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Request for Quotes

The Ausable River Association (AsRA), a non-profit environmental conservation organization based in Wilmington, New York, is seeking a qualified individual to contract with on a temporary basis to provide botanical/plant ecology expertise in a project to improve our riparian restoration efforts in the Ausable River Watershed.

Project Overview

All stream banks erode to some degree; it is an ongoing process that is incremental in streams that are stable and in equilibrium. Accelerated bank erosion is a symptom of a compromised stream and causes further erosion, sedimentation, and changes in channel structure – changes that can threaten both human infrastructure and aquatic habitat. To address this cycle of degradation, AsRA and partners apply natural stream restoration techniques to repair banks and create new aquatic habitat. An important follow-up to these projects is riparian restoration, which protects the newly created restoration structures from erosion and begins the re-establishment of important terrestrial and aquatic habitats. For the past five years, AsRA has had moderate success with riparian restoration efforts. Mostly, grasses and small shrubs have flourished to varying degrees, but tree planting success lags. We have concluded that to maximize success we must have a thorough understanding of various parameters: soil types, restoration structure, species preferences and tolerances, elevation, relationship to flood flows, wetlands and more. To effectively plant riparian buffers, we need to choose plants and caring methods that will have the highest success rate in the Ausable watershed. In order to achieve this goal, we applied for grant funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to hire a subcontractor to provide biological consulting services to assist with QAPP development, lead plant identification surveys, transect and study plot design, coordination of test plot planting, design and initiate biweekly monitoring and plant care, analyze data, assess planting success, create draft riparian restoration protocol and recommendations for future riparian restoration efforts, plant lists, etc.

Task 1. QAPP development. Assist AsRA staff with test plot study design and any adjustments to the USFWS protocol. Assist with writing and editing the QAPP for LCBP. Describe quality assurance procedures that will maintain project performance using protocols laid out in the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Riparian Restoration Monitoring Protocol.

Task 2. Purchase equipment and order plants. Work in conjunction with AsRA staff to advise on tree species, size, and quantity for purchase. Review existing AsRA species lists for trees, shrubs, and conservation grass seed mix. Assist with planning project and ordering supplies, including a review of various methods to increase plant success - including but not limited to deer exclusion fencing, simple watering systems, or tube shelters – in order to determine what will create the best survivorship, order supplies as needed.

Task 3. Plant identification surveys, site reconnaissance and establishment of monitoring transects, and transect care and monitoring.

3a. Plant identification surveys. Partner with local volunteer botanists and coordinate plant identification surveys at 2-3 restoration and reference sites in the watershed to better understand plant communities in various naturally vegetated habitats. This will be modeled after a preliminary plant survey conducted in Fall 2018 at two of our previous restoration sites and one reference site. All resulting data will be included in the final report to LCBP and used in a draft protocol for riparian planting in the Ausable watershed.
3b. Site reconnaissance and establishment of monitoring transects. Next, using the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Riparian Restoration Monitoring Protocol, consultant will work with our river steward and summer intern to visit each restoration site, set up transects at established riparian restoration sites, and perform initial data collection. Monitoring transects will also be set up at the test planting in task 3c. With guidance from consultant, the river steward and summer intern will monitor the planting sites throughout the summer and collect data as per the QAPP (Task 1).
3c. Plant test plots. Consultant will use the study design created in Task 1 to initiate a test planting at the Riverlands and Dream Mile restoration sites. Visit sites to lay out planting area at least one week ahead of planting and co-lead the planting with the AsRA research associate with assistance from AsRA staff. With guidance from consultant, the river steward and summer intern will provide regular watering and care of the test planting sites throughout the summer.
3d. Final monitoring assessment and draft riparian planting protocol. The consultant will visit all sites at the end of the summer growing season (October) for final data collection, perform data analysis, and incorporate the results of the test planting, monitoring protocol, plant identification and soil surveys, and recommendations for future efforts into a draft protocol for riparian planting in the Ausable.

Task 4. Quarterly and final reporting. AsRA staff will complete quarterly reports with updates on project tasks and deliverables, submitted to LCBP in April, July, October, and December. With input from consultant, AsRA staff will complete a final report with full project summary, including plans for future years, copies of the draft protocol, plant survey data, native species list, and photographs, blog posts, and final invoices.
About AsRA

Since 1998, AsRA has been working with landowners, local, state, and federal government, NGOs, researchers, and other stakeholders to conserve the valued resources of the Ausable watershed. AsRA's conservation programs provide transferable solutions to issues that challenge many watersheds. We undertake rigorous monitoring to mitigate the effects of pollutants on aquatic life and drinking water; provide early detection, education, and outreach to reduce invasive species threats; assess the abundance of aquatic native species, such as brook trout, and work to protect their habitat; and we restore the health and balance of our streams, sustaining ecological diversity and providing flood resilience for our communities. See our website: www.ausableriver.org for more details.

How to Apply

Submit a completed quote including specific qualifications to hiring@ausableriver.org no later than NOON on May 13, 2019. Vendors interested in bidding on this project should review this entire RFQ and direct any questions on the project to the email address listed here.

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