Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
Request for Proposals: Workshop Facilitator, Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan
Proposals due August 30, 2019
The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) seeks proposals for a facilitator (or facilitator team) to execute two workshops as recommended in the Potomac Basin Comprehensive Water Resources Plan. The work described in this RFP is expected to begin no later than November 1, 2019 and conclude no later than May 29, 2020.
The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) developed a basin-wide comprehensive water resources plan in close collaboration with basin stakeholders. The plan was approved by the Commission in June 2018. The plan builds on existing state and local planning efforts and focuses on issues of interstate and/or basin-wide significance. The plan identifies five challenge areas; namely, ensuring sustainable water uses and supplies; protecting and improving water quality; managing land use for sustainability; and protecting ecological health. Recommendations for action are included under each challenge area, with specific 2-year and 5-year milestones.
One overarching recommendation from the plan (see Section 3.2.1) is to develop an inventory of roles, responsibilities, and areas of authority and discuss how effectively current programs and activities are being carried out. Specifically, the plan states that:
There are many organizations and individuals acting in support of the comprehensive plan’s overall vision, either explicitly or implicitly. There are likely so many ongoing programs and activities that it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what…To this end, this recommendation includes the following three parts: 1) develop an inventory of roles, responsibilities, and authorities; 2) define specific water criteria for which to compare progress related to current programs and activities; and 3) define subsequent planning efforts to evaluate progress and gaps in activities.
To this end, ICPRB is seeking a skilled water resources facilitator to lead two workshops, one in person and one via webinar in spring 2020. The one-day workshop will be held in Rockville, Maryland at ICPRB’s office building and will cover the water quality, water use and availability, and ecological health areas. To encourage participation by local decision-makers, the land use workshop will be held via a half-day (or less) webinar.
Participants are expected to include federal, state, and local government agencies; non-profit organizations; interested citizens; and water utilities to name a few. Participants will be invited based on experience with the topic areas. An emphasis will be placed on ensuring a wide range of perspectives and interests are present.
The tasks of the selected facilitator include pre-workshop preparations, facilitation of the two workshops, and preparation of a report. Specifically, the facilitator will:
- Participate in up to four preparatory teleconferences with ICPRB staff
- Coordinate with ICPRB staff to identify appropriate timing for the workshops
- Facilitate the workshops to ensure timely completion of the milestone, as described in Section 3.2.1 and Section 5.1 of the comprehensive plan
- Write a final report describing the facilitated process, including the presentation of results (the inventory of roles, responsibilities, and authorities; suggested metrics for evaluating progress; and identified next steps as described above)
ICPRB staff will be responsible for the following tasks:
- Work closely with the facilitator to develop pre-meeting materials
- Send Doodle polls to prospective participants (if needed), send meeting invitations, and manage RSVPs
- Reserve meeting space and arrange for food/drinks
- Actively participate in the workshops to serve as a technical and planning resource
The facilitator is expected to have the following skills:
- Facilitate meetings of diverse stakeholder groups
- Communicate effectively, orally and in writing
- Encourage meeting dialog, enhancing each participant’s ability to contribute to the process and outcomes
- Understand physical processes and management challenges related to water resources
- Meeting planning and logistics (to advise ICPRB on meeting planning and logistics for successful outcomes)
To be considered under this RFP, please submit a proposal that includes cost and technical details to Director, Administration via email (email@example.com) by August 30, 2019. The proposal should not exceed 10 pages in length and should include the following sections:
- Introduction: Provide sufficient introduction to demonstrate an understanding of the tasks described above
- Vision: Include a description of individual facilitation style and philosophy as well as the steps envisioned to complete the described facilitator tasks
- Qualifications: Identify each team member and describe current and previous experiences that demonstrate the required skills listed above and describe why those experiences would help accomplish this project’s objectives
- Cost: Provide a detailed cost estimate for the activities as described
The proposal will be evaluated on the qualifications and experience of team members, the approach that the proposal identifies, the ability to achieve the stated goals, and cost. The decision will be based on best value. The award is contingent on fund availability.
Questions about this RFP can be submitted to Associate Director, Water Resources via email.
Questions and Answers
ICPRB has received a number of questions regarding the RFP. Answers to these questions can be found in italics below. Similar questions have been combined for the sake of brevity. The list will be updated periodically as additional questions are received.
- Is there flexibility in responding to the proposed scope and tasks – that is, would it be possible to suggest changes to the timing for and use of the workshops, and/or suggest additional upfront preparation activities? Yes; however, the stated goals for the workshops are a part of the comprehensive plan and will not change.
- Is the ICPRB required to take the lowest price bidder, or are you able to select the proposal you see as strongest, and negotiate changes in scope and price to meet your needs? ICPRB will select a facilitator based on the qualifications and experience of team members, the approach that the proposal identifies, the ability to achieve the stated goals, and cost. The decision will be based on best value, not necessarily the lowest price bidder.
- With regards to the in-person workshop and webinar workshop, is it expected that these will take place on consecutive days or will there be several days or weeks in between them? We are open to suggestions from the facilitator(s). It is not necessary for the workshops to be held on consecutive days.
- With regards to the in-person workshop, will ICPRB pay for any room reservation and catering costs it arranges or should the proposer include that as a cost reimbursable expense in the proposal? ICPRB will cover the cost of the room reservation and catering.
- With regards to the webinar, does ICPRB expect that the facilitator will be at ICPRB’s office building in Rockville, Maryland while facilitating it? We are open to suggestions from the facilitator(s).
- With regards to the webinar, is there a specific webinar platform that ICPRB plans to use or should the facilitator suggest and provide a platform for use? A webinar platform has not yet been selected. We are open to suggestions from the facilitator(s).
- Does the 10-page proposal length include attachments, or can the proposer attach resumes outside of the 10-page limit? Resumes can be attached separately, outside of the 10-page limit.
- Approximately how many participants are you expecting will attendthe in-person workshop? Less than 40 people.
- Do you anticipate different sets of participants at the in-person workshop with expertise in water quality, water use and availability, and ecological health (and therefore more detailed conversations about these topics could occur in small groups) or is there likely to be significant overlap in the expertise of the participants, necessitating that they all discuss all three areas in-depth? The workshop could be envisioned as one or multiple tracks.
- Approximately how many participants are you expecting will attend the webinar? Less than 100 people.
- To what extent would the facilitator participate in determining who to invite to the workshop and webinar? ICPRB will develop the invitation lists and will work to encourage participation by key stakeholders; however, facilitator review and input is welcome.
- Is there any guidance regarding the expected budget range for this contract? No guidance is being offered with respect to the expected budget. Applicants may include a menu of potential services with associated cost breakdowns to justify proposed budget. Please note that this project is being funded with federal dollars and is subject to all federal rules.
- We gather from the RFP that during these workshops, the ICPRB would like to 1) develop an inventory of roles, responsibilities, and authorities; 2) define specific water criteria to use to compare progress related to current programs and activities; and 3) define subsequent planning efforts to evaluate progress and gaps in activities in the context of water quality, water use and availability, ecological health areas, and land use. Particularly I would like some precision on the terms in bold above. For example, should authorities be understood as areas of authority (ie. expertise or regulatory responsibilities) or legal entities (ie. a municipal water authority)? Yes, “authorities” are areas of authority. The purpose of the inventory of roles, responsibilities, and areas of authority is to develop an understanding of who is currently doing what in the basin. Another term for “criteria” is metrics. That is, what metric(s) should be used to measure progress? The final item (#3 above) attempts to find the gaps. Specifically, what’s not already being done that should be?
- One of the deliverables is “a final report describing the facilitated process, including the presentation of results (the inventory of roles, responsibilities, and authorities; suggested metrics for evaluating progress; and identified next steps as described above)”. Would this report and the inventory be a product of only the workshops or would additional research be required of the facilitator? Additional research is not expected of the facilitator. If additional research is deemed necessary during the workshop, this could be listed as a next step (or similar) in the facilitator’s report.
 On-the-ground land management in the Potomac basin is carried out at the local level.