Request for Proposals (Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual Version 3.0)

River Network


Statement of Need

River Network seeks proposals from qualified individuals and consultants to update and revise River Network’s Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual (Manual) to be ready for the 50th anniversary of this landmark law in October, 2022. The consultant should be well-versed in the Clean Water Act and possess the experience and skills necessary to translate policy into an accessible format for widespread understanding and training of local community and water groups to support their application of federal law. The consultant will update our current Manual to reflect changes to the policy and implementation of the Clean Water Act while also incorporating relevant ties to current issues such as climate change, equity, and drinking water.

The expected outputs of this project include:

  1. Develop and write the update to our Manual, including but not limited to: updates to chapter narratives, case studies, references and resources, historical background, and steps to take for action. The update should find ways to integrate and highlight issues including, but not limited to: equity, climate change and drinking water protection and should provide links to existing River Network and other resources when appropriate. The final product will be an online, printable
  2. Assemble, with support from River Network, and manage a group of up to ten stakeholders to guide the updates and provide review and
  3. Coordinate with River Network’s graphic designer to suggest incorporation of relevant and impactful graphics for the

The outcomes of this project include:

  1. Equip local community and water groups with a resource that provides them with the information and understanding necessary to effectively and equitably apply and leverage the Clean Water Act for healthier rivers, streams, and
  2. Inform groups of the intersections between the Clean Water Act and climate change, equity, drinking water, and other relevant and topical issues and steps to approach these issues to address problems in their communities and
  3. Create a lasting resource for groups and individuals to refer to and provide sufficient substance to inform levels of understanding from beginner to advanced.

Additional Background

As we approach the 50th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act in 2022, River Network plans to celebrate the milestone of this landmark legislation and mark our continued resolve to protect waterways across our country with an update and rerelease of our transformational Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual. River Network first developed the Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual – a user-friendly guide to the Clean Water Act – in 1998, later updating and reissuing it in 2005.

Over the two decades since its original publication, this tool has galvanized local groups, grassroots advocates and diverse stakeholders to protect their local waters. River Network has used the Manual to conduct hundreds of local, regional and state trainings, webinars and peer calls; carry out an interactive online course; and conduct a “train the trainers” course, enabling our member groups to amplify the Manual’s impact by delivering its content in communities across the country. To date, the Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual has been used to train over 12,000 water leaders throughout the U.S. on how to use the Clean Water Act to fight for clean water.

Much has changed since the Manual’s original publication and there is an urgent need to update it to effectively train the next generation of water champions to defend against present-day threats and tackle relevant current topics such as:

  • Using the Clean Water Act to address issues of equity related to permitting and enforcement;
  • Integrating climate change into Clean Water Act requirements;
  • Using the Clean Water Act to protect drinking water through water quality standards and other provisions;
  • Identifying new provisions and interpretations of the law that are important for

The Manual should be developed with the audience in mind – local community and water groups working to improve and maintain healthy, safe, and accessible water quality conditions for their communities. The Manual’s intent is to equip those seeking to understand the policy, how it’s implemented, and how to influence change at the local, state, and federal levels with the information and tools necessary to do so. It should be easy to understand, user-friendly, and attention grabbing, while remaining detailed enough to support groups seeking deeper understanding.

The consultant will be the primary writer and developer of the Manual updates, with support from River Network and the advisory group. The consultant, in collaboration with River Network, will select advisory group members. The consultant will conduct at least one initial meeting with the advisory group to discuss the direction and content of the Manual, and then follow up as needed. Once the Manual is ready for review, the advisory group will review and provide feedback. The approach to the Manual updates and management of the advisory group feedback is left to the discretion of the consultant, and River Network staff will be available to provide support and guidance as necessary.

Expected Timeline

This is a 12-month contract to be completed from November, 2021 to October 31, 2022. The final Manual should be complete and ready for publication by October 8th, 2022, two weeks prior to the CWA 50th Anniversary.

Proposal Requirements

  • Summary of background and experience relevant to this request for proposals, including, but not limited to:
    • Expertise in the Clean Water Act;
    • Experience training and supporting local groups to interpret federal policy;
    • Experience in developing accessible resources for community and water groups focusing on translation of policy to action;
    • Understanding of the intersection of equity, diversity and inclusion and policy issues.
  • Proposed approach for updating and writing Manual, including the use of any subcontractors.
  • Proposed timeline for described approach, including delivery of partial or full drafts for review by River Network
  • Cost estimate for all services associated with this project. Costs are not to exceed $48,000.
  • Two client
  • Up to two work products that showcase relevant
  • Any additional information relevant to this

Submission Directions and Deadlines

Please submit your proposal of no more than 7 pages (excluding work products) to [email protected] by COB October 25th with “CWA Manual Update” in subject line. Final decisions will be made by or before November 5th, 2021 with work to start upon

contract effective date. All with relevant or related experience levels are encouraged to apply.


Contact Colleen Walters, [email protected] – no phone calls please.

About River Network

River Network envisions a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective and courageous champions for our rivers. River Network’s mission is to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. We are committed to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas to achieve our mission – explore our core values and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, our explanation for why equity, diversity an

inclusion are the foundation of our mission, and our principles for equitable and inclusive work. Through our programs, we seek to connect with all communities and increase the impact of their efforts to secure clean and healthy water. Through our internal practices and external leadership, we seek an inclusive workplace culture that attracts diverse staff, board, members, and supporters. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees and contractors.

Visit to learn more about our current priorities and our team.