The Request for Proposal  for the Demonstration Neighborhoods component of the Lawns to Legumes Program has been released and has a closing date of January 10th.

The Program Policy for Demonstration Neighborhoods provides additional grant policy information for the program.

Demonstration Neighborhoods RFP Webinar (recorded 1-2-20)

Frequently Asked Questions for the RFP

Who can apply?

Conservation districts, watershed districts, watershed management organizations, cities, counties, tribes and nongovernmental organizations meeting the definition below can apply.

Nongovernmental Organization: Is an organization that is a nonprofit, also known as a charitable organization, that is formed for the purpose of fulfilling a mission to improve the common good of society rather than to acquire and distribute profits. The organization meets the definition in MS 309.50 Subd. 4 and meets the definitions defined in the Internal Revenue Service code, with the most common type being a 501 c (3).

Please note that a neighborhood association must meet this definition to apply.

How Much Funding Can Be Requested?

Between $20,000 and $40,000 can be requested for each demonstration neighborhood. The RFP includes additional information about the role of matching funding sources.

Can Multiple Partners Be Involved?

Yes, public/private partnerships are encouraged to assist with resident outreach, project design and project maintenance.

How Do Applicants Apply?

Applicants can apply electronically through BWSR’s e-Link application. Instructions on how to use e-Link are located at this link.

When initiating an application in eLINK, applicants may choose from two application types:

 

High Potential Zone - Lawns to Legumes Demonstration Neighborhood: Use this if your project will occur solely in the high-potential zone, or a mix of high and lower potential zones. A 10% match is enforced.

 

Lawns to Legumes Demonstration Neighborhood: Use this if your project is entirely within in lower-potential zone. A 25% match will be enforced.

Can Applicants Apply for More Than One Grant?

Yes, applicants can apply to work in more than one demonstration neighborhood, but they will need to be submitted as separate grants and it should be noted that around 15-20 projects can be funded statewide.

Since this is a reimbursement grant what are the reimbursement requirements for the program?

Reimbursement means the grantee must incur costs of the grant before requesting grant funds from the state, which also means the grantee needs to have the cash flow to cover the full costs upfront. Reimbursement requests can be submitted quarterly. To request a grant payment from the state:

Upload documentation of  expenses (e.g. receipts, purchase orders, payroll records) into eLINK. Make a request for payment in eLINK.

 

To receive the final reimbursement for the program the project must be completed, all final reporting requirements met, and an eLINK Financial Report complete (available in eLINK), signed by the grantee’s official signatory, and uploaded into eLINK.

Can Landowner time spent installing projects be counted as match for the program?

Yes, Landowner time can be counted as match at a rate of $25 per hour.

Does the match requirement need to be met for each individual landowner?

The match requirement doesn’t need to be met for each individual landowner but does need to be met for the overall demonstration neighborhood project. Applicants can set their own match requirements for the landowners they are working with.  

Can overhead costs be covered by this grant?

Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF) funding which is the source of the program’s funding cannot be used to pay for space and other associated overhead costs. Billing rates charged to these grants may include the employee’s base hourly rate plus benefits. Required match can be provided through other facilities and administration costs such as space, vehicle, computers, and other associated overhead costs.

Can any costs be incurred for the project before the grant agreement is executed?

No costs can be incurred until after the grant agreement is executed.

Will program applicants or landowners be responsible for paying contractors for installing projects? 

It is up to the projects applicant to determine if they will pay contractors directly or reimburse landowners for paying contractors. Applicants will need to determine if they have any liability risk related to paying contractors to work on private property.

Should Projects Include Different Types of Plantings?

There are four primary project types promoted through the Lawns to Legumes program (see the program’s Habitat Guide) including native pocket plantings, pollinator beneficial trees and shrubs, pollinator lawns and pollinator meadows. We encourage participants to incorporate these and potentially other project types into demonstration neighborhoods to help ensure they showcase best practices for supporting pollinators.

Can Parks and Schools Be Funded Through this Program? 

Funding for the Lawns to Legumes program is only for residential landscapes, so schools and parks cannot be funded with the current grants. Plantings within these landscapes can make applications more competitive as they add to the demonstration value of projects. 

Can renters participate in the program?

Renters can participate in the program but need written approval from their landlord for the planting that they intent to install.

Can Boulevard Plantings Be Covered As Part of Projects?

Boulevard plantings can be included as part of projects but since they are often city property it is important that cities provide approval for any plantings that are planned. 

What are expectations related to the five year lifespan for the projects? What if properties are sold during this timeframe?

Every effort should be made by project applicants to help ensure that projects exist and are maintained through the five year timeframe. It is expected for applicants to use an agreement with landowners (see example text from the Lawns to Legumes Individual Support Application). If projects change ownership during the first five years applicants should try to work with the new landowners to keep the project. There may be some opportunities to rescue/move plants from projects if there is no chance of the project continuing.   

How should inspection of projects be addressed?

Landowners who are participating in the program should be asked to give permission to project applicants or other appropriate partners to inspect projects with the landowners approval. Inspection requirements should be part of the agreement.

What Are the Reporting Requirements of a Demonstration Neighborhoods Grant?

Like the grant application process, reporting for the grant will be done in BWSR’s e-Link system.

What map do I use to determine if I’m in a Rusty Patched Bumblebee priority Area?

The BWSR Priority Area Map that allows users to enter the address of landowners should be used to determine if projects are located within the Rusty Patched Bumblebee Priority Area. A link to this map is located on BWSR's Lawns to Legumes Webpage.

Since Priority One and Two Areas Have Different Match Requirements How Should This Be Considered in eLink for a Demonstration Neighborhood Project Where Landowners Are Located in Each Area?

First, demonstration neighborhoods are encouraged to be in relatively distinct areas, so in most cases all landowners will be in either priority one or two areas. In cases where they are split between the two priority areas applicants should apply under the High Priority track in eLink, as it is possible to enter more than the required 10% match. However, applicants will need to create separate Activities for High Priority vs Lower Priority Area projects to be very clear about how much of the funding they plan to direct to which area. Note: applicants do not need to enter one Activity per landowner, but instead should group them by Priority Area.