Inside this Issue:
Important upcoming dates
FY22-23 BIennium annual grant request in eLINK for SWCDs
FY21 CWF Competitive request summary
IDP Deadline is October 16
Tip of the Quarter
Amendments for grants expiring 12/31/2020
Watershed Based Implementation Funding requests
Oct 16: Deadline to update Technical Training requests for CY21
Oct 27-29: BWSR Academy (check Academy webpage for updates)
Soil and Water Conservation Districts are subject to a statutory obligation to complete an annual work plan in order to request cost share funds. M.S. 103C.331 says that districts: “…shall submit to the state board an annual work plan for the high priority erosion, sedimentation, and water quality problems in the district. The work plan shall be prepared as required by the rules of the state board.”
Prior to FY 2014, each individual SWCD produced a printed version of their annual plan which was reviewed by BWSR Board Conservationists and compared to a checklist of requirements. The varied formats and styles made it difficult to tell a comprehensive story of SWCD accomplishments and objectives across Minnesota.
The Biennial Budget Request (BBR) was established in FY2014 as the mechanism that BWSR developed to meet the requirements for the SWCD request. The format of the BBR captured proposed projects and activities in a consistent format, and allowed BWSR to present information to the legislature and the governor prior to biennial appropriations. During the budget shortfalls at that time, the BBR allowed BWSR to show a more complete picture of projects and activities across the state among all of the partners of the conservation delivery system. The BBR completed in FY 20 satisfies the statutory requirements through June 30, 2021.
The Annual Grant request is the forthcoming mechanism for requesting cost share funds from BWSR. Beginning on July 1, 2021, SWCDs will complete a workplan in eLINK to identify their projected use of Cost Share funds for practices or Technical and Administrative expenses. The workplan will also replace two stand-alone forms that currently exist: the request to use Cost share funds for Non-Structural Land Management practices and the request to use additional Cost Share funds for Technical and Administrative purposes. Because the Board Conservationist approves the work plan, all of those separate requests needing approvals can be combined in one place.
Again, this workplan is not required until Fiscal Year 2022. More information will be provided at the virtual BWSR Academy and other venues in advance of the next fiscal year.
The RFP for FY21 Clean Water Fund (CWF) Competitive grant programs closed on August 17th, 2020, and are currently in review. BWSR received a total of 61 applications, with requests totaling $19,754,194.
|Program Name||Total Number
|Projects and Practices||52||$18,269,245|
|Projects and Practices - Drinking Water||5||$837,071|
|Multipurpose Drainage Management||4||$647,878|
More information on the FY21 CWF Competitive program can be found in the July 2020 Grants Quarterly.
The deadline for SWCD, TSA, and NRCS staff to create or update their Individual Development Plan (IDP), including submitting training requests for calendar year 2021, is October 16th. This information is submittted via eLINK within the Technical Training module, and will be used by the Technical Training and Certification Program (TTCP) staff to plan trainings for the upcoming year. Requests may be submitted by SWCD, TSA, or NRCS staff who are eLINK users, or may be submitted on their behalf by their managers.
The TTCP program also requests that organizations update their priority resource concerns and the priority practices for addressing those concerns. For more information, please visit the Technical Training IDP Tool or User Guidance pages.
Q. Is an SWCD authorized to take out a loan?
A. SWCDs are only empowered to do what is found in 103C and more importantly under the powers and duties section. SWCDs do not explicitly have the authority to incur debt. If your SWCD plans to or has obtained a loan or incurred debt, please consult with your county attorney or designated legal counsel, your insurance provider, and your auditor to determine your legal and fiscal authorities and insurance coverage options.
Now is the time to assess progress on grants set to expire at the end of this year, and determine 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 months before the grant expires.
Not all grants are eligible for extension, and amendments cannot be executed after the grant expires. Therefore, BWSR strongly encourages you to start the amendment request process early.
Watershed-based Implementation Funding is available to partnerships operating under an approved Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan. Requests are open on an ongoing basis, but must be submitted within a monthly batching period. The batching periods open on the first business day of each month, and must be submitted by 4:30 pm on the last day of the month in which the request was initiated. BWSR is unable to roll forward incomplete requests to the next batching period.