriate design elements and, where possible, is connected with other regional- or international-scale monitoring efforts.  Monitoring project is developed to determine project effectiveness.

Q13. Does the project address an immediate conservation challenge by reducing the effects of a predicted or current climate change impact on a highly vulnerable species or habitat? (0-3 points) (If your proposal addresses climate change impacts on Neotropical migratory birds, please provide citations for the research guiding your proposed conservation actions.)

What additional criteria are used to evaluate pilot program proposals?

The above selection criteria used for the core program will be a central evaluation component to pilot program proposals.  However, the following additional criteria will assist reviewers in evaluating pilot program proposals and these criteria are all valued equally.
For the on-the-ground conservation proposals to the pilot program:

  1. Has the applicant identified what kind of long-term improvement or goal they want to achieve for the species?  Have they identified measurable long-term outcomes?
  2. Has the applicant developed a 5-10 year plan or course of action to which the current proposal contributes to achieving their desired long-term goal? 
  3. Are the short-term objectives for this proposal achievable and measurable?
  4. Has the applicant explained how they will measure the outcome or the difference in the short term (2 years) and longer term (5-10 years)?
  5. Does the applicant have the ability to make a significant biological improvement for the target species?  Is there a reasonable chance that continued investment in the partnership over the next 5-10 years will continue to lead to a measurable improvement (at a specified scale) for the species?
  6. If the applicant has been supported by the NMBCA with previous funding, have they measured their short-term outcomes and presented those results?  Are they showing measurable progress and if not have they explained why the outcomes are not what they planned for and proposed appropriate actions in this subsequent proposal?

For evaluation of research, monitoring or assessment proposals to the pilot program:

  1. How compelling is the information need for the selected species?
  2. Will the research improve our understanding of the key limiting factors for the population?
  3. What critical conservation cannot take place without this information? Will results be available by the project end, i.e., the one or 2 years of the grant period?
  4. Have the applicants described how the information gained will actively drive management or other decisions that will lead to significant improvements in the conservation status of the species?
  5. Is the project well designed, with appropriate data collection techniques?

All eligible proposals submitted to the pilot program will compete against each other first; all non-selected pilot program proposals will be eligible to then compete in the core program.

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