In addition and new for the 2016 NPS Grant Program, the 2015-2016 California Budget Act appropriated Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Fund (Timber Fund) to fund existing restoration grant programs. The Timber Funds will fund projects that implement forest management measures on 'forest lands' to improve water quality.
Project proposals are selected through a two-phase statewide solicitation process - the concept proposal phase and the full proposal phase. This is a single solicitation for CWA 319(h) and Timber Fund proposals but process and schedule for each may differ. The application process is facilitated through the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) operated by the State Water Resources Control Board’s (State Water Board) Division of Financial Assistance. The two-phase process, including development and approval of the final list of recommended funding projects by the State Water Board Executive Director, takes approximately ten months. Typically, the solicitation process for a NPS grant runs from August (of the previous year) through April when the CWA 319(h) funding is received from the U.S.EPA. For more information, see the current NPS Grant Program Solicitation.
Concept Proposal Phase
In the concept proposal phase, the applicant is addresses specific questions developed by the NPS Grant Program. Answers to these questions how the project (1) conforms to the priority implementation actions identified in the applicable nine-element watershed-based plan (and TMDL); (2) coordinates with other related water quality improvement efforts in the watershed; (3) implements nine-element watershed-based plan actions that achieve the water quality goals of the watershed; and (4) is identified as a priority in the NPS Program Preference List. Instructions for submitting a concept proposal are available in the Solicitation Notice.
The applications are then reviewed by a panel consisting of representatives from each of the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Board), State Water Board, and U.S.EPA (Review Panel). The Review Panel selects the concept proposal applicants that will be asked to submit an expanded proposal in the full proposal phase. A list of concept proposals invited back to submit a full proposal will available on the current NPS Grant Program webpage after the concept proposals are selected.
Based on the quality of the concept proposal, Timber Fund proposals may be invited directly into the Grant Agreement development process.
Full Proposal Phase
The full proposal phase consists of submitting additional and expanded information through a series of required attachments and tables outlined in the full proposal Solicitation Notice. The full proposal must include the following project information: (1) response to comments; (2) a detailed Scope of Work with schedule; (3) Project Assessment & Evaluation Plan (PAEP) table; (4) complete nine-element watershed-based plan table;(5) detailed budget broken out by both task and line item; and (6) commitment letters from the entities providing
the required match consistent with the Program Guidelines.
The full proposal submittal requirements can be found in the current full proposal Solicitation Notice and accompanying attachments to be updated on the NPS Grants Program Solicitation webpage after the concept proposals. The full proposals are then reviewed and ranked by the Review Panel and a list of recommended projects is sent to the State Water Board Executive Director for approval. The recommended list of funding projects will be available on the NPS Grant Program webpage after the projects have been approved by the State Water Board Executive Director.
In general, to be eligible for NPS grant funding, projects must meet the following requirements:
Address one or more of the NPS Program Preferences (section I of the NPS Grant Guidelines) identified by the NPS Grant Program.
Be located in a watershed that has a plan or suite of plans that meet the nine-element watershed-based plan (see Appendix 1);
Provide the minimum required match consistent with the Program Guidelines. A waiver of match is available for Disadvantaged Communities (see Appendix 4);
Be located in an area not subject to a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit (note: projects are not subject to this requirement if the project activity is specifically excluded/exempted from the requirements of the NPDES permit.); and
Implement forest management measures on ‘forest lands’ (specific requirement for Timber Funds
Contact us if you would like to review the draft guidelines to determine if they fit your project concept. We are happy to do an initial consultation at not cost.