Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program – 2013 Request for Proposal
Applications must be submitted online by 11:59pm EST, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program seeks to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships for wetland, forest, riparian and coastal habitat restoration with a particular focus on urban waters and watersheds. The National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), USDA Forest Service (USFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Southern Company, FedEx and others, are pleased to solicit applications for the 2013 Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program.
The partners are pleased to announce an expanded partnership with USFS, EPA, and NOAA through the Federal Urban Waters Partnership that will provide additional resources for restoration work in urban areas. In 2013, NFWF anticipates that approximately $1,500,000 in combined total Five Star/Urban Waters funding will be available:
FIVE STAR PROJECT ELEMENTS
Approximately $160,000 is available from EPA, in addition to support from corporate partners listed below, to fund projects meeting the Five Star program elements. Projects competitive for this funding include:
- On-the-Ground Restoration: Projects must include on-the-ground wetland, riparian, in stream and/or coastal habitat restoration.
- Measurable Results: Projects must result in measurable ecological, educational and community benefits.
- Partnerships: Five Star projects should engage a diverse group of community partners to achieve ecological and educational outcomes.
- Environmental Education/Training: Projects should integrate meaningful education and training into the restoration project either through community outreach, participation and/or integration with K-12 environmental curriculum.
URBAN WATERS PROJECT ELEMENTS
Approximately $540,000 is available from USFS, EPA, and NOAA through the Federal Urban Waters Partnership, along with funding from partners listed below, to improve water quality, increase access, and restore riparian and forest habitat in urban watersheds throughout the United States. All projects submitted for consideration of Urban Waters funding must include a minimum 1:1 match of non-federal funds. More information on the Federal Urban Waters Partnership is available at www.urbanwaters.gov.
Competitive projects will include a focus on one of more of the following priorities:
- Urban Forest Restoration: Projects focused on improving water quality in urban rivers downstream from forested lands through invasive species removal, forested habitat restoration and forest connectivity around urban waterways.
- Education and Training: Develop educational programs to provide training to schools, businesses, community groups, and homeowners on how to implement tree plantings or other programs to reduce water pollution and stormwater flow or to promote low-impact design (LID) and/or green infrastructure practices.
- Stormwater management: Develop projects intended to control rain water through tree canopy interception and reduce stormwater flow, controlling flooding and slowing run-off into surface water.
- Monitoring: Establish or advance a monitoring program, especially to those bodies of water used for subsistence fishing, drinking water sources, or human contact to identify areas of concern and possible places where restoration efforts can be effectively targeted.
- Outdoor Recreation: Design community-based projects that promote access to urban waterways and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities.
In addition to the overall goal of partnerships, restoration and community outreach, urban projects should focus on the neighborhood benefits of watershed restoration to:
Local economic development
Livability and as a neighborhood asset
Underserved and economically distressed communities
The EPA Urban Waters funds can be used to fund projects intended to protect and restore urban waterways through activities such as public outreach, convening stakeholders, education, training, studies, surveys and designs, demonstration projects, monitoring, and development of urban water project implementation plans.
The USFS Urban Waters funds can be used to implement high impact projects to remove invasives/restore forest fragments in urban areas, as well as forestry projects to plant and maintain trees in neighborhoods, promote riparian buffers, create schoolyard habitat, and engage residents at significant sites used by the community such as schools, parks, and trailways.
The Five Star/Urban Waters Restoration Program is open to any entity that can receive grants. While partnerships are encouraged to include state and federal agencies, those entities may not serve as the grantee unless the community partners demonstrate that the state or federal agency is best suited to coordinate the community-based project.
Grants will be $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 and will vary in size, duration and scale. In general, most smaller-scale, one-year projects will be in the $20,000-$30,000* range. Two-year, larger-scale urban projects will be eligible for grants up to $50,000. Only a very limited number of projects meeting the highest competitive criteria will be awarded at the $50,000 level, so please budget accordingly. We anticipate the average grant award will be $25,000-$35,000.
A minimum 1:1 match of cash and/or in-kind/contributed goods and services to funds requested is expected. The ratio of matching funds offered by the applicant is one criterion considered during the review process. All potential sources of match, including cash contributions and dollar equivalent value of in-kind goods and services (including volunteer services) must be listed on the application.
Matching funds may be federal or non-federal in nature. Federal funds may be used to match only non-federal NFWF funding sources for a project. It is expected that grant awards of NFWF federal funds will be matched 1:1 with non-federal funds or in-kind services. Check with NFWF to confirm applicability.
To be eligible, matching contributions must be raised and dedicated specifically for the project, and be voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are ineligible).
Grant funds may not be used for political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying or litigation activities or to support projects resulting from legal requirements (e.g., permit conditions, mitigation or settlement agreements). However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts. (Note: proposal must provide clear distinction between required and voluntary actions).
- Applicants must fully address the key elements discussed above.
- Grant requests must be for $20,000 – $50,000.
- Projects should be completed within one to two years of award.
- For USFS urban waters funding, a preference is given to projects that take place on, or directly benefit public lands.
- Partnerships should include at least five organizations contributing to project success through funding, technical support, workforce support, land and/or other in-kind services. Note: Applicant is considered a partner.
- Partnerships should include a variety of public and private entities, such as:
- Youth groups: schools, youth conservation corps, Scout troops, civic and environmental clubs, etc.
- Colleges and Universities: academia, departments, and local cooperative extension districts
- Resource Conservation and Development Councils and Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- Conservation Organizations
- Businesses or Corporations
- Local citizens and community groups
- Government agencies: State, local, federal and/or tribal governments and agencies
- Technical and design experts: local environmental and restoration consultants, landscape architects, environmental planners, and others that offer technical and design expertise
- Foundations or other funders
- Proposals seeking larger grants (greater than $30,000) are expected to demonstrate greater matching contributions, a larger number and diversity of project partners and more significant ecological and educational outcomes.
- Grant funds may not be used to cover indirect costs unless they meet both of the following conditions:
- The grantee organization has a federally-approved indirect rate; and
- Indirect cost requests in budget should not exceed 15% of the total grant request (even when the federally-approved rate is greater than 15%).
- Projects with a budget primarily consisting of indirect costs and salaries and projects with matching funds primarily consisting of foregone indirect costs will not be as competitive.
- Organizations or project sites that previously have received funding under this program are eligible to reapply; however, preference may be given to those that previously have not received support.
OTHER CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS
Highest priority will be given to projects that:
- Help meet ecological and conservation needs of priority species and habitats in priority watersheds.
- Provide measurable and meaningful conservation outcomes.
- Establish or enhance a diverse partnership from the public and private sectors, and explain the role and significance of the partnership to the project’s success.
- Identify and expand job training and job readiness to develop community capacity for restoration.
- Implement or complement an established conservation and/or watershed management plan and demonstrate that the agency or organization that developed the plan is a partner in — or at least supportive of — the project.
- Support improvements to water quality especially to those bodies of water suited for subsistence fishing.
- Specifically describe how education and outreach will shape and sustain behavior change of specific audience(s) to achieve your conservation goals and how you will evaluate the impact of your efforts. Additionally, describe how lessons learned about the effectiveness of the education component in achieving conservation goals will be applied and broadly shared with others. Proposed activities should be highly collaborative and designed to address strategic conservation goals.
- Clearly present a reasonable and detailed budget (including appropriate hourly rates for the type of activities proposed) and document contributions (dollars and/or in-kind) are matched by a broad range of public and private sources and meet or exceed the minimum 1:1 matching requirement.
Applications must be submitted online in Easygrants by 11:59 pm EST, Thursday, February 7, 2013.
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