The Corporation for the Conservation of the San Juan Bay Estuary, /Estuario, is looking to engage a professional consultant(s) to conduct a needs study to identify the perceptions of public and stakeholders as to the San Juan Bay Estuary (SJBE) estuary, its value, resource management, environmental protection and improvement, and develop a proposal for a strategic communication plan that will promote greater public awareness and knowledge about the SJBE, the Estuario’s projects, and in the long-term, produce greater interest in actively protecting and conserving the SJBE.
A mandatory Informational Meeting will take place on February 10, 2023 in order to broaden the potential contractor’s understanding and knowledge on the Program’s goals, project site and needs.
II. ABOUT ESTUARIO
The Corporation for the Conservation of the San Juan Bay Estuary (CCSJBE) is the not-for-profit entity incorporated in 2005 with fiduciary responsibility for the San Juan Bay Estuary Program, Estuario. The Estuario is responsible for restoring and conserving the quality of the natural waters of the San Juan Bay Estuary system and its watershed as a sustainable axis of social and economic development. Established in 1994, Estuario is the only tropical and non-continental location within the National Estuary Program (NEP) under Section 320 of the Clean Water Act. In the mid to late 90s, Estuario’s Management Conference oversaw one of the largest public engagement initiatives ever undertaken in Puerto Rico to develop our Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), required as part of the NEP. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Estuario’s CCMP, and in 2016, its first update.
Estuario’s success can be largely attributed to our integrated, multisectoral and community-led approach to restoring water quality. Estuario recognizes that water quality restoration requires making significant investments and coordinated collaboration between stakeholders at all levels and across all sectors for a sustained amount of time, sometimes decades. In order to ensure the effectiveness, longevity, and sustainability of our efforts to restore and conserve water quality, we put communities at the center of our work. Our projects rely heavily on local partnerships.
The Estuario’s study area is located in the heart of the San Juan Metropolitan region and extends throughout eight municipalities: Toa Baja, Cataño, Bayamón, San Juan, Guaynabo, Carolina, Loíza, and Trujillo Alto. The study area includes the San Juan Bay Estuary system, its related coastal and marine ecosystems, and the watershed which extends above a broad and flat coastal plain.
III. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Both traditional and social media can and should play a leading role in the generation of information and raising awareness about environmental issues. The Estuario uses its communication platform to inform the public about the SBJE ecosystem, change attitudes and values about environmental issues, and generate interest in Estuario’s goals and specific projects. In addition, the communication platform helps to inform and involve stakeholders to ensure sustained commitment, and to conduct significant outreach and communication efforts to increase brand awareness and engagement, particularly in local communities as they continue to recover from hurricanes, the pandemic, and other events. Using communication tools such as print materials, signs, press releases, media relations, editorials, photography and videography, and digital media tools such as social media, podcasts, the website, www.estuario.org, the Estuario produces informative pieces, highlights, and press releases about all its projects, activities, and initiatives, as well as educational materials, technical data, and scientific content that facilitate CCMP implementation.
In order to serve as a regional catalyst and facilitator, the Estuario will evaluate the effectiveness of its communication and outreach efforts and come up with a strategic communication plan that will cultivate both targeted communication and outreach efforts and broader participation for restoration efforts. A needs study will help Estuario understand how the public and other interest sectors think about the San Juan Bay Estuary system and their perceptions around its restoration and environmental protection. The results from the study will be used to develop a strategic communication plan for the Estuario.
IV. SCOPE OF WORK
CCSJBE is looking to engage a professional consultant(s), such as a person or a team to carry out a needs study and develop a proposal for a strategic communications plan for the Estuario. The study should be implemented so that it will be representative of the attitudes, of the various communities and stakeholders within the SJBE and incorporate feedback from the Estuario’s partners and committees. The goals of the needs study are to identify existing and emerging audiences for the Estuario’s projects, evaluate current forms of communication and identify those that resonate with these audiences in order to develop a proposal for a strategic communications plan. The needs study should comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act and should request clearance from OMB if necessary. For more information: https://pra.digital.gov/do-i-need-clearance/
After the study is complete, the consultant will develop a report with an analysis of the results of the study and use these results to develop a proposal for a strategic communications plan that will promote greater public awareness and knowledge about the SJBE, the Estuario’s projects, and in the long-term, produce greater interest in actively protecting and conserving the SJBE. The strategic communications plan should support the Estuario’s vision to maintain clean water to support thriving tropical ecosystems, healthy communities and a vibrant economy in the San Juan Bay estuary and its urbanized watershed. The plan should identify actions that will result in wider distribution of clear messages, more and deeper partnerships, and a broader perception of the value of the SBJE, the Estuario and its efforts. It should include both traditional and non-traditional media (web-pages, viral campaigns in the social media, radio and television spots, newspaper advertisements, etc.), in addition to strategies for managing crisis situations that strike the Estuary (e.g. oil spills).
As part of this process, all consultants will be expected to:
- Coordinate any and all meetings with stakeholders, the public, or Estuario team as necessary.
- Attend any and all necessary meetings with Estuario to prepare and complete all project deliverables.
- Submit regular written reports to Estuario once a month or as requested.
- Provide own assistants, as needed.
- Cover own business and travel expenses and tools, including transportation, computer, computer software and licenses, materials, etc.
- Be able to work from outside the Estuario’s premises and be on-site as needed.
- Be able to provide evidence of liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
- Be in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service, both at the federal and state level.
The following services should be completed by September 29, 2023:
- Conduct a needs study
- Final report with results and analysis from needs study
- Proposal for a strategic communications plan that supports Estuario’s mission and results in a broader perception of SJBE, Estuario, and its efforts
Publish Contract Announcement: February 1, 2023
Required Informational Meeting: February 17, 2023 at 1pm
Application Submission Deadline: February 24, 2023
Project Start Date: March 6, 2023
Project Close: September 29, 2023
Interested entities must attend the required virtual informational meeting on February 17, 2023 at 1pm, through Zoom.
Submit the application via email to [email protected] and [email protected] on or before February 24, 2023. Please include “Needs study/ strategic communications plan” with the applicant’s name in the subject line.
The application must include the following items:
- Qualifications and relevant experience/CV highlighting those with National Estuary Programs and/or non-profit organizations, including all team members qualifications
- Three references, including a summary of the scope of work performed and results achieved (ideally similar organizations and scope of work)
- Overall methodology and/or philosophy that will be implemented to carry out the project
- Detailed budget that identifies all expenses including materials/supplies/equipment specifications, quantities, and any other items.
- Copy of the Department of State certification to do business in Puerto Rico (if applicable)
- Certification of compliance with all federal and state laws to conduct business in Puerto Rico (if applicable)
- Certificate of good standing with the Internal Revenue Service
Applicants must comply with all deadlines. No exceptions will be granted. Failure to comply with the requirements stated in this contract announcement may result in disqualification.
The Estuario team will evaluate each application received according to the criteria described below.
In order of importance, the following criteria will be considered during the evaluation process:
- Experience and history of performance on similar projects, regarding such factors as quality of work, cost control, contractor accessibility, and ability to meet schedule.
- Comprehensiveness, conciseness, clarity, thoroughness, and professional quality of presentation
- Proposed costs
- Ability to complete project in the stated time period
- Qualifications of team members, as demonstrated by experience, education, and potential project role.
At a minimum, Estuario is seeking professional services with:
- Experience in developing strategic communication plans, preferably for similar organizations
- Outstanding communication skills, including culturally-competent stakeholder and community engagement and facilitation skills
- Proficiency in reading and writing English and Spanish
- Experience in synthesizing technical information in clear, concise language for a general audience
- Familiarity with socio-ecologically sustainable and resilient watersheds
The consultant will be selected based on responses to this RFP and the required informational meeting. Estuario provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. Minority, women-owned business enterprises and other certified minorities and small businesses are encouraged to apply.
Estuario, in its sole discretion, may change and/or extend the deadlines for the above-mentioned task, and such changes and deadlines will be communicated to all applicants that sent an interest notification.
This contract announcement does not commit Estuario to award a contract, to defray any costs incurred in the preparation of a Applicant pursuant to this contract announcement, or to procure or contract for work, and request additional information and/or clarifications.
All applications submitted in response to this application become the property of Estuario and public records, and as such may be subject to public review.
Right to Cancel
Estuario, at its sole discretion, reserves the right to cancel this RFP for any or no reason, in part or in its entirety, including but not limited to: the selection schedule, submittal date, and submittal requirements. If Estuario cancels or revises the RFP, all potential consultants will be notified in writing by Estuario.
Selection announcements, contract awards, and all data provided by Estuario shall be protected from public disclosure. consultants desiring to release information to the public must receive prior written approval from Estuario. Estuario, at its sole discretion, shall determine the release and disclosure of information related to this RFP and any final work products as a result of this.
Source of Funding: EPA Grant CE99206928