Michigan Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Grants

From the Michigan DNRE website:

Request for Pre-Proposals  July 2010

This is a request for pre-proposals (RFPP) for coastal land conservation projects from eligible entities for federal funding through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP).  The Michigan Coastal Management Program (MCMP) within the Land and Water Management Division, Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), will score, rank, and prioritize projects based on the criteria contained in Michigan’s Draft Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Plan.  The three highest-ranked projects will be submitted to the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for incorporation into a national prioritized list of projects.  It is anticipated that projects funded in the 2012 CELCP cycle will have a grant application start date between March 1, 2012 and October 1, 2012.

Applicants for CELCP funding are strongly encouraged to review Michigan’s Draft CELCP Plan and the “Project Ranking Factors and Scoring Guidance” contained therein.   A copy of the Draft CELCP Plan can be found at www.michigan.gov/coastal.  Further information regarding the goals and administrative procedures for CELCP at the national level can be found at: http://coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/land/welcome.html.

Eligible Applicants:

State, County, Township, City, or Village governments, Tribal governments, conservation districts, State Colleges and Universities.

Match Requirement:

Federal funds awarded under this program require non-federal match funds at a 1:1 ratio.  Match may be in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, such as the value of donated lands or interests therein, or a combination of the two.  Federal funds may not be used as match.

Project Location:

Projects must be located within the State of Michigan’s CELCP boundary as defined in Michigan’s Draft CELCP Plan.

Grant Amounts:

The maximum amount that may be requested for the Federal share of each project is $3,000,000.

Award Period:

The standard award period is 18 months, and may be extended an additional 18 months if circumstances warrant, but may not exceed three years.

All proposed CELCP projects must:
• Be held in public ownership (fee simple or conservation easements) and provide conservation in perpetuity;
• Provide for access to the general public or other public benefit, as appropriate and consistent with resource protection.

Eligible uses for CELCP funds:
• Acquisition of properties or interests in properties from willing sellers, provided that the terms and conditions will ensure that the property will be administered for conservation in perpetuity, including direct expenses relating to the acquisition of lands and interests in lands acquired under the authority of the CELCP; and

• Certain initial costs for land stewardship, not to exceed five percent of the award and not to exceed three years or the duration of the award period, to allow for signage, public safety, or other stewardship purposes.

Application Deadline:

Postmarked no later than September 3, 2010

Application Procedures:

Complete and sign the attached application form and submit it to:

Mr. Matt Smar, Acting Chief
Michigan Coastal Management Program
Land and Water Management Division
Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment
P.O. Box 30458
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7958

The CELCP was created in 2002 by the Department of Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Act “for the purpose of protecting important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses, giving priority to lands that can be effectively managed and protected and that have significant ecological value1.”

Participating coastal states receive project proposals, ranking them on a statewide basis.  The state can submit up to three eligible projects to the NOAA for competition in the national ranking.  Congress is authorized to appropriate up to $60 million a year to fund land acquisition through the CELCP.

The Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement for FY 2012 CELCP projects is not yet available, but is expected to be released in December 2010.  This state RFPP is being released ahead of the FFO to allow on-site project reviews before sites are obscured by winter weather.  It is expected that the FY 2012 FFO will be very similar to the FY 2011 FFO.  The FY 2011 CELCP FFO which includes the full details of the competition, along with project narrative and budget templates and the CELCP checklist, are posted on the Funding Opportunities page of the CELCP website, http://www.coastalmanagement.noaa.gov/land/celcp_fundingop.html and should serve as a good template for preparation of projects submitted for this FY 2012 RFPP.  The MCMP will announce a formal RFP once the FY 2012 FFO is released by NOAA.

RFPP Process and Timeline:
• The RFPP is released – July 9, 2010
• Project pre-proposals due to the MCMP – postmarked or hand-delivered (before 4:00 PM) – September 3, 2010
• The MCMP staff will visit project sites – mid September to early October, 2010
• The MCMP will provide feedback to applicants prior to the release of the formal RFP-January 2011

Project Readiness:
The MCMP expects that proposed projects will be well along in their development.  Recognizing that projects can be in various stages of development and that funding from this cycle will not be available until March to October, 2012, project pre-proposals should still be as specific as possible.  Proposals should at least be for specific tracts of land, and landowners should have been contacted about their willingness to sell.  Prior to application under the formal RFP in January 2011 the applicant should be in a position to submit documentation that the current owner is a willing participant in a process of negotiation for sale of the property, or interests in the property, for conservation purposes.  This documentation may be in the form of a letter of willingness or intent, option letter, contract, or other similar form.

Additional Application Information:
• The MCMP staff will perform all site evaluations.
• A Phase 1 Environmental Assessment of the nominated property may be required.
• The applicant must ensure that the required nonfederal match is available for all acquisitions nominated to the federal CELCP program.  Nonfederal match may come from state and/or local governments, sponsoring or partner non-governmental organizations, and/or sources such as land trusts or land conservancies.
• The MCMP will make the final determination on projects to be submitted for consideration in the competitive, federal CELCP program and will be responsible for developing all nomination packages for submission to the NOAA.
• The eligible applicant will hold title to the respective property acquired through the CELCP program.
• The eligible applicant and the MCMP will hold duplicate documentation as required by the federal CELCP guidance.
• All properties acquired under this program will be maintained in accordance with applicable state laws.  Any revenues generated will be used by the applicant to continue the long-term stewardship of the properties in accordance with the established management plan.
• The property boundary of the project must lie entirely within the CELCP Plan boundary.
• Landowners who do not wish to sell their property, and who plan only to place a conservation easement over the parcel, must also use easement language and terms consistent with those used by the DNRE for other acquisition projects and the NOAA.  Written expression of this understanding with the landowner must be provided with the application.
• A tract-specific management plan must be developed within two years of the purchase and/or placement of a conservation easement of all properties so obtained.

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Michigan Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Grants

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