Inside this Issue:

Important upcoming dates
Grants Administration Manual changes for FY21
FY21 Grants approval and processing
FY21 CWF competitive RFP
Tip of the Quarter
Best Management Practice Geospatial Data from eLINK Updated on MnGEO Commons
Amendments for grants expiring 12/31/2020


Important upcoming dates:

Aug 1:      Deadline for reporting on grants that expired June 30, 2020

Aug 17:    Clean Water Fund RFP closes

Oct 27-29:    BWSR Academy (check Academy webpage for updates)


GRANTS GAM cluster icon

Grants Administration Manual changes for FY21

Several chapters of the Grants Administration Manual (GAM) have been updated for the new fiscal year. These changes are effective July 1, 2020, and apply to all grants administered through BWSR unless a program-specific policy states otherwise. BWSR maintains an archived version of the GAM for each fiscal year.

The updated chapters and a description of the changes are detailed below.

About the BWSR Grants Administrative Manual

Under "Terminology", the definition of Cost Share has been expanded to include flat rate and percentage rate definitions, and the definition of "Incentives" was updated for clarification.

Additionally, a definition was added regarding reimbursement-based grants and contracts.

Grant Agreement Amendments and Work Plan Revisions

This chapter has been edited to establish thresholds for work plan adjustments that can be made at the grantee's discretion, without the approval of the Board Conservationist or grant manager. 

Remember, some non-budgetary changes, including changes in scope, outcomes, extensions, grant amount, etc., also require work plan revisions or amendments to the grant agreement, and are not changed in this revision.

Records, Program, and Project Files

This revision added language regarding contents for invoices and receipts to this chapter, and recommended documentation that should be obtained prior to making sub-agreement payments to other LGUs.

Financial Management

Language was removed related to grant program income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Added a Q & A regarding Municipal Contracting Law, and provided additional clarification on the question regarding SWCDs' ability to take out loans.

Implementing Contracts with Land Occupiers

This update clarifies that other payment procedures recommended by legal counsel may be implemented in consultation with the BWSR Board Conservationist.

Updated Forms

The Voucher and Certification: Percent Based (xlsx) form and the optional Cost-Share Contract Workbook (xlsm) have also been recently updated.


FY21 Grant approval and processing

At its meeting on June 24, 2020, the BWSR Board approved the FY21 Clean Water Fund Competitive grant program and the Area Technical Training Teams - Training Grants.

SWCD Program and Operations grant agreements, along with Natural Resource Block Grant (NRBG) grant agreements, were issued last year as biennial agreements. Payment processing for FY21 grants issued under that agreement will begin after July 1.


FY21 Clean Water Fund RFP now open

clean water land and legacy amendment logo

The FY21 CWF RFP will open on June 29th, 2020, and will close at 4:30 pm on Monday, August 17th. The RFP and policy will be posted on the Apply for Grants page as soon as the RFP opens. Applicants should familiarize themselves with both of these documents to avoid issues of eligibility.

New elements for FY21 include:

  1. Supplemental questions must be submitted in eLINK via attachment as part of any application that contain Livestock Waste Management practices including practices to address stockpiles.  Funding will only be provided for those projects listed on the supplemental questions sheet.  
     
  2. For any proposal submitted as part of the Drinking Water Subgrant, a map of a proposed project area showing why the areas is targeted for drinking water protection or restoration is required. For guidance on how to make your required map, please review the document Discover Groundwater Information using the Watershed Health Assessment Framework Tool found on the Apply for BWSR Grants webpage at https://bwsr.state.mn.us/apply.  For  additional information and resources regarding your specific project area please go to https://bwsr.state.mn.us/groundwater-protection. Do not use the Attachments tab to upload it, or it will not be seen by application reviewers.
     
  3. Location of proposed storage and treatment wetlands proposed under the Multipurpose Drainage Management program must be identified at time of application.
     
  4. Applicable components of projects need to meet the statutory requirements of 103E Drainage Law


Applications must be submitted via eLINK, BWSR’s grant management system. Applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the application process early so that they can request help if they need it. Eligible applicants without a current eLINK user account must submit an account request no later than 7 days prior to the application deadline.

FY21 Clean Water Fund Timeline:

  • June 29, 2020: Application period begins
  • August 17, 2020: Application deadline at 4:30 p.m. (no late applications accepted)
  • December 17, 2020: BWSR Board authorizes grant awards (proposed)
  • February 2021: BWSR grant agreements sent to recipients (proposed)  
  • March 15, 2021: Work plan submittal deadline
  • April 6, 2021: Grant execution deadline 
  • December 31, 2023: Grant expiration date (grant must be completed)           

FY21 Competitive Clean Water Grant Funding Available:1
 

Program Name

Description

Funding Available1

BWSR Projects and Practices

Funds are to be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to  protect groundwater and drinking water. Eligible activities include structural and vegetative practices to reduce runoff and retain water on the land, livestock water quality projects, Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) abatement grants for low income individuals, and stream bank, stream channel and shoreline protection projects.

$12M

Projects and Practices - Drinking Water subprogram

This grant makes an investment in land treatment projects and practices that will protect or improve drinking water sources. Surface water (streams, rivers, and lakes) and groundwater (aquifers) can both serve as sources of drinking water.

Up to 20% of total Projects and Practices funding amount

BWSR Multipurpose Drainage Management

This program funds multipurpose drainage management practices, targeting critical pollution source areas to reduce erosion and sedimentation, reduce peak flows and flooding, and improve water quality, while protecting drainage system efficiency and reducing drainage system maintenance for priority Chapter 103E drainage systems.

Up to $700,000

 

MDA AgBMP Loans2

MN Department of Agriculture offers low interest loans to farmers, rural landowners, and agriculture supply businesses support agricultural Best Management Practices that prevent or reduce runoff from feedlots, farm fields and other pollution problems identified by the county in local water plans. Any LGU may apply, but awards will be coordinated through existing contract holders.

$4,200,000

MPCA Clean Water Partnership Loans2

MN Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Water Partnership (CWP) program offers zero-interest loans to local units of government for addressing nonpoint-source pollution to improve water quality.

Up to $10,000,000

1 Amounts shown are estimates. Actual amounts will be determined prior to the end of the application period.

2Indicate interest in loan dollars as part of a Projects and Practices or Projects and Practices Drinking Water application.


Tip of the quarter

Q. How do you calculate the number of leave hours for a billing rate when using actual or accrued leave?

A. Actual leave can be calculated per employee or averaged across all employees based on the past year. Accrued leave is calculated per employee based upon accrual rates; however, once this method is selected, the organization cannot revert back to actual hours nor can they claim severance in the facilities costs portion of the billing rate. Consult your Grants Compliance Specialist to discuss the best option for your organization. Be sure to retain your calculations each time billing rates are updated.


Best Management Practice Geospatial Data from eLINK Updated on MnGEO Commons

BWSR began publishing the geospatial data for mapped eLINK BMPs since the fall of 2019.  The geospatial data was recently updated in May 2020 to include BMP locations from recently closed grants.  Approximately 3,000 additional BMPs were added to the dataset, which now include more than 37,000 practices.  The next scheduled update of the data will be in November 2020.  If you have access to Arc GIS, BWSR encourages you to download the data and review the information.  This data can be very useful for analysis and planning purposes.  The data can be downloaded here on the MnGEO Commons web site: https://gisdata.mn.gov/dataset/env-state-cons-bmp-locs.  Below is a map of practices available for download.  If you have questions on how to access or use the data, please contact Matt Drewitz, BWSR Measures and Outcomes Coordinator, at matt.drewitz@state.mn.us .   

eLINK BMP map example for Grants Quarterly

Amendments for grants expiring 12/31/2020

It's not too early to be thinking about progress on grants set to expire at the end of this year, and whether your grant may require an amendment. According to the Grant Agreement Amendments and Work Plan Revisions chapter of BWSR's Grants Administration Manual, amendment requests should be submitted to your Board Conservationist three to months before the grant expires. We recommend starting this process early, as not all grant funds are available for extension, and amendments cannot be executed after the grant expires.

 

Contact

Gwen Steel
Grants and Reporting Specialist