Inside this Issue:
Important upcoming dates
Amendments for grants expiring December 31, 2021
Tip of the Quarter
State Cost Share work plan reminder
FY22 CWF Competitive request summary
BWSR Estimator Spreadsheet Information and Updates
GAM optional and example forms updated
Dec 15: Deadline to return grant agreements to BWSR for grants expiring 12/31/21
Dec 31: Many grants expire
Feb 1: Annual grant reporting deadline
Do you suspect your organization will need an amendment on one or more BWSR grants set to expire at the end of the year? If you haven't already initiated the conversation with your Board Conservationist, be sure to do so as soon as possible. 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.
Any amendments for grants expiring at the end of this calendar year need to be returned to BWSR no later than December 15th, 2021. This deadline allows time for BWSR to sign and execute the amendment and process it in eLINK prior to the end-of-year holidays, when staff capacity may be limited.
Q. What type of documentation should a fiscal agent obtain from a grant recipient when managing a BWSR grant?
A. At a minimum, the fiscal agent would need the timeframe of services rendered (must fall within the BWSR grant period), number of hours worked, services provided, and hourly rate and/or amount charged. As fiscal agent, you would want documentation sufficient to provide reasonable assurance the invoice is accurate and appropriate for the services rendered. Services provided, as listed on the invoices, should align with reporting in the various categories within eLINK. If there are variances, please work with your Board Conservationist to make adjustments to the workplan/grant reporting. A fiscal agent could request detailed time tracking information in support of invoices submitted for services rendered but is not obligated to do so when BWSR funds are involved.
When reimbursing other local governments for equipment/materials purchased and charged to BWSR grants, obtaining copies of the supporting invoices is appropriate and a good accounting practice. See the Allowable and Unallowable Costs chapter of the Grants Administration Manual.
For FY22-23 and beyond, State Cost Share grants require a work plan. Work plans for both fiscal years' grants must be approved before the associated grant agreement can be executed, and work can begin. These work plans fulfill the statutory requirement for SWCDs to complete an annual plan of work, for which the now-defunct biennial budget request (BBR) was previously accepted.
Additional background and guidance, please visit State Cost Share: Annual Grant Request Guidance.
The RFP for FY22 Clean Water Fund (CWF) Competitive grant programs closed on August 17th, 2021, and are currently in review. BWSR received a total of 63 applications, with requests totaling $22,066,713.
More information on the FY22 CWF Competitive program can be found in the July 2021 Grants Quarterly.
|Program Name||Total Number
|Projects and Practices||52||$20,230,851|
|Projects and Practices - Drinking Water||5||$800,500|
|Multipurpose Drainage Management||6||$1,035,362|
The BWSR Estimator Tools have been around for decades and have been used for BWSR eLINK reporting for several types of conservation practices. As new models and tools come online, the BWSR estimator tools will be used less over time. But, for some practices, such as gully stabilization and streambank restorations, the BWSR Estimator tool is still appropriate to use. BWSR has developed some additional guidance on using the Estimators and developed a video on how to use the Gully Estimator tool, which are posted on the BWSR Water Quality Tools and Models web page. Later this fall, BWSR will be releasing a video on how to use the Stream and Ditch Estimator tool.
PTMApp maintenance and enhancement work has progressed through the pandemic.
An update to the PTMApp Web Application was deployed on Friday, October 6, 2021. The newest generation of NRCS practice types are now available, and BWSR is working towards updating all PTMApp datasets to the newest verion of the model in the next two years. Additional updates with this deployment include finalizing the scenario builder and new statewide layers in the Interactive Map.
BWSR will work with our vendor to provide a webinar training on the updated PTMApp Web Application and what is new. Also, additional training videos will also be developed in the next 3-6 months and will be posted to the PTMApp Learning Center site.
The PTMApp Desktop model was updated earlier this year, and the latest version is available here. Two major changes were made to the model. First, the cost values associated with BMPs were updated to now include both life cycle costs and BMP establishment costs. Second, the six BMP treatment groups have been replaced by 24 specific NRCS practice types, which enhances how the model displays and characterizes BMPs. The model can be run on Arc GIS 10.5, 10.6, and Arc Pro 2.5, but BWSR will be releasing the model shortly to be compatible with Arc GIS 10.7 and 10.8, and Arc GIS Pro 2.8. If you plan to run the PTMApp model on your own in the next month, please contact Matt Drewitz directly to get a copy of the newest toolbar.
Finally, BWSR is working with MNIT@DNR to update the Travel Time Tool, which is one of the critical inputs when running the PTMApp Desktop model. An update should be completed by the end of November 2021.
Please view the detailed update for more information. BWSR will be working to develop plans for PTMApp training post-pandemic. If you have PTMApp questions or training needs, please contact Matt Drewitz, BWSR Measures and Outcomes Coordinator, or Henry Van Offelen, BWSR NW Clean Water Specialist.
A number of resources within the Optional and Example Forms section of BWSR's Grants Administration Manual (GAM) have been added or updated. These include:
- Sample Fixed Asset Template: Grantees need to know what source of funds paid for equipment as well as the current depreciation amounts when determining how to charge equipment to grants. Therefore, the equipment log has been updated and can be located here: https://bwsr.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/2021-10/Fixed_Asset_Template_Sample.xlsx
- Time and Effort Documentation Guidance for Grantees: Grant recipients are required to account for the staff time charged to BWSR grants in order to track the expenditure of grant funds and match to ensure the use of funds is consistent with applicable State and BWSR requirements. This video provides time tracking guidance.
- BWSR Billable Rates: Costs charged to BWSR grants must be direct and necessary to produce the outcomes funded by the grant. This video provides guidance on allocating costs associated with staff time, facilities and administration appropriately to BWSR grants. The format is all-inclusive, combining GAM chapter info with FAQs related to billing rates.
- Invoices/Receipts Detail: Receipts or invoices must be itemized so the reasonableness of the expense, as compared with the amount paid for similar government work in other programs, can be evaluated. This video provides guidance and examples of the information that needs to be included on receipts or invoices.