Inside this Issue:
Annual Reporting Deadline
Annual Program Reporting
Important Upcoming Dates
FY23 Clean Water Fund Grant Awards
Tell Your Story! Grant Reporting for Clean Water Fund grants
LCCMR Tree Planting Pilot
Tip of the Quarter
Information on Tools and Estimators for Annual Reporting
eLINK Update: Actions You Can Take Now
Urban Stormwater Practices Update
Lawns to Legumes - Individual Support grants
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 expire on December 31, 2022
- 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 expire December 31, 2022
Feb 15: Legacy Partners application period closes
Feb 23: Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) application period closes
March Anticipated launch of updated eLINK application
Mar 15: Website reporting deadline for grants with a website reporting component
Mar 20: FY23 CWF work plan submittal deadline
Apr 17: FY23 CWF grant execution deadline
The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) began accepting grant applications on November 17th for the Clean Water Legacy Partners Pilot Program, a new initiative that seeks to protect, enhance and restore water quality throughout the state. Eligible applicants are tribal governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
“These grants offer new opportunities to accomplish important water quality protection or restoration work,” said BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke. “We look forward to seeing the results from these partnerships through this new pilot program.”
A total of $500,000 from the Clean Water Fund is available to each of the two eligible applicant groups. Grant requests must be between $25,001 and $250,000; a non-state match of at least 10%, provided via cash or in-kind services, is required. The grants can be used for a wide range of conservation activities including urban stormwater practices, agricultural best management practices, shoreline stabilization projects, well sealing and public engagement efforts. Read more about the program in BWSR’s Snapshots newsletter.
The application period closes Feb.15, 2023. Find more information on the Apply for BWSR Grants webpage.
At its December 15th meeting, the BWSR Board approved $11.6 million in Clean Water Fund grants to fund 34 grants for the FY23 Projects and Practices, Projects and Practices – Drinking Water Subprogram, Multipurpose Drainage Management, and Soil Health programs. The amount requested during the open RFP was approximately $27 million for the four 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 20, 2023. Grant agreements will be distributed in January and must be executed no later than April 17, 2023. 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:
FY23 Competitive Clean Water Grant Funding Awarded:
Projects and Practices
Projects and Practices - Drinking Water Subprogram
Multipurpose Drainage Management
FY23 Clean Water Fund Timeline:
- June 27, 2022: Application period opened
- August 22, 2022: Application period closed
- December 15, 2022: BWSR Board authorized grant awards
- January/February 2023: BWSR grant agreements sent to recipients (proposed)
- March 20, 2023: Work plan submittal deadline
- April 17, 2023: Grant execution deadline
- December 31, 2025: Grant expiration date (grant must be completed)
Did you know that all BWSR Clean Water Fund (CWF) grant outcomes are publicly available at https://www.legacy.mn.gov? The Legacy website, maintained by the Legislative Coordinating Commission (LCC), showcases Clean Water Fund grant outcomes for interested stakeholders.
BWSR must report the proposed and actual measurable outcomes of each of its CWF grants to the Legacy website, and indicate whether the grant "achieved", "achieved most", "achieved some" or "did not achieve" the proposed outcomes from the application or work plan.
Please keep the public audience in mind as you complete annual or final reporting on your Clean Water Fund grants. The Activity Details capture quantitative information (practices and indicators), while the Actual Results can be used to clearly and succinctly tell the story of what was accomplished through the grant.
This Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) pilot project is the first major step to implement the 1-million-acre reforestation goal initially recommended by Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group (MCCAG) in 2009 and now, TNC and others. It brings together 14 SWCDs and the Mille Lacs Band with BWSR and DNR Forestry’s Private Forest Management (PFM) Program to rebuild and expand the capacity for tree planting in three priority watersheds – Rum, Long Prairie and Redeye. These watersheds are in the transitional zone of the state, where the most significant losses of historic forestland cover occurred. Converting open lands back into forests is a major decision for landowners; it will require strategic incentives combined with significant technical assistance and labor. This grant is a collaborative grant that builds on the 1W1Ps and landscape stewardship plans (LSPs) and partnership they are growing to support reforestation in more effective and efficient ways. This project will provide technical assistance to 600 landowners over the 3-year timeframe. For more information please visit the Forest Land webpage.
What activities are eligible:
- Cost share for forest stewardship plans, practice plans, tree planting.
- Staff costs for related project activities to promote tree planting on lands that were historically forested: Landowner Outreach, Technical Assistance, Coordinating Seedling Stock, Tree Planting Capacity Assessments, Progress Reporting.
- Conservation easements
- Tree planters (thru DNR)
- Site prep equipment
- Service Provider Training
- Youth Mentoring
Q: Do I need to issue a 1099 to a landowner who has received financial assistance under a grant?
A: There are instances where a 1099 is required. Consult IRS Publication 225 or your accountant for additional information.
A friendly reminder that a lot of information on a variety of models, tools, and estimators that can be used for eLINK annual reporting can be found on the BWSR website on the Water Quality Tools and Models page. In addition, there are new videos related to PTMApp that have been posted on the PTMApp Learning Center page. Specifically, see the new video on how to use PTMApp for annual reporting.
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.
Development of the forthcoming eLINK system is in its final stages, with launch anticipated for March 2023. To ease the transition, we have a couple requested housekeeping items.
First, BWSR will begin using DocuSign for Grant Agreements and Grant Amendments as soon as the new system launches, and unexecuted versions will no longer be available as downloads. Therefore, we request that any pending grant agreements or grant amendments should be returned to BWSR no later than February 15, 2023.
Second, DocuSign integration requires that your organization has one (1) Organizational Day to Day Contact, and no more than one. This person will be able to forward Grant Agreements or Amendments to another individual, e.g. a board member; but it does need to be a single initial point of contact, and this person must be an eLINK user.
You can verify your Organization's Day to Day Contact by logging into eLINK, and going to Contacts and Organizations, Organizations, and Search Organization. Search for the name of your Organization(s), and click on the adjacent edit (pencil) icon in the grid. Within the eLINK Users box, look for the "Day to day contact". If you need to change this Organization Day to Day Contact, send an email to eLINKsupport@state.mn.us.
Effective December 13, 2022, BWSR has revised the suite of urban stormwater practices available for grantees to report in eLINK in the work plan activity categories for Urban Stormwater Management and Non-Structural Management Practices. The primary purpose for the update is to better reflect the types of current stormwater management practices/technologies being implemented and provide consistency with current NRCS Field Office Technical Guide and Minnesota Stormwater Manual practices.
A more detailed summary of changes, including newly available practices, can be found at https://bwsr.state.mn.us/node/9846.
The FY23 RFP for the Habitat Enhancement Landscape Pilot (HELP) grant program was released on November 2nd, 2022. 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. Eligible applicants include Counties, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Districts and Watershed Management Organizations. More details on this or other funding opportunities, are included on the Apply for BWSR Grants page of BWSR's website.
Minnesota residents are eligible to apply for Lawns to Legumes cost-share funding of up to $350 to create pollinator habitat in their yards. The application period is open until Jan. 18, 2023, and applicants will be chosen and notified in February. Minnesota residents can apply online at Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water's website. Sign up for Lawns to Legumes program updates via GovDelivery.
Please share this opportunity with your local residents!