REQUEST FOR STATEMENTS OF INTEREST
Project Title: Investigation of Alternative Plants as a Replacement of Current Airfield Vegetation Regimes (Phase One)
Responses to this Request for Statements of Interest (RSOI) will be used to identify a potential Cooperator for a project that seeks to identify airfield cover plants that are not attractive to birds and other wildlife in the southeast region of the United States (US). The project is funded by the Navy Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration program. The authority for this Cooperative Agreement is 16 U.S.C. §670c-1 (Sikes Act). Installation Bird/Animal Aircraft Strike Hazard (BASH) Instructions are a requirement of CNIC Instruction 3750.1B and associated mitigations are required for consistency and compliance with installation Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans (INRMP; OPNAVINST 5090.1E) and applicable natural resources laws and regulations.
Substantial involvement is expected between the Navy and the Cooperator when carrying out the activities specified in the scope of work and may include activities such as the Navy’s involvement in the development of survey methodology, data gathering and analysis; review of work plans, reports and all deliverables; and, providing staff time to oversee and participate in the selection of candidate plants for further testing.
This study contributes to the objectives of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CESU) network by providing usable knowledge to support informed decision making; creating and maintaining effective partnerships among the federal agencies and universities to share resources and expertise; encouraging professional development of current and future federal scientists, resource managers, and environmental leaders; and, managing federal resources effectively. In addition, this work is consistent with the Chesapeake Watershed CESU mission to provide collaborative research, technical assistance, and education that support integrated ecosystem management.
Background: The purpose of this project is to identify an improved vegetation management regime for southeast US Department of Defense (DoD) airfields. Bird strikes to aircraft on DoD airfields continue to be a major concern in terms of both cost of damage to aircraft and loss of life. Through early 2022, Navy data shows 6,871 bird/animal strikes with an associated cost of over 364 million dollars. As long as airfields are maintained as vegetated spaces that provide habitat for a variety of other species (e.g., small mammals, insects), birds will be attracted to these areas. There is no proven way to prevent all bird activity in and around airfields.
Consequently, mission impacts from bird strike are a daily occurrence and are ongoing. While all types of birds pose some level of BASH risk, data indicates that the greatest hazard is from large and medium-bodied species. Therefore, many BASH managers consider small bodied, non- flocking species as the accepted risk and preferred bird species in the airfield environment. Since some level of bird activity is unavoidable, how to manage vegetation habitats to dissuade use by large and medium-bodied species is the primary goal of the installation BASH Program.
Vegetation management on airfields is a critical component of manipulating habitat, and therefore, a tool to reduce the presence of high-risk BASH species. The current paradigm for vegetation management on military and civil airfields is to maintain grass-like vegetation in areas around the runway and the taxiways. This vegetation typically begins as monotypic turf grass plantings that deteriorate over time to a mixture of grasses and other herbaceous vegetation. Typically, this vegetation is maintained by mowing to a height of between 7-14 inches.
The current vegetation management regime has created several unintended challenges for managing BASH risk including:
This project is an investigation into potential alternative airfield plantings that break from the paradigm of planting grasses. As described above, these grasses become infested with other herbaceous plants that either directly or indirectly attract BASH hazardous species. Additionally, these grass-like vegetated airfields have a high cost to maintain. This project will identify candidate plant species that meet criteria as an elimination-process to develop the initial test group that meet the acceptance criteria. This initial group will then be tested in a controlled environment looking at additional criteria. These criteria will be designed to find a plant that could replace grasses and increase flight safety and decrease maintenance costs. If successful plant candidates are identified, then outdoor test locations will be identified for additional field trials. If one or more plant species are identified from this testing, then future funds will be requested for a full airfield planting implementation.
Purpose: The purpose of this cooperative agreement is to complete Phase One of a multiphase study which seeks to identify vegetation cover that can be established at southeast US airfields that is not attractive to birds and other wildlife. In addition to safety improvements, expected decreases in maintenance mowing will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, ultimately contributing to the Department of Defense (DoD) goal to offset greenhouse gasses that cause climate change as required in Executive Order14008 Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
Anticipated Phases for this project are as follows:
Phase One Project: Controlled Testing (Current Scope of Work)
Phase Two Project: Field Testing (Unfunded: Potential Future Modification to Scope of Work or New Award)
Phase Three Project: Implementation Phase (Unfunded: Potential Future Modification to Scope of Work or New Award)
This RSOI only includes the effort and costs involved to complete Phase One.
Description of Anticipated Work:
TASK 1 – Identify Alternative Plant Candidates:
The Cooperator will conduct a search of relevant literature to identify plants that may meet the criteria outlined below for initial controlled testing. There are two criteria levels, Primary and Secondary. To be included in Task 2, a plant must meet all the Primary Criteria. Plants can be included that do not meet the Secondary Criteria. The Cooperator will attempt to narrow selection to no more than ten plant species.
The project will focus on plants that would be successful in US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness Zones 8 and 9 in Navy Southeast Region especially focusing on Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The USDA defines the average annual extreme minimum temperatures for Zone 8 as 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 20 °F (−6.7 °C) and Zone 9 as 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).
TASK 2 – Establish and Test Greenhouse Plots:
The Cooperator will develop a Work Plan to test the Primary and Secondary criteria for Navy review and approval. The Work Plan will outline the methods and metrics that will be used to test the Primary and Secondary criteria for plants grown in a controlled location such as a greenhouse or growth chamber. Temperature, humidity, light, and moisture will be controlled to best approximate USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 and 9. The Cooperator will monitor the plants for one year in accordance with the Work Plan to provide information on the following:
Analyze monitoring and testing data to determine if any plant species that met the Primary Criteria. Narrow the selection down to the best candidates using Secondary Criteria if necessary. Select no more than four species for field-testing in Phase Two.
TASK 3 – Final Report and Meetings:
A Draft and Final Report shall be generated that provides details on results of all work, including implementation of the study design, results, discussion, and recommendations. A cost of implementation at a selected airfield will be included. The Draft Report will be sent to the Project Manager for review. Once edits and comments are received on the Draft Report from The Project Manager, the Cooperator will incorporate as needed and deliver a Final Report to the Project Manager within 90 days of receiving the draft comments.
The Cooperator shall attend (in person or virtually) a kick-off meeting to be held at Cooperator within two (2) weeks following project award. The intent of the meeting will be to verify the schedule and introduce key personnel. The Cooperator shall also participate in conference calls, up to one-hour call a month for the length of the period of performance. The intent of these calls will be to define and clarify the specific requirements associated with this project. The Cooperator shall prepare meeting minutes for all meetings, including conference calls. The Cooperator shall submit written meeting minutes, via email, to all meeting participants within seven (7) days of the meeting.
Monthly Reports. The Cooperator shall prepare and submit (via email) monthly progress reports to both the NAVFAC BASH/NR PM. Monthly progress reports shall address: (1) tasks completed during the reporting period, (2) any problems encountered during the reporting period, and (3) tasks to be completed in the next reporting period. In addition, the monthly progress report shall include the percentage of work completed to date, contract number, report date and period, project name, and client name.
Safety Plan. The Cooperator shall develop a Safety Plan to identify potential hazards associated with the scope of work and define safe work practices to eliminate or control exposure to those hazards. The Safety Plan will identify the appropriate lines of authority and site-specific responsibilities. It must include a list of emergency contacts and must outline procedures to obtain medical help and to make required notifications. If herbicides are proposed for use on Navy property, the Cooperator must obtain Navy approval prior to use. Herbicide applicators must be licensed and must follow all label instructions and safety data sheet information.
Work Plan. The Cooperator shall develop a Work Plan to test the Primary and Secondary criteria. The Work Plan will outline the experimental design, methods and metrics that will be used to test the Primary and Secondary criteria for plants grown in a controlled location such as a greenhouse or growth chamber. Temperature, humidity, light, and moisture will be controlled to best approximate USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 and 9. The Work Plan will also include a brief summary of the literature search that led to the selection of test species. Pursuant to Navy approval, the Work Plan will provide the basis of operations for the one-year testing required in Task 2.
Draft Report. The Cooperator shall prepare and submit one (1) electronic Draft Report (via email in PDF and WORD) to NAVFAC BASH/NR PM once Task 2 is completed. This report should contain typical report sections to include execute introduction, methodologies, results, discussion, and recommendations. The draft should contain preliminary results from Task 1 and 2. The NAVFAC BASH/NR PM shall provide (if there are any) the Cooperator their respective comments, suggestions, or edits within thirty (30) days from the date of submittal of the Draft Report. The Cooperator shall incorporate all comments, suggestions, or edits provided (if there are any) by NAVFAC BASH/NR PM into the Final Report unless NAVFAC BASH/NR PM is consulted and approves of non-incorporation of comment, suggestion, or edit.
Final Report. One (1) electronic copy (via email in PDF and WORD) of the Final Report shall be concurrently submitted to NAVFAC BASH/NR PM within ninety (60) days upon receipt of comments from NAVFAC BASH/NR PM on the Draft Report. An electronic copy of the Final Report (text, tables, figures, and color photos) shall be submitted in Microsoft Word and PDF. All electronic source files for tables and figures shall be labeled and submitted electronically.
Literature. The Cooperator may prepare literature publications in cooperation and partnership with the NAVFAC BASH/NR PM. This partnership will include review and edits of the publication and final approval for submittal. This publication shall follow scientific literature standards.
All documents, maps, and illustrations must be of high quality and easily reproducible on standard or color copiers. Pages intentionally left blank shall be labeled as such.
All deliverable documents and maps, charts, etc. will also be delivered in electronic format, PDF, Microsoft Office Word and in jpeg formats. Files must be delivered in electronic formats that can be altered or updated by the Government.
All databases containing raw data and all associated electronic data summary and analytical files shall be formatted in Excel, Word, or any compatible Microsoft database software and submitted to the NAVFAC BASH/NR PM electronically. Microsoft ACCESS files shall include all queries, reports, tables etc. All geospatial data developed as a part of this project shall be compatible with the Regional NAVFAC geodatabase, specifically the datum, coordinate system and projection, and adhere to the Navy’s current version of the approved GIS Data Model.
Role of Government Personnel (Government)
Role of the Cooperator
The Cooperator shall coordinate directly with the NAVFAC BASH/NR PM on this project for all technical issues and direction. The Cooperator shall assign a project manager for this project and shall advise the NAVFAC BASH/NR PM if a change of project manager is necessary during the execution of this contract.
Period of Performance:
The period of performance is anticipated to be 30 September 2025.
Points of Contact:
NAVFAC Contracting Officer Representative/Project Manager (NAVFAC BASH)
Mr. Paul Block
Senior Natural Resources Specialist (Code EV52)
CNIC/NAVFAC BASH Program Natural Resources Lead Biologist
6506 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23508
NAVFAC Natural Resources Alternative PM (NR PM)
Mr. Jeffrey DeBerry
Natural Resources Specialist (Code EV52)
6506 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk, VA 23508
Materials Requested for Statement of Interest/Qualifications:
Please provide the following via e-mail attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org (Maximum length: 7 pages, single-spaced 12 pt. font)
Review of Statements Received: Proposals will be evaluated based on the four factors listed below and cost to include the credentials of key personnel, scientific approach, reasonableness of the cost and safety plan. Evaluation factors are co-equal to each other.
Factor 1 – Credentials of Key Personnel – The Cooperator shall provide technical and scientific expertise capable of completing the study requested in this RSOI. Specific requirements for key positions are listed below.
Project Manager. This individual must have:
Technical Staff. Technical Staff must have:
The Cooperator shall include a brief Statement of Qualifications for the Project Manager and applicable Technical Staff that includes:
Factor 2 – Scientific Approach – The Cooperator shall develop a proposal addressing the proposed study methodologies. The Cooperator shall discuss their proposed approach and techniques to accomplish the objectives including use of trait-based selection algorithm designed to search plant databases. The Cooperator’s proposals will be evaluated by a team of technical and contracting personnel from NAVFAC Atlantic.
Factor 3 – Reasonableness of Cost –The Cooperator’s proposals shall be analyzed to determine whether they are balanced with respect to prices or separately priced items, and for fair and reasonable pricing. Evaluations will include an analysis to determine the Cooperator’s comprehension of the requirements of the solicitation as well as to assess the validity of the Cooperator’s approach.
Factor 4 – Technical Approach to Safety – The Cooperator shall provide a narrative describing how safety practices/procedures will be implemented to complete the proposed work. Proposals shall be analyzed to determine how the Cooperator will implement safety practices/procedures and determine the degree to which innovations are being proposed that may enhance safety on this procurement. The Government is seeking to determine that the Cooperator has demonstrated a commitment to safety and that the Cooperator plans to properly manage and implement safety procedures for itself.
Please send responses or direct questions to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic
6506 Hampton Blvd. Bldg. A
Norfolk, Virginia 23508
Timeline for Review of Statements of Interest: This Request for Statements of Interest will remain open for a period of 10 business days after posting on the CESU website. Statement of Interests will be due on 20 February 2024 by 5pm EDT.
RSOI in PDF Format
Statement of Work (SOW) in PDF Format