Funding Opportunities


Short Description:

This research project focuses on integrating long term datasets with next generation ecological models to quantify ecological response in aquatic systems. The ERDC seeks applications for integrating long-term environmental datasets into the next generation of integrated ecological models.   


Currently, the next generation of integrated ecological models have been parameterized with short-term (<3 years) field or literature data, and their predictive capacity over a longer term is limited, which severely constrains the practical applicability of these models. In particular, aquatic ecosystems are tightly coupled systems driven by complex, system-level interactions among physical, ecological, and social factors. In order to develop comprehensive management plans for aquatic ecosystems, ecological models must be able to accurately forecast how these integrated systems will respond to the changes in the physical and environmental system drivers. Without coupling long-term datasets to next generation models, there is a limited ability to make accurate forecasts. Parameterizing next generation process-based ecological models with long-term datasets that explicitly link physical and ecological processes to changes in species dynamics will dramatically increase the predictive accuracy. Resource managers will be able to use these models to create sustainable long-term strategies for public-benefitting activities including forecasting how ecological response will change in uncertain futures, maintaining and improving infrastructure, managing flood risk and coastal storm damage, among others. The university partner will identify knowledge gaps in existing long-term datasets, will develop and execute experimental designs for addressing those knowledge gaps, and will assist with development and parameterization of these next generation integrated ecological models. These studies will provide critical data and parameters for next generation integrated ecological models that can be used to predict ecological response to various natural and anthropological events.  

Program Description/Objective:

This research will focus on the following objectives 

  1. Develop a robust, multidisciplinary, field-based experimental design that can quantify the physical and environmental drivers at multiple scales within aquatic systems (e.g., surface and hyporheic).
  2. Quantification of small-scale patterns in ecological response for invasive and native benthic communities to quantify how changes in in-stream flow affect spatial distributions.
  3. Develop streamflow studies to quantify how differences in climatic disturbance (e.g., flood and drought) impact ecological response for invasive and native benthic communities across temporal scales.
  4. Develop system-scale experiments to quantify connectivity, movement, community dynamics, intra- and inter-specific interactions, and methods for using these data to conceptualize and parameterize ecological models.
  5. Determine positive and negative associations among species with respect to their distribution and abundance and examine if these associations are a consequence of interactions through biological or abiotic pathways. 
  6. Quantify relationships between the hydrogeomorphology of a watershed and species distributions within the watershed.
  7. Develop parameter estimates for next generation integrated ecological models developed for quantifying ecological response.

Eligible Applicants:
This opportunity is restricted to non-federal partners of the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU). Disclosures of current and pending support made in this application may render an applicant ineligible for funding. Prior to award and throughout the period of performance, ERDC may continue to request updated continuing and pending support information, which will be reviewed and may result in discontinuation of funding.   Religious organizations are entitled to compete on equal footing with secular organizations for Federal financial assistance as described in E.O. 13798, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” 

Federal Contacts:

Questions should be directed to:

Phoebe Fuller 
Grants Specialist

Chelsea Whitten 
Grants Officer

Questions regarding should be directed to the toll-free number 1-800-518-4726 and email at

Key Dates:

Phase I announcement will be open to receive statements of interest continuously until 17:00 Central Time (CT), 15 June 2023, at which point all statements of interest must be received.

If invited to Phase II, full proposal applications will be due at 17:00 Central Time (CT), 17 July 2023.



Short Description of Funding Opportunity:

RDC seeks applications for: Technical assistance with surveys and monitoring related to threatened and endangered avian species, songbirds, and raptors along the Middle Rio Grande in coordination with USACE and the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program (MRGESCP). This project will research the effects of management, maintenance, and restoration activities on riparian habitat and species dependent on it. The MRGESCP provides a collaborative forum for scientific analysis and implementation of adaptive management. 


The USACE Albuquerque District (District) works with non-federal sponsors, including the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD), to conduct management and maintenance activities related to water conveyance, flood control, erosion control and fire risk reduction along the Middle Rio Grande in Central New Mexico. The District aims to balance ecosystem function and aquatic and riparian wildlife habitat with water management. The District is a signatory to the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program (MRGESCP), a diverse partnership of federal, state, tribal and local signatory agencies and organizations.  The MRGESCP mission is a collaborative and science-based approach to protect and improve the status of endangered species along the middle portion of the Rio Grande watershed of New Mexico, while simultaneously protecting existing and future regional water uses. The Middle Rio Grande and adjacent bosque/riparian habitat provide valuable habitat for a rich assemblage of wildlife including the following threatened and endangered species:

•    Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

•    Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

•    Rio Grande Silvery Minnow

•    New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse

•    Pecos Sunflower  

Water management and maintenance activities affect riparian habitat and the species that depend on it. In addition, drought, wildfires, invasive species, changing climate and hydrologic conditions, and proximity to urbanized areas impact the riparian ecosystem. There is a need to survey for and monitor sensitive species and their habitat and to conduct scientific studies to inform design and implementation of District management, maintenance, and restoration activities. Monitoring the abundance and diversity of songbird populations can also provide valuable information about riparian habitat quality for sensitive species, especially when threatened and endangered species may be infrequently detected. Since December 2003, the District has conducted avian monitoring at sites of interest to avoid impacts to target species, to evaluate habitat utilization following management and restoration efforts, and to contribute information to population monitoring and research efforts.  

Program Description/Objective:

Work under this program will support ongoing research, monitoring, management, maintenance, and restoration activities by the USACE Albuquerque District within the Middle Rio Grande bosque and will continue to support collaboration with the MRGESCP.   Objectives include: providing technical assistance; conducting surveys, monitoring and research related to threatened and endangered avian species, songbirds, and raptors; and conducting habitat monitoring.   Specific tasks include: 

•    Design of avian surveys and monitoring programs in coordination with USACE personnel and other agencies

•    Conduct southwestern willow flycatcher surveys and western yellow-billed cuckoo surveys •    Conduct songbird monitoring

•    Conduct raptor nest searches and monitoring

•    Collect habitat information

•    Maintain survey and monitoring data

•    Collect and maintain geographic data for mapping purposes

•    Analyze all data collected

•    Collaborate with other agencies/researchers working on Middle Rio Grande issues

•    Provide written reports

•    Provide monthly updates to USACE

•    Attend quarterly review meetings

•    Provide annual reports

•    Provide copies of all data to USACE

The Rio Grande and adjacent bosque provides recreational opportunities for the public and offers quality-of-life benefits by providing access to open space and natural areas. Biodiversity is also recognized as benefitting the public good. Research supported by this proposal would inform the implementation of enhanced management and conservation of river and bosque habitat, support management for threatened and endangered species and their habitat and help manage for biodiversity.   Information collected will be shared with the MRGESCP and will support coordinated management of the Rio Grande ecosystem -a public resource. Data will be made available to the public as appropriate via the MRGESCP data portal 
( and through MRGESCP publications. Making this data available will help inform activities by other agencies, organizations and public entities that conduct activities and manage resources on the Middle Rio Grande. Non-sensitive avian data collected may be submitted to eBbird to allow for sharing with our partner organizations and the general public. eBird is an online database of bird observations that provides real-time data about bird distribution and abundance. Using an established internet application allows participants to submit observations and review results via interactive database queries. eBird allows researchers, land managers, and the general public to access data and supports citizen/community science efforts. 

Materials Requested for Statement of Interest/Qualifications:

Please provide the following via e-mail attachment to:  Kisha M. Craig,  (Maximum length: 2 pages, single-spaced 12 pt. font). 

i.    Name, Organization and Contact Information

ii.    Brief Statement of Qualifications (including):

•    Biographical Sketch,

•    Relevant past projects and clients with brief descriptions of these projects,

•    Staff, faculty or students available to work on this project and their areas of expertise,

•    Any brief description of capabilities to successfully complete the project you may wish to add (e.g. equipment, laboratory facilities, greenhouse facilities, field facilities, etc.).

Note:  A proposed budget is NOT requested at this time. 

ERDC will only accept SOIs submitted on or before 03 July 2023, 12:00pm Central Time (CT).

Based on a review of the Statements of Interest received, an investigator or investigators will be invited to move to Phase II which is to prepare a full study proposal.  Statements will be evaluated based on the investigator’s specific experience and capabilities in areas related to the study requirements. 


This opportunity is restricted to non-federal partners of the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU). 


Questions should be directed to:

Kisha M. Craig 
Grants Specialist

Chelsea M. Whitten 
Grants Officer

Questions regarding should be directed to: the toll-free number 1-800-518-4726 and email at