FY ’23 Request for Partnership Proposals/Letters of Interest for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

NOTE:

This is a call-for preproposals for projects who would like to partner with the California State Coastal Conservancy in order to apply for US Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant (NCWCG) Program funding.

  1. a) This is NOT the official NCWCG call for applications.
  2. b) Projects hoping to receive NCWCG funding are NOT required to apply through the Coastal Conservancy. As stated below, there are six other state agencies who are also designated to apply for these funds for the projects in California. However, should a project wish to work with the Coastal Conservancy to manage and administer a potential future grant, please read the following announcement, and if you feel your project fits the NCWCG criteria, please submit a brief (~2-4 page) letter of interest via email to avra.heller@scc.ca.gov by 5 PM PST on Friday, March 11th, 2022 (see further details below).

The California State Coastal Conservancy (Conservancy) seeks partners for joint applications to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 round of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant (NCWCG) Program for coastal wetlands acquisition and/or restoration projects on the California coast or along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Only seven designated state agencies, including the Conservancy, are eligible to apply for NCWC grants in California. However, the Conservancy can work in partnership with state and local agencies, tribes, and certain non-profits to develop and submit NCWC proposals.  The Conservancy can pass through NCWCG funds to its partners, as subrecipients, to implement projects.  While federal agencies can’t receive NCWCG funds, NCWCG-funded projects can be implemented on federal lands by a subrecipient. A full description of the NCWCG program can be found here:  https://www.fws.gov/coastal/CoastalGrants/.

NCWC provides grants of up to $1,000,000 for the protection and/or restoration of coastal wetlands.  Grants are for project implementation, although it is permissible to utilize no more than 30%, combined, for biological surveys or monitoring, planning and permitting if those activities are closely tied to implementation. Projects should be ready for implementation in Summer 2023 or 2024.  Projects will be more competitive if the project area is primarily made up of jurisdictional wetlands. The NCWC grant program requires a non-federal match of at least 25% of the total project cost, consisting of either cash or in-kind contributions, and additional points are awarded for match of up to 33% of the total project cost.  The Conservancy may be able to provide some or all of the required match, but project partners providing their own match will increase the Conservancy’s capacity to carry out additional projects.  The NCWCG program also prioritizes projects that involve multiple partners providing cash or in-kind contribution. All projects must ensure long-term (at least 20 years) conservation of coastal resources.

 

Eligible Activities include:

  1. Acquisition of a real property interest (e.g., conservation easement or fee title) in coastal lands or waters (coastal wetlands ecosystems) from willing sellers or partners for long-term conservation;
  2. Restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands ecosystems; or
  3. A combination of acquisition, restoration, and management.

Ineligible Activities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Projects that primarily benefit navigation, irrigation, flood control, or mariculture;
  2. Acquisition, restoration, enhancement or management of lands required as the result of a regulatory or decision-making process to mitigate habitat losses;
  3. Creation of wetlands where wetlands did not previously exist;
  4. Enforcement of fish and wildlife laws and regulations, except when necessary for the accomplishment of approved project purposes;
  5. Research;
  6. Planning as a primary project focus;
  7. Operations and maintenance, including long-term invasive species management;
  8. Acquisition and/or restoration of upper portions of watersheds where benefits to the coastal wetlands ecosystem are not significant and direct; and
  9. Projects providing less than 20 years of conservation benefits.

 

This year’s FY 2023 Notice of Funding Announcement (NOFO), is available here as a reference:  https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html, funding opportunity Number: F23AS00003

If your project is selected by the Conservancy during this initial proposal phase, the Conservancy will work with you to prepare a NCWCG proposal, which may or may not be awarded funding by the USFWS. The Conservancy will not award state funding grants directly through this solicitation.  The USFWS selects proposals for award through a merit-based, national competitive review and ranking process. The deadline to submit NCWC proposals to the USFWS for FY 2023 will be June 24, 2022.  Selected projects are generally awarded 6-8 months after the application is submitted. If projects are awarded a NCWCG, funding should be available for implementation in late Spring of 2023. USFWS will need to review and meet all project-related environmental compliance requirements before making funding available.

 

Letter of Interest Submittal:

To indicate your interest in partnering with the Conservancy on a NCWC proposal, please submit a brief (~2-4 page) letter of interest via email to avra.heller@scc.ca.gov. The letter should include the following information:

1) 1-2 sentence summary of the proposed project,

2) location of the project and its relevance to NCWCG’s coastal wetland restoration goals,

3) description of the need for the project,

4) description of the proposed project and how it addresses the need,

5) estimated project cost and description of potential match contributions,

6) approximate timeline for project implementation (include information of the status of project design and environmental review for restoration projects),

7) indicate whether you have a willing seller for acquisition projects, and

8) list of potential project partners and their roles in the project.  Include a map showing the project area and providing the approximate acreage of the project area and acreage of coastal wetlands within the project area.

Letters of Interest must be received by 5 PM PST on Friday, March 11th 2022.

 

Eligible Applicants: Non-federal public agencies, tribes, and certain nonprofit organizations are eligible for funding. To be eligible, a nonprofit organization must qualify under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

Questions? Questions about the application process and potential projects may be directed to Avra Heller, External Grants Manager, 510-286-1212, avra.heller@scc.ca.gov

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