REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) – DEVELOPMENT OF A WATERSHED ECOSYSTEMS SERVICES INDEX & HEALTH INDICATOR FOR THE SAN JUAN BAY ESTUARY

  1. INTRODUCTION

The San Juan Bay Estuary Program, hereinafter called “Estuario”, requests proposals from qualified firms to develop a watershed index that measures and describes the conditions and health of the San Juan Bay Estuary’s watershed and provides information to evaluate environmental conditions status and trends.

A scope of work (Deliverable Components – Section V) is included to assist interested firms, hereinafter called “the Contractor”, in the preparation of a proposal for performing the implementation of the study.  The Contractor should not be limited by this general scope of work but must address all of the solutions and work products called for in this Request for Proposal (RFP).  Failure to submit information in accordance with the requirements and procedures established in this document may cause for disqualification. A Mandatory Informative Meeting will take place in order to broaden the potential Contractor’s understanding of the objectives, background and needs of the Estuario.

  1. PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Section 320 of the U.S. Clean Water Act created the National Estuary Program (NEP).  According to the law’s model, it allows the governors of coastal states with estuaries to submit these bodies of water to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The objective is that they reach the category of national importance, and can receive federal funds directed to research, draft and coordinate the implementation of a comprehensive plan for estuarine management and conservation. On April 20, 1993, the Governor of Puerto Rico signed the official designation of the San Juan Bay Estuary system as one of national importance to the United States. Then, in 1994, the San Juan Bay Estuary Program was launched. The San Juan Bay Estuary is the only tropical estuary system within the NEP outside the continental United States.  The Estuario operates as a nonprofit organization that works to protect this ecosystem and its watershed. The watershed extends throughout the San Juan metropolitan region and its eight municipalities, Bayamón, Carolina, Cataño, Guaynabo, Loíza, San Juan, Toa Baja and Trujillo Alto. The Estuario coordinates and ensures the implementation of restoration, enhancement and conservation actions established in the Compressive Conservation and Management and Plan.  

  1. PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The development of a watershed ecosystems health indicator index is expected to indicate the status and present trends regarding the health and environmental conditions of the SJBE’s ecosystems including urban forest, beaches, dunes, coral communities, seagrasses, mangroves, and freshwater wetlands. The goal is to develop an index that provides information about the status and trends of ecological, social, and economic benefits they provide the SJBE’s watershed. The Watershed Indicator Index will help as a baseline for improvements within the watershed as a response to the implementation of mitigation actions. 

The Estuario aims to develop a novel and comprehensive watershed indicator index for the San Juan Bay Estuary system that sustainably delivers a range of benefits and services to the people. However, we need to study, monitor, and improve its ecosystems to obtain the maximum flows of ecological, social, and economic benefits. Thus, the Estuario needs the development of a broad and compressive indicator index for the SJBE watershed ecosystems. The Watershed Health Indicator index is tailored to measure and integrate the health of the current ecosystem, ecosystems stressors, and resilience and how the SJBE watershed ecosystems may provide benefits and services such as coastal protection for presents and future generations.

  1. PROJECT LOCATION 

The project location is the watershed or drainage basin of the San Juan Bay Estuary, which extends above a broad, flat coastal plain and consists of 83 square miles (215 km2) of land and 14 square miles (36 km2) of water. The San Juan Bay Estuary ecosystem is comprised by the San Juan Bay and a number of smaller channels and lagoons. Some of these bodies of water include the San Antonio Canal, Condado Lagoon, San José Lagoon, Los Corozos Lagoon, Suárez Canal, Torrecilla Lagoon, and the Piñones Lagoon as well as the interconnecting Martín Peña and San Antonio Channels and the Suárez Canal (See Figure 1). Fresh water flows into the system from the creeks and rivers in the watershed, including the Puerto Nuevo River, Juan Méndez Creek, San Antón Creek, Blasina Creek, and the Malaria Canal.  During extreme flood events, fresh water is also received from the Río Grande de Loíza. Ocean water enters the system through three openings: Boca del Morro, El Boquerón at the Condado Lagoon, and Boca de Cangrejos. 

The SJBE system is also defined by small isolated creeks and canals as well as upland areas that drain into the estuary waters described above.  The watershed or drainage basin is relatively small (< 97 square miles (251 km2).  It extends above a broad, flat coastal plain and consists of 83 square miles (215 km2) of land and 14 square miles (36 km2) of water.  Parts of eight municipalities join to form the estuary’s watershed:  Toa Baja, Cataño, Bayamón, San Juan, Guaynabo, Carolina, Loíza, and Trujillo Alto.  Land uses and activities in these areas are closely linked to water quality impacts and the degradation of habitat in the estuary.

SJBE Program Study Area

Figure 1. The San Juan Bay Estuary watershed and water bodies.

  1. PROJECT SCOPE OF WORK

The Contractor will be selected based on responses to this RFP through assistance to the Mandatory Informative Meeting and the proposal document.  The Contractor will serve as a resource on scientific/technical issues and assist in the tasks described below (within the estimated timeframes). The SJBE Program’s Staff, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) will be involved in the project but, as described in the requested services, the Contractor will have lead responsibility for the detailed functions.

This action is designed to develop a Watershed Index for the San Juan Bay Estuary that will be used as a “bio indicator” of the environmental condition of the estuary. An indicator such as a Watershed Index is a critical tool use for summarizing complex information in a way that allows for data summation and public education. In guidance prepared by EPA (2008) the agency concluded “Indicators communicate information, quantify responses, and simplify information about complex data. Indicators can be a cost-effective, accurate alternative to monitoring the individual components of a system.” 

  1. REQUESTED SERVICES 

The Contractor will develop:

  • A Watershed Indicator Index that scores from 0 to 100 and represents the general health, the maximum sustainable benefits and services from the SJBE ecosystems.
  • A user-friendly model program that can be run by the SJBE staff to quantify the watershed index through time. 

  1. PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS

The Project Proposal is required to address the following items in a concise and yet

complete manner to, and, offer all the necessary information for the evaluation of your proposal:

  1. Project objectives and goals.
  2. Proposed detailed methodology.
  3. Identification of all tasks to be completed by subcontractors and a detailed budget.
  4. A list of any special skills, innovative concepts for projects and/or any cost control methods proposed for this project.
  5. If more than one individual will be involved, a description of the organization of your project team, including information of the individuals that will perform each function and their level of experience and education should be provided.  The person who will be responsible for the completion of the project need to be clearly identified. 
  6. The dates you will be able to start and finish your project, as well as a detailed time frame regarding reports, milestones and/or specific activities.
  7. Other issues or information relevant to your proposal.
  8. Copy of a certification to do business in Puerto Rico issued by the Department of State of Puerto Rico.
  9. A certification of compliance with all federal and state laws to conduct business in Puerto Rico shall be included in your proposal.
  1.  OTHER GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR SUBMITTING

 PROPOSALS TO THE PROGRAM

  1.  Proposals shall include a Statement of Qualifications; Experience of the potential Contractor in similar work, facilities, senior personnel qualifications, number and qualification of junior personnel.
  2. Budget for materials, expenses and other items must be detailed.
  3. Projects must include a reporting plan and final document.  Other documents such as brochures, graphs, posters or visual materials are encouraged.
  4. Proposals will be evaluated by an advisory committee who will make the final decision.

  1. PRE-SUBMITTAL ACTIVITIES
  2.  Informative Meeting

An informative meeting will be held on January 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in San Juan Bay Estuary Program Center located at 265 Calle San Francisco, Old San Juan.  This is a mandatory meeting for a Proposal to be accepted.  It will be the only opportunity to directly discuss and clarify with the Program’s staff any questions potential Contractors may have regarding the RFP.  

  1. Questions Concerning Request for Proposals

All questions prior to the Informative Meeting should be held until the meeting takes place so that all potential Contractors may benefit from a question and answer discussion.

  1. Revision to the Request for Proposals

The Program reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to:

  • Cancel this RFP at any time.
  • Revise the RFP prior to the date that Proposals are due.  Revisions to the

RFP shall be emailed to all potential Contractors to whom the RFP was originally distributed to and those who notified the Program in writing of their interest in                  submitting a Proposal.

  • Extend the date by which the Proposals are due.

X. SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS

For a proposal to be considered for evaluation, potential Contractors must follow the specifications below:

  1. Send the proposal by email to: jbauza@estuario.org and cortiz@estuario.org
  1. Potential Contractors must submit their proposal no later than 12:00 a.m. on February 14, 2020.   Late proposals, proposals delivered by mail or other means, or proposals from entities that did not attend the Mandatory Informative Meeting will not be accepted.  No exceptions will be granted regardless of reason or circumstance. 
  1. Failure to comply with the requirements of this RFP may result in disqualification.

XI. EVALUATION CRITERIA

Qualified potential Contractors will be short-listed and the final selection will be made by an advisory committee.  The criteria that will be used to evaluate the Proposals will be:

1.  Comprehensiveness of the proposal.

2.  The individual or firm’s experience and history of performance on similar projects, regarding such factors as quality of work, cost control, and ability to meet schedule.

3.  Adequacy of technical staff, as demonstrated by experience, education, and potential project role.

4.  The firm or individual’s understanding of the services required by the Program.

5.  Proposed costs.

6.  The organization and scheduling of the project requirements.

7.  Knowledge and ability to comply with federal procurement standards and grant regulations.

8.  The professional quality of the Project Proposal: conciseness, clarity, and thoroughness of presentation.

9.  Project Manager accessibility.

10.  Ability to complete project in a short period of time.

XII. CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The Program anticipates that the process for nominating and selecting a vendor, and awarding the contract, will be according to the following tentative schedule:

RFP Release: January 14, 2020

Informative, Final Scope and Deliverable Meeting: January 31, 2020

Proposal Due Date: February 14, 2020

Award Notification: February 28, 2020

IMPORTANT: The Contractor should be able to complete all the Deliverable Components (Section IV) for August 30, 2020

XIII. SPECIAL CONDITIONS

1. Reservations

This RFP does not commit the Estuario to award a contract, to defray any costs incurred in the preparation of a Proposal pursuant to this RFP, or to procure or contract for work.

2. Public Records

All Proposals submitted in response to this RFP become the property of the Program and public records, and as such may be subject to public review.

3. Right to Cancel

The 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: selection schedule, submittal date, and submittal requirements.  If the Estuario cancels or revises the RFP, all potential Contractors will be notified in writing by the Estuario.

4. Additional Information

The Estuario reserves the right to request additional information and/or clarifications from any or all potential Contractors to this RFP.

5. Public Information

Selection announcements, contract awards, and all data provided by the Program shall be protected from public disclosure.  Consultants desiring to release information to the public must receive prior written approval from the Estuario. The 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.

Reference: EPA (2008)