Inside this Issue:
Annual Reporting Deadline
Annual Program Reporting
Important Upcoming Dates
RFPs for Cooperative Weed Management and HELP programs
FY22 Clean Water Fund Grant Awards
Buffer Cost Share funds still available
Tip of the Quarter
Water Erosion Pollution Estimator Spreadsheet Training Videos
BWSR's February 1st annual reporting deadline is right around the corner. A number of administrative activities are subject to this deadline, including:
- Final reporting on grants that expired on December 31, 2021
- Annual reports for most open grants
- Annual program activity reports
BWSR's website hosts a number of resources to assist you with your reporting, which is done in the eLINK system. In addition to eLINK guidance videos and documents, the Grants Administration Manual, and materials on the Program Reporting page of BWSR's website, we recommend the following resources:
Reference your grant agreements and any amendments to determine the reporting requirements and deadlines as they apply to the specific grants your organization has received.
BWSR encourages grantees to begin working on reporting activities well before the deadline so that you can access help if you need it. Contact your Board Conservationist with grant-specific reporting questions, and direct eLINK-related questions to eLINKsupport@state.mn.us.
In addition to eLINK grant reporting, several program reports are also due on February 1st. These include:
- BWSR Ditch Buffer Strip Annual Report
- BWSR WCA Annual Reporting Form
- DNR Shoreland Activity
- MPCA SSTS
Reporting forms for WCA and Ditch Buffer Strip will be available on BWSR’s website. DNR and MPCA reporting forms and guidance will originate from those respective agencies.
Feb 1: Deadline for reporting on grants that expired December 31, 2021
Mar 15: Website reporting deadline for grants with a website reporting component
Mar 18: FY22 CWF work plan submittal deadline
RFPs for Cooperative Weed Management and Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) programs now open
RFPs for the Cooperative Weed Management and Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) programs are now open. More details can be found on the Apply for BWSR Grants page of BWSR's website.
At its December 16th meeting, the BWSR Board approved $12.7 million in Clean Water Fund grants to fund 29 grants for the FY22 Projects and Practices, Projects and Practices – Drinking Water Subprogram, and Multipurpose Drainage Management programs. The amount requested during the open RFP was $22 million for the three programs.
Applications were reviewed by an interagency team comprised of staff from BWSR, DNR, MDA, MDH and MPCA.
Successful applicants were notified via email and have begun work planning in order to receive allocated grant dollars. The deadline to submit work plans for approval is March 15th, 2022. Grant agreements will be distributed in January and must be executed no later than April 6, 2022. Please ensure that the day-to-day contact for the organization and the grant is up to date in eLINK to ensure timely grant execution.
More details on workplan and reporting requirements can be found in their Grant Profiles:
- Projects and Practices
- Projects and Practices – Drinking Water Subprogram
- Multipurpose Drainage Management
FY22 Competitive Clean Water Grant Funding Awarded:
BWSR Projects and Practices
|Up to $12,000,000||
Projects and Practices - Drinking Water subprogram
|Up to 20% of total Projects and Practices funding amount ($2,400,000)||$800,500||$325,500|
BWSR Multipurpose Drainage Management
|Up to $750,000||$1,035,362||$748,546|
FY22 Clean Water Fund Timeline:
- June 30, 2021: Application period opened
- August 17, 2021: Application period closed
- December 16, 2021: BWSR Board authorized grant awards
- February 2022: BWSR grant agreements sent to recipients (proposed)
- March 18, 2022: Work plan submittal deadline
- April 8, 2022: Grant execution deadline
- December 31, 2024: Grant expiration date (grant must be completed)
Buffer Cost Share funds are still available to SWCDs on a first come, first served basis via a funding request in eLINK. These funds may be used for project-ready practices to bring willing landowners into compliance. Funding should not be requested for projects which do not have willing landowners.
Monthly batching periods open on the first business day of the month, and close at 4:30 pm on the last calendar day of the month. Funds will be available to request until all funds have been issued or May 31, 2022, whichever comes first. These grant funds will be subject to the current Clean Water Fund Grant Policy (https://bwsr.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/2021-09/FY22_CWF_Competitive Grant Policy.pdf). All grant awards will expire June 30, 2023, with no option for extensions. Please consult with your Board Conservationist on potential projects before submitting a request, so they understand the project need and readiness.
Q: How can organizations account for part time employees when determining a billing rate?
A: For part-time permanent employees, enter the hours to be worked by the employee, in terms of a part of a full-time equivalent (FTE), in the Yearly Hours Worked box on the billing rate template (i.e. if the employee is employed at ½ FTE, enter 1044 in the Yearly Hours Worked box). For short-term seasonal/intern employees, you have the option to include them on the billing rate template or use the modified base rate (wages, benefits, and leave) to charge their time worked to grants.
BWSR has supported four spreadsheet estimators for over 20 years and information on these estimators can be found here https://bwsr.state.mn.us/water-quality-tools-and-models under Common Pollution Reduction Estimators. These estimators include Sheet and Rill, Stream and Ditch, Gully, and Filter Strip. Three new videos training modules have been recently added to this site and include:
- Module 3: Best Practices for using the BWSR Gully Estimator
- Module 4: Best Practices for using the BWSR Stream and Ditch Bank Estimator
- Module 5: Determining Contributing and Applied Acres for the BWSR Estimator Sheet and Rill Erosion Estimator
If you have questions in using these estimators, please contact Matt Drewitz, BWSR Measures and Outcomes Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need to return grant funds at closeout, there are a couple of additional steps required. After completing all reporting--including final expenditures--within the workplan activities area of eLINK, create a progress report of type "Final report with funds to return to BWSR". Before submitting the report, be sure to generate a Returned Funds report. If you forget to generate this report at the progress report stage, you can also generate it from the Quick Reports box on the eLINK home screen.
Make out the check with returned funds to BWSR, and return the check along with the returned funds form to BWSR at the address indicated on the form. Returning the form with the check helps us attribute the funds to the right grant.
BWSR does not need a copy of the financial form returned with the check; this should be uploaded into eLINK.