Request for Proposals

Request for Proposals
Technical Study of Forests in Maryland


The Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Planning, the Department of Agriculture, and the Chesapeake Bay Program,  was directed by the 2019 Maryland General Assembly (Senate Bill 729) to conduct a technical study to review changes in forest cover and tree canopy in the State and provide a report of the findings. To accomplish this objective, the Hughes Center seeks proposals that will address the following objectives and lead to outcomes described below.

The Objectives/Priorities

1)     Gather and assimilate the available data related to the identified areas for the technical study;

2)     Analyze the data and provide a report on the findings to inform future decisions regarding the state’s future efforts in forestry matters.

Outcomes from the project will include the following:

  • a survey and mapping of:  existing forest cover and tree canopy in the State and potential afforestation and reforestation locations in the State;
  • an analysis of the health and quality of forests in the State;
  • an analysis of the progress toward the State’s commitments to expand urban tree canopy acres and plant riparian forest buffers under the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement;
  • an analysis of observed and projected changes in land cover and the amount of forest cover in the State due to development or other causes, using the Chesapeake Bay Phase 6 Model, Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool (CAST), and county and municipal forest conservation annual reports and land use plans, including the extent and nature of:
    • mitigation activities involving existing forest conserved, tree planting, reforestation, or afforestation under the Forest Conservation Act;
    • forest clearing, planting, and mitigation activity inside and outside priority funding areas and locally designated growth areas; and
    • the clearing and mitigation of forest considered to be a priority for retention and protection under 5-1607 (c) of the Natural Resources Article and in State – identified targeted ecological areas and greenways, hubs, and corridors; and the zoned density and sewer status of those areas;
  • an analysis of observed and projected changes in the amount of forest cover in the State based on:
    • relevant State or local programs involving tree planting, reforestation, or afforestation; and
    • the amount of forest preserved through federal, State, and local programs, including agricultural preservation, open space, conservation easement, and other land preservation programs;
  • a review of forest mitigation banking in the State, including:
    • capacity and location of active banks;
    • regulation of siting and creation of new banks;
    • geographic limitations on the use of mitigation banks;
    • the relationship between fee-in-lieu rates under the Forest Conservation Act and the market for forest mitigation banks; and
    • whether expanding the use of forest mitigation banks could provide water quality improvements and other beneficial results; and
  • a programmatic and funding review of federal, State, and local tree and forest planting programs such as: Marylanders Plant Tree; Lawn to Woodland; Backyard Buffers; Conservation Reserve Enhance Program; and other programs used to further TMDL Watershed Implementation Plans and MS4 permit compliance.

The Hughes Center has identified many of the source(s) of the needed data and will provide that information.

The final format in which the technical study findings are presented has yet to be determined. Based on the suggested needs of the stakeholders, the technical study may be written; written and web-based; or entirely web-based.

Upon conclusion of the work, the information will be presented to Senate Bill 729 sponsors and stakeholders.

The Opportunity

The Hughes Center will fund an entity up to $90,000 to achieve the assimilation of data, analysis, and completion of the technical study prior to December 31, 2020. The Hughes Center does not fund overhead costs. Much of the information has been gathered and the Hughes Center will provide all data and data point contact information in the Center’s possession. All qualified proposals will be considered. The Center encourages proposals that engage in collaboration among organizations, agencies and institutions.

The Proposal Submission Process

Proposal Due Date: October 16, 2020

Who Can Apply: Professionals and academics with credentials supporting their ability to complete this project. Collaboration among individuals and organizations is strongly encouraged.

Researchers with outstanding reports due to the Hughes Center are ineligible.

Review Process

Hughes Center Board members, staff and Ad hoc reviewers with expertise in the subject area evaluate proposals.

Proposal review and announcement of final project selection will be no later than October 30, 2020.

The following criteria will be evaluated:

  • Does the proposal address the requirements of Senate Bill 729 as outlined in the RFP?
  • Is the design to implement and execute the gathering of data, analysis, and statement of the findings well thought out with appropriate methods?
  • Do the investigators have the experience and skills to perform the work?
  • Does the budget seem plausible and likely to achieve the desired outcomes?
  • Will the investigators be able to accomplish the project within the time period?
  • Are the collaborations described in this project appropriate?

Proposal Format

  1. Cover Sheet: 1 – page
    1. Proposal Title
    2. Names and Contact Information of Principal Investigator and all participants
    3. Date of Submittal
  2. Proposal: Maximum of 5 pages
    1. Clear statement of the understanding and need of the project
    2. Discussion of the methods that will be used to obtain and analyze the data
    3. Discussion of the tools that will be used to share the findings in a useful manner to stakeholders
    4. Potential limitations in completing the project
    5. Explanation of process to collaborate with parties
  3. Qualifications of the Participants
    1. Brief bio of the project participants with highlights of the skills and expertise that will bring value to this project
    2. Current and Pending Support information on other grant funded projects that are related to this proposal should include
      1. PI and co-PI names and project title
      2. Supporting Agency
      3. Amount of Award
      4. Beginning and ending dates of grant award
  4. Timeline of the Project
    1. Provide specific dates when deliverables will be available to the Center
    2. Include information regarding the outreach efforts to stakeholders which may extend beyond the grant time period
  5. Budget: Include a chart and description of each category in the chart
    1. The budget should include the following categories:
      1. Salaries
      2. Fringe benefits
      3. Subcontractors’ salaries/fringe benefits
      4. Equipment/materials/supplies
      5. Travel
      6. Potential established matches (either monetary or in-kind) and the sources and timelines
      7. Total amount of the project and total amount requested from the Hughes Center

Matching funds are not required. However, if your organization is providing resources, or has conducted significant work that contributes to the proposed project, these are best described in the proposal text.

All inquiries regarding the RFP should be directed to:

Dr. Kate Everts
Director of the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology | 410-827-8056.