At a Glance


Quick Links

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 late August 2014.

Formato De Las Propuestas NMBCA (Español) - Guía de la Solicitud de Subsidio (Español) - Guia de Solicitação (Português)

Application template for the pilot and core programs

All of the following sections must fit onto 12 pages with a font size of 11 or greater; otherwise your proposal may be disqualified.

1. Cover Page

Provide all information listed below, showing the item letter and name, e.g., “g. DUNS Number: 123456789”. We recommend a one-page maximum. Please check that your numbers (dollars and acres/hectares) are consistent throughout the proposal, including in your budget.

  1. Project title
    Title should be in English and no more than 50 characters. Use initial capital letters, as appropriate for a title. If this is a subsequent phase of a previous NMBCA project, use a roman numeral at the end of the title to show the phase number. Immediately after the title, but on a separate line, insert “Submitted to the pilot program”, if applicable.

  2. Project Area
    Briefly describe the area within which your project will take place.  This should refer to the area within which the project’s on-the-ground activities take place. Do not merely show the location of your office or a species range. There may be more than one specific location within your project area. Also include the state/province and the country/island. Your map (see item 11) should also depict the project area described here.  If you can, we ask that you provide a GIS shapefile of your project area, and attach this file to your email with the copy of this proposal (we do not know if these files can be uploaded to  We suggest creating a .kmz shapefile using Google Earth, if you do not have your own GIS software. If you cannot provide a shapefile, please include the approximate project location’s centroid. If possible, use Degrees/Minutes/Seconds, but if you use UTM, include the zone, easting, and northing.

  3. Ecoregion name and code
    For assistance see, where you can input species or location to identify your project area’s Ecoregion.

  4. Project Officer (only one)
    Insert the name of the person who will coordinate the project and will be the primary point of contact if the project is funded. Include only professional contact information; do not include personal information.

  5. Name of organization applying for the grant (only one)

  6. Type of organization
    Insert one of the following: USA federal government, non-USA national government, state/provincial government, local/municipal government, aboriginal organization/tribal government, conservation NGO, private corporation/business, school/college/university, other.

  7. DUNS (and SAM)
    An organization must have a current Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number before it can apply in Additionally, it must have an active System for Award Management (SAM) registration in order to apply through, to receive an award, and to be able to receive funds. 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”. We strongly recommend that you read the following steps to register an organization in now.

  8. Organization’s official mailing address
    This address must be the official address of the organization, which must be identical to that listed in its DUNS registration.

  9. Project Officer’s office
    Street (physical) address, State/Province, Country; insert postal code where appropriate.

  10. Telephone numbers (Project Officer)

  11. Fax number (Project Officer)

  12. E-mail address (Project Officer)
    Please ensure that this is a functional email address! Do not include personal email addresses.

  13. Duration of proposed project (1 or 2 years)

  14. For projects in the United States only
    County and Congressional District

  15. For projects in North America only
    Bird Conservation Regions (see and Joint Venture in which the project is located.

  16. Project summary
    The summary must be in English and must include a clear statement of your objectives and of all the grant- and match-funded activities.

  17. Eligible activities that are included
    List only those activities that are explicitly described as objectives in your proposal. For example, if you only propose restoration, then only list restoration under item (ii). For each activity involving habitat, list how many acres or hectares are impacted. For each activity, list how much grant and match contributes to completing that activity.

    (i) protection or management of Neotropical migratory bird populations

    (ii) maintenance, management, protection, or restoration of Neotropical migratory bird habitat
    Only list the activities described in your proposal and give the number of hectares or acres directly impacted by each of the sub-activities, and clearly show if any of the hectares are counted more than once. For example: “protection and restoration of bird habitat: 1,000 Ha easement donated [$100,000 match funds] (tract 1), 500 Ha tract acquired [$40,000 grant funds, $30,000 match funds] (tract 2), 200 Ha (in tract 1) fenced [$20,000 grant funds], 100 Ha (in tract 2) reforested [$50,000 match funds]. Note that the term “protection” in the NMBCA program means only the legal (formal) protection of a piece of land, such as fee title acquisition, easement acquisition, “servidumbre”. For example, fencing out cattle and patrolling park boundaries are not “protection” activities; they are restoration and law enforcement activities, respectively.

    (iii) research, monitoring

    (iv) law enforcement

    (v) community outreach, education

  18. Total funding requested from NMBCA (in USA dollars)

  19. Total matching funds (in USA dollars)

  20. Total non-matching funds (in USA dollars)
    These are funds originating from the Federal government of the USA, and therefore not eligible to meet the match requirements, but nevertheless essential to the project.

  21. List of all partners contributing match and their respective contribution amounts
    This should be the same dollar amounts shown in the partner contribution statements. Show each contribution in USA dollars, and include the grantee’s contribution. Include the full name of each partner (i.e., no acronyms) and the organization type (see item f. above). For example:  Healthy Bird Observatory, NGO, $5,600. Please check that your numbers are consistent throughout the proposal!

  22. List of top 10-15 Neotropical migratory birds to benefit from the project.  Both pilot and core program applicants should include this information because pilot project proposals will be considered in the core program if they are not accepted as a pilot project.

2. Qualifications of Key Individuals Conducting the Project

Concisely explain, in a page or less, the roles that key individuals will play in the project, e.g., project lead, researcher, restoration coordinator, trainer, financial manager. Summarize the skills, training, experience, or education the individuals possess that is necessary to successfully fulfill their role in the project. What are the specific credentials that demonstrate they are capable of delivering this particular project? For instance, if you propose research, has the researcher performed the studies, techniques or methodologies before and had the research peer reviewed? You should include how many person-months per year will be dedicated to the project. Do not include Social Security numbers, personal identification numbers, personal addresses, phone numbers, or any other personal or sensitive information.

3. Project Description

Demonstrate that the project will improve the conservation of Neotropical migratory bird species in a specific measurable way in the United States, Canada, Latin America, or the Caribbean. In describing your project, be succinct. Explain the problem (usually, a threat to Neotropical migratory birds or the habitat upon which they depend), the proposed solution to the problem (your actions), why the proposed activities and objectives are best suited to alleviate the problem, and how you intend to measure your success. This basic analysis is the core conceptual model of your project. Although not required, you are encouraged to describe the impact you desire and the changes that are necessary to achieve it using the conceptual modeling approach of the Conservation Measures Partnership. A recommended resource for identifying and developing appropriate objectives and measures of success is the Conservation Measures Partnership website ( and the Conservation Measures component of the Conservation Gateway.  Minimize discussion of general bird conservation needs; instead, focus on the specific impacts of the proposed activities. If you are addressing a known bottleneck to a population, you should discuss this, how the bottleneck was identified andyou’re your actions were determined to be the highest priority actions to address the population bottleneck. Projects involving a single activity are often funded. If your project involves multiple activities, each activity should be well-developed and justified by following the instructions under items a. - g. below, and the proposal should demonstrate how all activities are integrated to achieve your goal. This also applies all activities funded with match.

  1. Statement of Need: Explain why the project is necessary. Describe the targeted Neotropical migratory birds and the direct threats affecting these species at the project site(s). You must identify the Neotropical migratory bird species native to the habitat affected by the proposed activities. In the event that this list is longer than 10-15 species (see section 1.v above), only list the migratory bird species of highest conservation concern or focal or umbrella migratory bird species used for conservation planning. If you submit your proposal to the pilot program, indicate what pilot program species you are addressing and, if applicable, 10-15 additional species of the highest conservation concern that stand to benefit from the actions proposed to help evaluate the proposal in the core program if necessary. In either case, explain how you determined the presence of these species in your project area. Describe how you determined that these particular bird species will benefit from the project activities and provide references to research or conservation plans, and to monitoring or inventory results. If any of these birds are non-migratory or resident subpopulations of an eligible species, you must indicate those birds. Click here to see birds identified as Birds of Conservation Concern.

  2. Project Goals: For all projects, explain what you want to achieve in the long term. A goal is the long-term (≥ 10 years) outcome that you want to achieve in order to successfully conserve the target species. If you submit your proposal to the pilot program, you must identify the population scope applicable to your goal (global population, regional population, local population) and the measurable goal you seek to achieve.  You should also describe what change in the condition to this population you seek to achieve and how you will measure this change (you will also answer this under “how you will measure” in section “9. Evaluation”).  Some examples of desired and measurable conditions are: reduced mortality (increased survival), increased productivity (maximized fecundity), improved habitat quality, higher species abundance, or a reduced threat. You must provide the specific goals you seek to achieve. If necessary, you should budget sufficient resources to measure baseline information and measure progress toward your goal. Alternatively, you may use other data sources to evaluate population level change, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey or other population level data sets. If you submit your proposal to the core program and you can provide this information for species not targeted by the pilot program, we encourage you to do so; it will make your proposal more competitive.

  3. Project Objectives: For all projects, explain what you want to achieve during the project period. Objectives are the specific, short-term outcomes you want to achieve to reach your goal(s) and should describe a desired change in capacity, threat, or species status. Objectives should be specific, measurable, practical and results-oriented. A project’s objectives form the basis for your evaluation section where you will explain how you will measure your success. If you submit your proposal to the pilot program, you must identify objectives that clearly move you towards your long-term goal via measurable indicators.  They should logically and incrementally lead to your long-term goal.  Explain how you will measure the impact of your activities in the one- or two-year project period. You may measure the overall species population conditions you hope to change in the long term at the end of your project such as reduced mortality (increased survival), increased productivity (maximizing fecundity), or increased abundance at the population level. You may also use local indicators for the project objectives, such as: threat reduction, improved habitat, locally higher species abundance.  If you use local indicators, it should be clear how these indicate progress towards your long-term goal.

  4. Project Activities and Methods: Explain what actions you will take to achieve your objectives. Specifically (and separately for each of the eligible activities listed under “1.q.” above) describe in detail all project activities and the methods you will use to implement them, including those funded with matching contributions. All proposed activities, whether funded with grant or matching funds, must be integral to your project, directly related to Neotropical migratory bird conservation, and likely to be completed during the project period. If you do not accomplish an activity, you may be asked to return grant funds. Describe how the activities you propose are linked to a measure of success (See below in Section 9: Evaluation) and the anticipated outputs or products that will result. The proposed activities should be clearly linked to international, regional or national conservation strategies, if possible. Does your project contribute to the objectives of an international or regional bird conservation plan or initiative? Click here for a link to some bird plans. If your project contributes to a national or local strategy, please provide the complete citation to that strategy.

  5. Additional guidance on specific activities:
    i. Habitat Protection: If your project includes habitat protection (i.e. acquisition of land or easements), only host country organizations are eligible to acquire any land interests with grant funds. Give the name of the organization that will hold title to the land interest. If your project includes land acquisition or restoration (including reforestation), give the number of hectares or acres that will be acquired or restored (explaining how many of those hectares are counted under both categories) and refer to the map under item 11. If you are acquiring conservation easements, please describe the terms of the proposed easement. Describe the rights that will be protected and activities that will be prohibited by the easement; the length of time during which the easements will be in place; the kind of organization that will hold the easement; and the type of compensation the landowner will receive. If there are laws or policies that regulate easements in the country, provide a link or name the legislation. Finally, please describe how you will monitor compliance to the terms of the easement over its lifetime.

    ii. Research and Monitoring: For all proposals that include research and monitoring, describe how the information will be used for conservation and by whom. Research and monitoring must have management implications or similar clear and direct links to conservation such as trying to determine the limiting factors to a declining population of a Neotropical migratory bird species on its wintering grounds. More competitive research and monitoring proposals will be effectively tied to adaptive management of the resource. For research, present your hypothesis and methods. Describe how the data will be collected, measured, or sampled. How will your results improve the conservation of the species? How long will the research take to achieve useful results that could improve conservation? For monitoring, describe how the monitoring directly targets priorities for migratory bird conservation and management. What is the management question that you want answered by your monitoring data? How are you influencing management decisions in the immediate future with the monitoring information? How will monitoring results or products get to local managers? How will the data you collect provide answers? Are the resource managers cooperating in the monitoring effort and are they able to make changes in their management activities based on the results? 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). Data generated through monitoring and research should be made available to the conservation community to contribute to our greater understanding of Neotropical migratory bird conservation, if you cannot make this information available you must let us know in the proposal.

    iii. Capacity Building: Capacity building is an important and valued conservation action for the NMBCA program and we encourage projects that improve the capabilities of our partners and their organizations to deliver Neotropical migratory bird conservation across the Western Hemisphere. However, if your project includes capacity building, you should show how it is directly related to a Neotropical migratory bird conservation effort or research and monitoring initiative.

  6. Relation to Previous Phases: If there were previous phases of your project (or previous projects in the same project area), funded by NMBCA you must provide a description of the outcomes and results of the previous phases. Describe your progress during earlier phases and how the proposed activities will build on previous achievements and knowledge, including prior projects that may not yet be completed. Explain how the proposed activities are additive or complementary to your previous projects.

  7. Selection Criteria: For more guidance on how to increase the competitiveness of your proposal, refer to our Selection Criteria page.

4. Local Participation

Describe how you will ensure adequate local public participation in project development and implementation. Involvement of local organizations, communities and people is strongly encouraged. More competitive projects involve local organizations and/or communities in the project development.  Please describe your organization’s relationship with local entities. How long have you worked with them and in what capacity? What were the local results?

5. Agency Consultation

Clearly state that the project will be implemented in consultation with relevant wildlife management authorities and other appropriate government officials with jurisdiction over the resources addressed by the project. This consultation is an important component of your project. Describe how your activities are coordinated with or communicated to decision-makers and management authorities, in particular governmental authorities. For land acquisition projects outside of the United States, the applicant must provide documentation of this consultation in a separate document from the proposal, preferably a letter from the appropriate governmental agency recognizing and supporting the project and the land acquisition.

6. Historical and Cultural Resources

  1. Explain whether your project involves activities that may disturb archaeological, historic or cultural sites? Briefly describe the type and maximum depth of earth moving activities, particularly if it is a restoration project, this includes reforestation.

  2. Explain how the project will be sensitive to and preserve any important archaeological, cultural or historic resources and complies with applicable laws. In the USA, this includes complying with the National Historic Preservation Act.

  3. State whether the project affects a property that is on the World Heritage List or a national register of historic places.

7. Sustainability

  1. Describe how the project will promote sustainable, effective, long-term programs to conserve Neotropical migratory birds. Explain how the organizations involved will continue project-related activities after the NMBCA funding ends. How will you achieve long-term financial stability for the project?  For instance, are endowment funds developed or being developed to support conservation in the project area?

  2. Name the relevant governmental management authorities and explain how they are involved. We encourage submission of letters of support from appropriate federal/state/local governmental agencies.

8. Other Information

Provide any other information that you think will be helpful in evaluating the proposal. You may want to address any of the 13 selection criteria not addressed in other sections.

9. Evaluation

  1. Describe how the project activities will be evaluated. How will you determine whether your project was successful? What indicators of success have you identified for each of the objectives stated above? How will you measure them? How will you determine and measure the impact of your activities on Neotropical migratory birds? What longer term outcomes (goals) will be measured? Describe what pre-project assessment you have conducted or will conduct to determine the baseline from which to evaluate your progress.

  2. List the outputs, products or deliverables (from your objectives and activities) that will result from your project (grant and match funded activities) and will be completed by the end of the grant period. We recommend using a table that shows in column 1, the objectives; in column 2, the desired outcomes under each objective; and in column 3, the deliverables from the activities leading to the desired outcome (for example the number of acres acquired, or the number of acres of desired habitat restored for a target bird species).

  3. For pilot program species the evaluation component must show how you will measure the impact of the proposed actions to demonstrate that you are achieving the measurable targets identified for the pilot program species.

10. Budget

  1. Include an itemized budget table within the text of the proposal (not in a separate file), with one column for NMBCA funding and an additional column for each partner’s contribution. The budget should clearly lay out budget items and costs in enough detail and with enough explanation to determine what is needed to achieve the project objectives and show that they are reasonably priced. You should briefly explain how you determined the cost for each item. Describe the activities funded with matching contributions (eligible partner funds) in enough detail to allow reviewers to determine how they relate to the Neotropical migratory bird conservation priorities of your project. Budgets that do not show such detail for both grant and match activities will be less competitive or may be found ineligible. If necessary, you should use footnotes to explain items or a budget justification section following the budget. Budget justifications should explain all requested budget items, should demonstrate a clear connection to project activities and should explain how the line item amounts were determined. Organize budget items under subheadings for each of the “eligible activities” (see section 1.q. above) and give the subtotals for each “eligible activity”. Prepare the budget in USA dollars and round all figures to the nearest dollar (do not use cents). Check that all subtotals add up correctly; miscalculations may cause the proposal to be ineligible.  A good budget format is shown here.

  2. Partner contributions (“match”) that are not of Federal origin must exceed the amount requested by at least 3:1 to be eligible for funding. Proposals with insufficient match are ineligible. If funded, you must deliver the entire committed match, even if it exceeds the 3:1 minimum. Indicate in the budget table whether the contributions are cash or in-kind. Funds from USA Federal sources, which are not eligible as match but are necessary for the project, may be listed in a separate column and labeled “non-match”.

  3. Projects occurring in multiple countries must clearly indicate how much grant funding will be going to activities in each country. An effective way to depict this is to break down activities by country and partner. All activities taking place in the United States and Canada must clearly have at least a 3:1 (match:grant) match in cash to be eligible for funding. Please see the definition of cash match in the application instructions.

  4. More competitive proposals generally request overhead or administrative costs below 10%, or 20%, of the grant request. These costs must be directly attributable to the project. Exception: If your organization has an officially negotiated indirect cost rate agreement with a US federal agency (your “cognizant” agency), you may use your negotiated indirect rate. However, having an overhead cost that is lower than the negotiated cost rate may make your proposal more competitive.

  5. Personnel salary costs should be well documented and include a baseline salary figure and the estimate of time (percent) (person-month per year) to be directly charged to the project. Proposals will be more competitive if they have operational/coordination costs at 25% or less of the grant request. Each proposal’s operational/coordination costs will be evaluated based upon their relative importance to the conservation objectives and impacts of the proposal.  When more than 25% of the grant request will be spent on these costs, explain and justify the need for such high operational/coordination expenses. For example, a regional partnership that has yet to get established or is in the initial stages of development will not be penalized for more extensive operational funding if it demonstrates a reasonable expectation of future sustainability. Operational/coordination costs include salaries or fees for directors, project officers, project managers, consultants, coordinators, analysts and any other personnel not directly involved with on-the-ground activities.

  6. Requests for new equipment that will outlive the project period, such as new vehicles, are discouraged and may impact the competitiveness of your proposal. Used or leased vehicles, for example, may be more appropriate. New vehicle purchases must be very well justified and must be used for the project purposes even after the project has ended. When determining the value of a used vehicle you must use its value during its use on project related activities.  If the vehicle is not used 100% of the time on the project, you cannot use 100% of its current value.

  7. Requests for building construction are discouraged. Such requests may be considered only if the proposal clearly demonstrates that the building is a perpetual contribution to Neotropical migratory bird conservation.

  8. Applicants must submit letters confirming the commitment of matching funds from each contributing partner. Please see above “Should I submit partner contributions letters?” for the details to be included in the letters from each contributing partner.

11. Map

  1. Include a map of the project area, and any specific locations within that area, along with a map showing the area within the country. Place these within the text of the proposal, not in a separate file.

  2. If your project includes land acquisition (including easements or conservation agreements), restoration (including reforestation), or any other activity (e.g., law enforcement, training) that affects a specific area (e.g., national park, private reserve), show the polygons (outlines) of each specific area (tract) that will be acquired or restored (if known).

  3. Please provide a GIS shapefile of your project area, include this attached to your email with the copy of this proposal (we do not know if these files can be uploaded to  We suggest creating a .kmz shapefile using Google Earth, if you do not have your own GIS software.  If funded, a map and GIS shapefiles showing the affected polygons will be required as an annex to your final report.

12. For Proposals with Activities Located in the United States

Address the following additional questions in your proposal application, if not addressed above:

  1. How does the project contribute to the goals, objectives, and recommendations in the appropriate Bird Conservation Plans (see How are the proposed activities tied to the conservation designs of the relevant migratory bird joint venture? You do not need to explain basic bird conservation here; instead, show why your activities are important now and the threats that they will mitigate. How will they further the objectives of the Joint Venture or Bird Conservation Plan?

  2. List any endangered or threatened species (listed on the Endangered Species List) that will be impacted by your project.

13. Other current and pending support to your organization

  1. Current support: List all project support that your organization (or partner organizations) is receiving currently, from all sources (Federal, State, local or foreign government agencies, public or private foundations, industrial or other) that involves the Project Officer and other key individuals participating in the proposed NMBCA project (see section 2).   You must include support for the proposed NMBCA project and all other projects or activities requiring a portion of time of the Project Officer and other key individuals participating in the project (see section 2) even if they receive no salary from the NMBCA project(s). For each funding line, list the project title, the total award amount for the entire award period covered (including indirect costs) as well as the number of person-months per year to be devoted to the project by the Project Officer or other key individuals, regardless of source of support.

  2. Pending support: Provide similar information for all proposals already submitted or submitted concurrently to other possible sponsors, including other programs or offices of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, such as the Division of International Conservation.

  3. Previous phase support: If the proposal you are submitting now to NMBCA was funded previously by a source other than NMBCA, similar information must be furnished for the most recent funding period.

14. Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424)

All applicants must submit the "Application for Federal Assistance", Standard Form (SF) 424, and, in addition, either SF 424B or 424D (see The signature must be that of the person who is fiscally responsible for the project.

If you apply through, these forms are created automatically in that submission process and you do not need to forward a separate copy.  However, if you are unable to apply through, you must add these forms to the Adobe .pdf file of their NMBCA proposal and email this single .pdf file to (These forms do not count toward the proposal’s 12-page limit.)

OMB Control No. 1018‐0100
Expires: 01/31/2015
PERWORK REDUCTION ACT STATEMENT: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501), please note the following. This information collection is authorized by the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) (16 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.). Your response is required to obtain or retain a benefit in the form of a grant. We estimate that it will take approximately 62 hours to prepare an application, including time to review instructions, gather and maintain data, and complete and review the proposal. An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget control number. OMB has reviewed and approved this information collection and assigned OMB Control Number 1018-0100. You may submit comments on any aspect of this information collection, including the accuracy of the estimated burden hours and suggestions to reduce this burden. Send your comments to: Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203.

Proposal Instructions

How to Apply

Selection Criteria

Projects in Your Region

Project Summaries


Got Ideas?

Like Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter