Inside this Issue:

Important upcoming dates
Amendments for grants expiring December 31, 2022
FY23 Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot RFP
Tip of the Quarter
FY22 CWF Competitive request summary
PTMApp updated
Disaster Relief Assistance Program
New Grants Staff
eLINK Update
Soil Health Grants Awarded

Important upcoming dates

Oct 25-27:    BWSR Academy
Nov 2:           FY23 Habitat Enhancement Landscape Program RFP opens (anticipated)
Dec 15:         Deadline to return grant amendments to BWSR for grants expiring 12/31/22
Dec 31:         Many grants expire
Feb 1:           Annual grant reporting deadline     

Amendments for grants expiring December 31, 2022

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, 2022. This deadline allows time for BWSR to sign and execute the amendment and process it in eLINK before the end-of-year holidays, when staff capacity may be limited.

FY23 Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot Request for Proposals

The FY23 RFP for the Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) grant program is anticipated to open on November 2nd, 2022, pending BWSR Board approval. This program is focused on restoring and enhancing strategically located, diverse native habitat across Minnesota on conservation lands and natural areas to benefit populations of pollinators and beneficial insects.

For more details on this or other funding opportunities, watch for updates on the Apply for Grants page of BWSR's website on or after November 2nd.

Tip of the Quarter

Q. How often can the billing rates change given staffing changes or wage increases?

A. Billing rates should be evaluated annually, but may be recalculated more often to reflect changes in costs or employees. To learn more about billing rates, please visit the Determining a Billing Rate chapter of the BWSR Grants Administration Manual.


FY23 CWF Competitive request summary

The RFP for FY23 Clean Water Fund (CWF) Competitive grant programs closed on August 22nd, 2022, and are currently in review. BWSR received a total of 68 applications, with requests totaling $27,018,388.97.

FY23 Competitive Clean Water Grant Funding Requested:

Program Name Total Number
of Requests
Projects and Practices 52 $24,550,759.12
Projects and Practices - Drinking Water 8 $993,089.00
Multipurpose Drainage Management 5 $645,040.85
Soil Health 3 $829,500.00

Prioritize Measure Application (PTMApp) Program Updates

A significant number of updates have been made to PTMApp in 2021 and 2022. Information on PTMApp can be found on the BWSR website here:  Below are a few of those updates:

PTMApp GIS Desktop Model Updates:

  • Optimized for use in Arc Pro software version 2.8
    • Note:  BWSR is considering only supporting Arc Pro in future iterations of the desktop model
  • Practices broken down by individual NRCS Practice types instead of the original 6 treatment groups. For more information, go to the PTMApp Theory and Documentation page and read the Benefits Analysis Technical Memorandum.
  • Updates to the economics of practices to look at useful life total costs (ULTC).  See recently published paper from the International Water Institute.
  • Updated PTMApp model manuals on the Theory and Documentation Page.
  • Updated Travel Time tool from MNIT@DNR posted to the MnGEO Commons (July 2022) and available for use in creating the Travel Time raster input data set for PTMApp desktop.

PTMApp Web Application Updates:

  • Creation of new watershed data and updates to several existing datasets to the newest version of the PTMApp Model.
  • Addition of new Support Layers to the interactive map.
  • Development of the Scenario Builder tool that takes the user through a step wise process to filter out practices, create reports, and export tabular and GIS datasets.

Training Material Updates:

Recently 4 new training videos were added to the PTMApp Learning Center page:

  • PTMApp Web Interactive Map Overview: Learn the basics for navigating the interactive map and view new user-friendly features that have been added in the latest version of the application.
  • PTMApp Web Scenario Builder - Part 1: Discover all the functions of the PTMApp Scenario builder from creating a basic scenario to exporting data and reports. 
  • PTMApp Web Scenario Builder - Part 2: This video builds on Part 1 by demonstrating how to modify to default inputs of the Scenario Builder to customize outputs from the application. 
  • PTMApp Web Scenario Builder - Pivot Table Creation: Learn how to export data from the Scenario Builder module into a .csv file that can be brought into Microsoft Excel to create pivot tables to quickly sort and analyze your conservation practice data.

Future Work and Releases:

  • PTMApp Desktop
    • Fall 2022: Addition of a tool to clip and package of GIS data by priority resource point.  This will be helpful for Arc GIS users in preparing the data to be used in your own GIS environment.  
    • Fall 2022: A new add-on module that allows you to estimate the water quality benefits of your own existing or planned conservation practices.
    • Fall 2022: Process for developing a spreadsheet from PTMApp data that allows streamlined WBIF grant reporting on water quality benefits.
    • 2023: Add the newest version of the Desktop Model GIS toolbar, which is compatible with the latest versions of Arc Pro software and updated manuals.
  • PTMApp Web
    • Fall 2022:  A few new and updated watersheds (Lac qui Parle, Upper Minnesota, Roseau, and Winona-La Crescent) are slated to be added.
    • Winter 2022:  Minor web application enhancements and addition of new or updated watershed data.
  • Training: 
    • Focus on PTMApp web application training over the next 12 months.  Look for online training later in 2022.
    • If you or a group of staff are looking for training on running the PTMApp model, please contact BWSR for more information

Additional videos on using the PTMApp Web Application to derive environmental outcomes for eLINK reporting will be added later in 2022 after the updated eLINK system has been deployed. 

For more information, contact Matt Drewitz, BWSR Measures and Outcomes Coordinator, at or 507-766-5020.

Disaster Relief Assistance Program 

The Disaster Relief Assistance Program (DRAP) provides technical and financial assistance to local government units in the event of a declared disaster and other extreme environmental impacts. These funds address installation or repair of erosion and sediment control and water quality and watershed protection projects. The DRAP is authorized by Minnesota Statutes §12A.05 to address critical conservation problems resulting from a presidentially declared disaster.

Disasters and emergency legislative funding occur frequently and usually unpredictably. These characteristics require a standard operating procedure for BWSR and local government staff to follow to optimize efficiencies, responsiveness, and use of legislative appropriations. In the event of a disaster, DRAP program policy and guidance will provide BWSR and local government staff the needed implementation information and related processes of BWSR and other state and federal assistance providers.

To learn more about the DRAP and policy, please visit the BWSR DRAP website: Disaster Recovery Assistance Program MN Board of Water, Soil Resources.


New BWSR Grants Staff

BWSR is thrilled to have two new additions to our grants staff. Please give a warm welcome to James Adkinson and Christa Branham-MacLennan!

Picture of James Adkinson, BWSR's Grants Coordinator

James Adkinson, Grants Coordinator

James brings over 15 years of experience in comprehensive grants management. He comes

to BWSR from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) where he was a grants coordinator and contracts manager since 2018. Prior to his work at MDH, James worked for several non-profit organizations including Serve Minnesota, National MS Society, and Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa.

Christa Branham-MacLennan, eLINK Data Specialist

Christa Branham-MacLennan, eLINK Data Specialist

Christa brings over 20 years of customer service experience and skills in analysis and testing in Microsoft systems. She comes to BWSR from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office where she was the Lead in the Notary and UCC/CNS division for 7 years. Prior to her work at OSS, Christa worked for Financial Institutions for 7 years.


eLINK Update

BWSR and its vendor have been working on an update to eLINK, BWSR's grants management and conservation tracking tool. We are currently targeting February 2023 for launch, following the annual February 1st reporting deadline. The exact date will be communicated closer to launch, and will be timed to minimize business disruption to all eLINK users.

How can I get involved in testing?

If you are interested in testing the forthcoming system, let us know! Having user testing from a wide variety of current system users--from novice to expert, and across different organization types--will ensure the system is working as smoothly as possible before it goes live. The only requirement is that you are an active, eligible system user.

We know your time is valuable, and will generally try to keep tests as short as possible so that you can opt into as many or as few testing opportunities as you like.

Please email with the subject line "Testing". If you have already signed up to be part of our tester group, you do not need to sign up again.

How can I get my data ready?

There are a couple of actions that can help make the transition to the new system easier for your organization.

First, we encourage users to access their unexecuted grant agreements and grant amendments, and return those to BWSR promptly. We will be using DocuSign in the new system for all future grant agreements. Accessing, downloading, and returning any unexecuted agreements or amendments will ensure you do not encounter any access issues.

Additionally, we encourage grantees to begin and complete their annual reporting early, so that they can access help if they need it. Having all of your reporting completed accurately and on time will ease the data migration process, and ensure that payment requests are not delayed.

Soil Health Grants Awarded

The Minnesota Legislature allocated both Clean Water Fund and General Fund dollars for the implementation of soil health practices during the FY22/FY23 biennium.  BWSR is excited to announce that these funds have been awarded or are in the process of being awarded.

Clean Water Fund Soil Health Grants

Roughly $3.5 million is available to provide funding for grants to farmers [via local government units] who own or rent land to enhance the adoption of cover crops and other soil health practices in areas where there are direct benefits to public water supplies.  Priority for this program will be given to new adoption and understanding of soil health practices through the following efforts:

  • Building local knowledge;
  • Facilitating partnership;
  • Demonstrating clean water benefits;
  • Identifying methods to increase long-term adoption of soil health practices; and
  • Scope and scale of implementation efforts in locally prioritized areas that show a direct benefit to public water supplies.

There have been two rounds of competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) in calendar year 2022.  The first grants were awarded in August while the second round are tentatively scheduled to be awarded in December. 

These grants will utilize the FY22 Clean Water Fund Policy (first round) and the FY23 Clean Water Fund Policy (second round).  Distribution of funds to grantees will be in a 50/40/10 split.  Work plan approval and return of the locally signed grant agreement will be required prior to execution of the grant agreement.  The grant agreement expiration date will be December 31, 2025.

General Fund Soil Health Cost Share Grants

Roughly $1.35 million allocated to BWSR to be made available as grants to Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) to be used for activities that further the adoption of practices that improve soil health. 

This is a noncompetitive grant program that will provide SWCDs just over $14,000 for the implementation of core soil health practices and associated technical and administrative responsibilities. 

These grants will utilize a combination of the Soil Health Cost Share Policy and the FY22 Erosion Control and Water Management Policy (commonly referred to as the State Cost Share Policy).  Distribution of funds to grantees will be via 100% advance payment.  Work plan approval and return of the locally signed grant agreement will be required prior to execution of the grant agreement.  The grant agreement expiration date will be December 31, 2024.