Focused Investments: Definition, Criteria, and Solicitation Approach (CORRECTION)

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Dear OWEB Partner,

At their January Board meeting, the OWEB Board approved a draft definition, criteria, and solicitation approach for a new program within the agency – Focused Investment Partnerships. The OWEB Board will establish a process for identifying and updating a set of Focused Investment Priorities that have clear significance to the state. Within those priorities, the Board will solicit for Focused Investment Partnerships, one of several forms of focused investments.

If the new program design is approved by the OWEB Board at their July 2014 meeting, the agency will begin a process to identify Focused Investment Priorities beginning in August, 2014. The Board will subsequently solicit for Focused Investment Partnerships over the following year.

To help the agency design this program, OWEB will be holding listening sessions in all six OWEB regions in March. Below is the draft definition of a Focused Investment Partnership as well as the criteria categories and solicitation approach. Based on the definition, the listening sessions are designed to seek your feedback on the specific criteria and solicitation process the board will use to identify Focused Investment Partnerships. The general solicitation and criteria categories are outlined below.

The listening sessions will be held on the same days as OWEB’s Council Capacity public hearings. The Focused Investment listening sessions will be held in the morning and the public hearings for council capacity in the afternoon to make travel easier for participants.



March Focused Investment Listening Sessions


Region 5 - Baker City

Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 9:00am - 11:30am

Sunridge Inn


Region 6 - Pendleton

Wednesday, March 5, 2014, 9:00am - 11:30am

Pendleton Center for the Arts


Region 4 - Bend

Friday, March 7, 2014, 9:00am - 11:30am

Bend Parks and Recreation, Riverbend Community Center


Region 3 - Salem

Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:00am - 11:30am

Department of State Lands, Land Board Room


Region 2 - White City

Wednesday, March 12, 2014, 9:00am - 11:30am

Department  of Transportation, White City


Region 1 - Bay City

 Friday, March 14, 2014, 9:00am - 11:3am

City Hall, Community Hall




          Background Materials for Focused Investment Listening Sessions

Definition. A Focused Investment Partnership is an OWEB investment that:


Addresses a Board-identified Focused Investment Priority of significance to the state;


Achieves clear and measurable ecological outcomes;


Is implemented by a high-functioning partnership that can leverage other resources; and


Uses integrated, results-oriented approaches as identified through the Partnership’s strategic action plan

OWEB’s Focused Investment Partnerships will be made in two categories:


For an investment with an existing Strategic Action Plan that is ready for implementation, an initial Focused Investment will made by OWEB for a defined dollar amount over a limited time.   Partners can apply to renew funding after the initial investment.


The Board will also provide two-year funding for partnerships who are prospective FIP applicants to strengthen their capacity and to strengthen Strategic Action Plans for a Focused Investment priority.

Focused Investment Partnership Criteria Categories. Focused Investment Partnerships will have both limited funding and duration. As such, groups selected for a Focused Investment Partnership will need to justify that their proposals meet a high standard of achievement. Board investments will be determined within the following criteria categories:

Significant, clear and measurable ecological outcomes that solve a set of natural resource challenges that have clear significance to the state. Outcomes must be clearly defined to ensure they are achievable given resources and constraints. Outcomes must include metrics, milestones and established benchmarks for success.

The applicants must clearly demonstrate the partners involved are necessary and sufficient to implement the strategic action plan. Partners must have a defined relationship that clearly describes the roles and responsibilities of each partner. Partners must have demonstrated capacity to take on their identified roles and operate under a common vision. The partnership is synergistic, and describes the capacity necessary to implement conservation work at a scale larger than a single project. The partnership must have capacity at the scale necessary to realistically accomplish the identified ecological outcomes. The partnership must also leverage OWEB funding with other resources. This may be achieved by recruiting funding partners, or by accessing other resources critical to implementation.

The partners must have an existing strategic action plan that employs integrated, results-oriented approaches. The strategic action plan will clearly define the measurable ecological outcomes as identified above and include adaptive management. It will clearly articulate achievable goals, an identified geography and a realistic scale and time period. The adaptive management approach will include monitoring procedures to evaluate the success of goals and objectives described in the Strategic Action Plan.

Based on the limitations of OWEB funding requested and length of the investment, the strategic action plan must be realistic in terms of conservation impact, outcomes, partnerships and effectiveness monitoring.

OWEB Board's Proposed Solicitation Approach. Over the next six to nine months, OWEB will develop three solicitation processes for the Focused Investment Partnership solicitation as well as associated rigorous criteria for the Focused Investment Partnerships Program. The three processes include:


A Board process for identifying and updating a set of Focused Investment Priorities that have clear significance to the state, drawing from proposals by groups, organizations, agencies, individuals, OWEB, the Governor's office, and others.  Proposed priorities should be based on sources such as the state's Conservation Strategy, the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, Governor’s priorities, the Agricultural Water Quality Program, the Integrated Water Resources Strategy, etc.

(2) A process for selecting among proposals for investments up to two years that support existing partnerships to: 

Enhance or strengthen a strategic action plan for a Focused Investment Priority; and/or


 Strengthen the capacity of the existing, high-functioning partnerships. Applications must:


Identify which Focused Investment Priority they will be addressing, 


Demonstrate a high potential to meet the Focused Investment criteria in the future, and 


Have clearly identified how this funding will help them achieve the steps to meet those criteria.  



Participation in this program does not result in a guaranteed Focused Investment from OWEB.  


A process for evaluating applications for Focused Investment Partnerships funding, in which applicants must:


Identify the Focused Investment Priority the proposal addresses,


Identify the specific Ecological Outcomes addressing (a);


Clearly show those outcomes are within each organization’s current mission and scope;


Demonstrate that the partners collectively bring a strong track record of conservation achievement;


Demonstrate they have formed a productive partnership; and


 Have a strategic action plan that is ready for implementation.  


If you have any questions in advance of the sessions, please contact Meta Loftsgaarden, Deputy Director (