The objectives for the use of cooperative agriculture in the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) are:
production or modification of specific cover types or growing methods that meet the life history requirements of species for which we have established objectives (e.g., waterfowl production); production
of foods for wildlife species for which we have established objectives; and/or maintenance, rehabilitation, or reestablishment of natural habitat.
Cooperative agriculture is when a person or entity conducts agricultural practices on NWRS lands in support of the Service conservation and resource management objectives and there is substantial involvement between the Service and that person or entity.
The NWRS uses cooperative agreements, known as Cooperative Agriculture Agreements (CAAs), as the legal instruments to formalize the agreement between the Service and the program participant.
The cost-sharing of a person or entity in cooperative agricultural on NWRS lands can vary depending on the needs and objectives of the particular NWRS land.
For example, the Service may provide the cooperator with the right to perform agricultural practices on NWRS land and a percentage of any resulting crop yield, as well as the ability to use Service water, equipment, and/or refuge staff.
In exchange, the cooperator may provide the Service with labor, equipment, and materials; a percentage of any resulting crop yield; and/or maintenance, rehabilitation, or reestablishment of specific habitat conditions on NWRS lands.
In addition to or instead of cost-sharing, the Service may accept bids for payment for the person or entity agriculture use (e.g.
haying or grazing) on NWRS lands in compliance with the Refuge Revenue Sharing Act.
This is a nonfinancial assistance program.
No Federal funds are obligated or awarded to program participants.
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
The program will post an annual Notice of Participation Opportunity on Grants.gov.
The annual notice will provide a link to the NWRS website where individual cooperative agricultural opportunities will be posted as they become available (https://www.fws.gov/refuges/whm/cooperativeAgriculture.html/).
Individual cooperative agriculture opportunities will also be advertised through other national, regional, and local outreach channels as determined by the Service to be appropriate.
The notice for each new opportunity will include a general description of the opportunity, the objective criteria the Service will use to evaluate applicants, the application due date, and application instructions.
Individual cooperative agriculture agreements can be approved for a period of a few months or up to a period of 5 years.
Once that period ends, the Service will determine if those same cooperative agriculture activities should continue.
If the Service will continue those same cooperative agriculture activities, a new individual cooperative agriculture opportunity will be posted on the NWRS website and made available for eligible entities to apply.
Because a CAA is not a financial assistance award, it is not subject to the regulations at 2 CFR 200 or policy in parts 515 and 516 of the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual.
CAA's issued under this Notice of Opportunity are entered into under the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service)'s CFDA (1 5. 681) under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C.
661-667e); Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C.
715); National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act (16 U.S.C.
668dd); Refuge Revenue Sharing Act (16 U.S.C.
715s); National Wildlife Refuge System Regulations, Economic Uses and Cooperative Land Management (50 CFR 2 9. 1-2); and Department of Interior Policy, 505 Departmental Manual (DM) 2, Procurement Contracts, Grant and Cooperative Agreements.