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RCN 3.0: Coordinated Assessment of Northeastern Diamond-backed Terrapin Populations

Deadline: Thursday, June 15, 2023 - 5:00 pm

The Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA) Fish and Wildlife Diversity Technical Committee requests proposals for three separate investigations that must be completed by the end of 2027. You may submit a proposal for one, two or all three investigations described in this RFP as Job 1, Job 2, and Job 3. A regional terrapin team of state agency staff from eight northeast states will work with contractors to coordinate these Jobs. The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) will provide administrative support to NEAFWA and will administer this RFP.

Proposal Guidelines

Provide a description of your approach, timeline, and budget to achieve the components listed in the attached Scope of Work. As stated, you may submit proposals for 1, 2 or all 3 Jobs.


Budgets for each of the jobs advertised here shall not exceed the indicated pricing cap:

  • Job 1: Standardized Terrapin Population Assessments – not to exceed $50,000.
  • Job 2: Drone-based Terrapin Surveys – not to exceed $30,000.
  • Job 3: Spatial Ecology of Terrapins using Telemetry – not to exceed $60,000 per two 4-state subregions (total: $120,000).

Funding Period

April 1st, 2023 – December 31st, 2027

Matching Funds

Typically, non-federal match at a level equal to 35% of the total cost is required, however, it is expected that citizen-scientists under Job 1 will provide the match for all 3 jobs (i.e., $107,692.28). Thus, no match is required.

Timeline for Review and Decision

Submit proposals to Scot Williamson, WMI and Meghan Gilbart, WMI by 5:00 PM EDST on June 15, 2023. NEAFWA and the regional terrapin team anticipate decision making on proposals within 30 days. Please limit the narrative to four pages. Budget and supporting materials may exceed four pp. In your supporting letter, please address your capacity to address each of the major deliverables.

How Award Decisions Will Be Made

NEAFWA and the regional terrapin team will evaluate the approach contained in your proposal, including timeline and budget.

For More Information Please Contact

Jonathan McKnight, Maryland DNR and/or Scott Smith, Maryland DNR.

General Project Background

The diamond-backed terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is a northeast Regional Species of Greatest Conservation Need (RSGCN) and a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in the northeast State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP). It is found in eight states of the region (CT, DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VA), and is state-listed as threatened in MA, endangered in RI, special concern in CT, and a candidate for special concern in NJ. In a synthesis of northeast SWAPs, terrapins are one of only four RSGCN reptile species ranked High for state agency management responsibility and Very High for conservation concern. However, the quality and confidence in state data was low so additional surveys are needed to inform future risk and conservation actions.

A regional terrapin project was funded with a previous RCN 1.0 award, resulting in “The Northern Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin terrapin) in the Northeast United States: A Regional Conservation Strategy. (2016)”. However, implementation of the regional conservation plan has not begun and needs dedicated funded projects to make progress with the species’ conservation needs. Due to other species needs in other freshwater and terrestrial systems, the diamond-backed terrapin was not a focus of the RCN 2.0 turtle project and has not received Competitive SWG funding in the northeastern states. Terrapin populations are threatened by shoreline development, sea-level rise, road strikes, blue crab trap mortality, high nest predation rates, boat strikes, and collection for the global pet, food, and traditional medicine trades.

Guided by the 2016 RCN-funded Terrapin Conservation Strategy, this project will identify, assess, maintain, and improve populations of terrapins throughout their northeast range through implementation of high-priority conservation actions. Specifically, applicants will develop a data portal for regionwide data from standardized headcount surveys conducted by citizen-scientists, identify state and regionally important conservation areas for terrapins, compare headcount surveys to drone surveys, and conduct terrapin spatial ecology studies using acoustic telemetry, VHF telemetry, and/or GPS. Information from these efforts will better guide regional terrapin management and conservation.

Collectively, the Northeastern states (through State Wildlife Grants programs) have made a nationally significant investment in Conservation Planning for at-risk turtle species. This Regional Conservation Need (RCN) project will protect the regional investment of Northeastern State Wildlife Agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.