Program and Grants Guidance - FY1997 and Future Years - Grants
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- IV. GRANTS
- A. Funding Process
- B. Grant Eligibility
- C. Criteria That Apply to the Award of Section 319 Grants
- D. Reporting Requirements to be Included in all Grants
- V. MANAGEMENT AND OVERSIGHT OF SECTION 319(h) GRANTS
- VI. GRANTS TO INDIAN TRIBES
A fundamental principle of this guidance is that States should have the flexibility to use section 319 grant funds in a manner that they determine will best implement their nonpoint source management programs effectively to achieve the vision established at the beginning of this guidance and to achieve the specific goals and objectives established in their State nonpoint source management programs. Moreover, EPA and States will continue to reduce administrative responsibilities to the lowest level possible to assure that the funds are being used effectively and in a legally appropriate manner.
A. Funding Process
1. General Approach to Awarding Funds
Beginning in FY 1997, EPA will no longer use a competitive process for awarding section 319 grants. Rather, EPA will use the allocation formula presented in Appendix G to determine the amount to be awarded to each State (this formula remains unchanged from previous guidance but may be updated in the future to reflect up-to-date statistics). Each year, the Congressional appropriation for section 319 will be multiplied by the applicable percentage presented in Appendix G to determine each State's allocation for that year. As soon as the annual section 319 appropriation is made by Congress, EPA Headquarters will immediately notify the EPA Regional offices of each State's allocation, and the Regions will immediately notify the States.
Consistent with historical practice, EPA will continue to award all appropriated section 319 funds under section 319(h) and will not award separate grants under section 319(i), "grants for protecting ground water quality". Ground-water protection projects and activities will continue to be funded under section 319(h).
2. Expedited Schedule
In FY 1994 and 1995, EPA and the States gradually expedited the section 319 grants award schedule to provide for awarding the grants by February 1. This guidance further expedites this schedule over FY 1997 and 1998. By FY 1998 at the latest, the schedule will provide for award of the grants by October 1, thus making the 319 award date compatible with the October 1 date used to award water pollution control grants to States under sections 106 and 604(b) of the CWA. The schedules for FY 1997 and for FY 1998 and beyond are presented in Appendix D.
A primary advantage of further expediting the section 319(h) grant award process is to bring section 319 grants into a cycle consistent with other State grant programs for water, especially funding under sections 106 and 604(b) of the Clean Water Act. These grant programs initiate planning in the Spring based on the President's budget request for the next fiscal year. Several other advantages for expediting the 319(h) grant award schedule include:
- ability to use grant funds in the same year in which they were appropriated; avoiding missing an entire construction season and/or cropping season; and
- maintaining momentum and enthusiasm for implementation projects at the local level.
A few States may determine that it is in their best interest or infeasible not to combine section 319 and other grants and not to expedite their grants award schedules. In that case, the Region and State may agree on a different schedule, but in every case, this different schedule should be based on an open, collaborative discussion and be based on the needs of the State.
In all cases, Federal funds need to be put to work expeditiously, so States are strongly encouraged to expedite award schedules.
3. Six-Step Process
The following process will generally be used to award all section 319 grants. However, Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States will be accorded priority for negotiating multi-year work plans, which will further reduce administrative costs for those States. (Note: Please see Appendix D for the schedules for this six-step process.)
Step 1: EPA provides a planning target to each State.
Step 2: States submit draft grant applications, including a draft work plan.
Each State will submit a draft grant application, including a draft work plan. As part of the draft work plan, each State should submit a brief (3-4 paragraph) introductory narrative explaining the State's strategy for using section 319 funds in the current fiscal year.
Each Region will work closely and collaboratively with each State at this stage to promote the development and submission of high-quality work plans that: (1) conform to all applicable legal requirements of section 319, 40 CFR Part 31, and 40 CFR Part 35, Subpart A, and the requirements of OMB Circulars A-87, A-102, and A-110; and (2) are consistent with the goals, objectives and priorities in the State nonpoint source management program.
Work plans should briefly but clearly describe each significant category of activity (e.g., 2 pages) each, the funding to be used to accomplish each activity, the roles of various local, State and Federal partners in completing each activity, and the outputs to be produced by performance of the activity. This will not only assure that the State and EPA have shared expectations, but will also assure that the State's subsequent performance can be assessed objectively. Outputs for activities should always be quantified, as described below in Section IV-C and Appendix B.
Work programs for lengthy projects (i.e., multi-year projects) should include both interim milestones and final dates for completion of activities. Interim milestones should be sufficiently frequent to assure timely performance throughout the project period, so that the State can identify problems and correct them expeditiously.
EPA is committed to providing States great flexibility in determining their own priorities and methods for choosing and implementing watershed projects. Therefore, EPA is reducing its request for specific information about watershed projects to the minimum that is needed by EPA to: (1) carry out its legal fiduciary responsibilities of (a) determining that expenditures are necessary, eligible, and reasonable and (b) tracking expenditures and rates of expenditures to assure that they are consistent with the grant, and (2) assure that the State and EPA will mutually be able to assess the success of grant activities in meeting State program goals.
Therefore, for significant watershed projects (those whose costs exceed $50,000), the State should submit a brief (e.g., 2-3 page) synopsis of its watershed implementation plan. This synopsis should outline the problem to be addressed; the project's goals and objectives; the lead implementing agency and other agencies that will be authorized to expend project funds; the types of measures or practices that will be implemented; the projected implementation schedule; and the environmental indicators and/or other performance measures that will be used to evaluate the success of the project. (Appendix C contains more information on these elements of well-designed watershed implementation plans.)
Step 3: Regions conduct their reviews of State applications
The Region will review each State's application and meet or conduct a telephone conversation with each State to resolve any technical or administrative issues. Following this collaboration, Regions should provide a written reply to the State. The Regional response should include written comments on the State's application, paying particular attention to applicable legal requirements and its consistency with the goals, objectives, and priorities established in the State management program. The written reply should also include any agreements reached with States concerning additional steps the State will take to become a Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits State.
For Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States, the scope of EPA Regional reviews of grant applications will be as limited as possible, and be highly deferential to State judgements, priorities, and chosen means of implementation. For Enhanced Benefits States, EPA's review of the section 319 nonpoint source grant applications will focus primarily on assuring that it meets legal minimums and that it does not contain significant errors.
Step 4: States submit final work plans and grant applications to EPA Regions
Step 5: Regions award grants
Each Region will review its States' final work plans. If a State's work programs meet all applicable requirements, the Region will award the final grant as quickly as possible. Where issues remain, the Region will elevate discussions to more senior management levels quickly to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the problem. In the unlikely event that funds cannot be fully awarded to a particular State, they must be returned to the Region for reallocation by August 1 of the fiscal year for which funds are appropriated.
Step 6: States obligate funds
States will obligate the awarded funds as quickly as possible and conduct funded activities according to the schedules in approved work plan. EPA has interpreted section 319(h)(6) to provide that section 319(h) funds granted to a State shall remain available for obligation by the State for one year from the grant award. For example, grant funds awarded to a State on December 1, 1996, remain available for obligation until December 1, 1997. The amount of any such funds that cannot be obligated by one year from the grant award shall be available to EPA for granting to other States. Regions should include grant condition language calling for the grant recipient to award all proposed contracts and interagency agreements within one year after the grant award.
The term "obligate" does not mean to "expend." It means that the State must commit the section 319(h) funds to be expended. EPA defines an "obligation (by a recipient)" as "the amount of funds which a recipient legally earmarks for expenditure through orders placed, payrolls, subagreements awarded, travel authorizations, and other transactions."
4. Multi-Year Work Plans
EPA will place high priority upon developing multi-year work plans for section 319 grants for Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States. For example, the State may wish to present a three-year work plan which would guide the State's grant activities for the next three years. This work plan, when approved by EPA, would not have to be resubmitted and reapproved except to the extent that the State wishes to change it to address new circumstances. This approach will reduce paper work and will improve the State's ability to engage in long-term planning and implementation with respect to both programmatic activities and specific watershed projects. These Enhanced Benefits States will, however retain the option of developing aspects of their programs or projects on an annual basis where it deems appropriate.
States which have not been recognized as Nonpoint Source Benefits States may also work with EPA to develop multi-year work plans for certain components of their grants. However, until a State is recognized as a Enhanced Benefits State, it is likely that most of its activities will require a more careful evaluation by EPA and that a new grant work plan will be required for the coming year.
5. "M Account" Funds and Transfer of Funds Between Projects
Section 319 funds appropriated in FY 1990, FY 1991, and FY 1992 are subject to restrictions (often referred to as "M account" restrictions) which automatically cause these appropriations to expire seven years after the date of appropriation. Any unspent funds remain in the U.S. Treasury and are no longer available to EPA or the State. States and EPA Regions should take the necessary actions to be sure unspent funds from these years are transferred to other projects before expiration (e.g., for FY 1990 funds, before September 30, 1996).
To increase rates of expenditure of older funds such as "M Account" funds and to reduce paperwork requirements, some States have suggested that the process for transferring funds between projects funded in different years be simplified and streamlined. EPA is exploring whether necessary modifications to allow such transfers could and should be made. Supplementary guidance may be issued on this subject in the future.
B. Grant Eligibility
Section 319 grant funds are to be directed towards the vision that all States implement dynamic and effective programs designed to achieve and maintain beneficial uses of water. Approved State nonpoint source management programs provide the framework for determining what activities are eligible for funding under section 319(h). Therefore, States may use section 319 funds for nonregulatory or regulatory programs for enforcement, technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects.
1. Revising Management Programs and Assessments
In addition to the eligible activities listed above, States may use section 319 funds to update and refocus their State nonpoint source management programs and nonpoint source assessments to improve program effectiveness. To assist States in these efforts, States may use up to 20 percent of their section 319(h) funds or $250,000, whichever is less, to update and refine their programs and assessments.
In refining their programs to reflect the most pressing needs and highest-priority water quality problems in the State, States may need to carry out additional activities and analyses. Based on the key elements of State programs that are described in the preceding section of this guidance, program revisions that may be supported with section 319 grants include: establishing appropriate indicator and milestones to gauge program progress; developing total maximum daily loads and other watershed-scale strategies to reduce nonpoint source pollution; focusing on determination of the most effective measures and practices to abate or prevent nonpoint pollution; strengthening links with Federal land management agencies; developing enhanced processes to involve public, private, and Federal partners in the design and implementation of State nonpoint source management programs; and instituting systems to assess program effectiveness and make appropriate revisions.
In addition, States may need to carry out a number of activities that have generally been associated with nonpoint source assessments. For example, States may require additional assessment work either as part of specific watershed projects, or as part of an overall Statewide, regional, or ecoregional effort. Such additional assessment work will enable States to more clearly identify and prioritize their nonpoint source problems, evaluate the effectiveness of their nonpoint source management programs, and measure progress toward environmental goals.
2. Ground-Water Activities
Ground-water activities are eligible for section 319(h) grants to the extent that they are identified directly in the State's nonpoint source management program or through incorporation in the management program by reference to the State's Ground-Water Protection Strategy or Comprehensive State Ground-Water Protection Program. If such activities are not currently included in the State's nonpoint source management program, the program should be amended to include them.
3. Urban Storm Water Runoff
Section 319 funds may be used to fund any urban storm water activities that are not specifically required by a draft or final NPDES permit. EPA has issued several regulations defining what activities are subject to the NPDES permit requirements of section 402(p)(2) of the CWA. The most significant of these was the publication of permit application requirements in November 1990 for "Phase I" storm water dischargers, that is, municipal separate storm sewers serving large or medium-sized populations (greater than 250,000 or 100,000 people, respectively), and storm water discharges associated with industrial activity. See 55 FR 47990.
EPA is currently in the process of determining what storm water discharges will be covered by "Phase II" of the storm water program. Until EPA issues regulations specifying what additional storm water discharges are subject to NPDES permit application requirements, States may use section 319(h) funds for those urban storm water discharges that are not addressed by existing, Phase I storm water program requirements. These include both Phase II discharges as well as aspects of Phase I activities that support but do not directly implement activities required by Phase I permits.
EPA and the States recognize the benefits of integrating nonpoint source funds and storm water activities as much as is legally allowable. Listed below are a variety of urban runoff management activities that could be eligible for section 319(h) funding.
- Technical assistance to State and local storm water programs;
- Monitoring needed to design and evaluate the effectiveness of implementation strategies;
- Best management practices for pollution prevention and runoff control (except for BMPs required by a draft or final NPDES permit);
- Information and education programs;
- Technology transfer and training; and
- Development and implementation of regulations, policies, and local ordinances to address storm water runoff. (These may apply to areas covered by NPDES permits, provided that the regulations, policies and ordinances apply to non-permitted areas as well.)
Historically, urban storm water management control efforts have focused on water drainage problems i.e., water quantity. Now many storm water control BMPs are designed to control both water quantity and water quality. Section 319(h) funds may be used to assist in the incremental funding of certain water quality components of such practices, except as described below.
Section 319(h) nonpoint source control funds may not be used to implement specific requirements of draft or final NPDES storm water permits, nor to implement permit application requirements of EPA's storm water regulations. For example, section 319(h) funds may not be used to meet permit application requirements such as mapping storm water systems, identifying illicit connections, characterizing storm water discharges, or monitoring required by permits. Section 319(h) grant funds may not be used to pay for BMPs or "end of pipe" treatments which are required as part of a draft or final NPDES permit.
These prohibitions are based on the statutory limitations on the use of section 319 funds, including Congressional intent that these funds be used to address nonpoint sources, rather than permitted point sources. Congress determined that permitted point sources (other than publicly owned treatment works that obtained construction grants under section 212 of the CWA) would generally comply with NPDES permit requirements without Federal financial assistance.
4. Abandoned Mine Lands
As in the case of urban storm water regulated by NPDES permits, many abandoned mine land reclamation projects that are designed to protect water quality are eligible for section 319 funding, except section 319 funds may not be used to implement specific requirements in a draft or final NPDES permit. For example, section 319 funds cannot be used to build treatment systems required by an NPDES permit for an inactive mine, but they may be used to fund a variety of other remediation activities at the same mine. Examples of fundable activities include:
- Remediation of water pollution from abandoned mines that have not yet been issued a draft or final permit;
- Remediation of water pollution from portions of abandoned mine sites that are not covered by a draft or final permit;
- Mapping and planning remediation at abandoned mine land sites;
- Monitoring needed to design and evaluate the effectiveness of implementation strategies;
- Technical assistance to State and local abandoned mine land programs;
- Information and education programs;
Technology transfer and training; and
- Development and implementation of policies to address abandoned mine lands.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service and local soil conservation districts have a vast array of on-the-ground experience in the area of rural abandoned mine lands. In addition, the Office of Surface Mining has a 10% set-aside from its Abandoned Mine Land program to address water quality from abandoned mines.
5. Lake Protection and Restoration Activities
Lake protection and restoration activities are eligible for funding under Section 319(h) to the same extent, and subject to the same criteria, as activities to protect and restore other types of waterbodies from nonpoint source pollution. States are encouraged to use Section 319 funding for eligible activities that might have been funded in previous years under Section 314 of the Clean Water Act. However, Section 319 funds should not be used for in-lake work, such as aquatic macrophyte harvesting or dredging, unless the sources of pollution have been addressed sufficiently to assure that the pollution being remediated will not recur.
C. Criteria That Apply to the Award of Section 319 Grants
Section 319 grants must meet certain statutory, regulatory and other administrative criteria that have been established to assure that section 319 funds are used in a fiscally prudent manner. All section 319 grants must be consistent with applicable provisions of EPA's general grant regulations, 40 CFR Part 31, Part 35 Subpart A, and the Agency's guidance on Performance Partnership Grants. The most important of these criteria are discussed below.
1. The Work Plan Must Demonstrate That Each Funded Element Will Implement Specific Activities Identified in the Approved Management Program
Section 319(h) of the CWA provides that section 319(h) grants are to be made "for the purpose of assisting the State in implementing such management program." The grant work program must therefore "implement" the approved nonpoint source management program; each funded program activity or project will in fact lead to accomplishment of identified management program objectives. Grant work plans should link the funded activities or projects to the relevant element or elements of the States nonpoint source management program. (Specific ground-water protection activities that are not described in the nonpoint source management program are eligible if the activities are included in a State's Ground-Water Protection Strategy or Comprehensive Program, and the State's nonpoint source management program makes reference to these documents or programs.) Work plans should also indicate which Federal, State and local agencies are responsible for implementing each project or activity.
2. Section 319 Grants Must be Awarded as Continuing Environmental Program Grants
All section 319(h) grants should be awarded as continuing environmental program grants, consistent with 40 CFR, Part 35, Subpart A. Section 319(h) grants have some unique administrative characteristics i.e., multi-year vs. one-year budget and project periods, which are different from other EPA continuing environmental grant programs.
Unlike most other continuing environmental grants, section 319(h) grants are not required to be closed out annually. Regions are encouraged to award new continuing environmental program grants each year rather than to add funds to an existing State grant through amendments. This should allow for greater program accountability over the multi-year duration of these grants. The Regions must also ensure that all existing State grants are properly closed out at the conclusion of the project period.
3. The Non-Federal Share Must Be At Least 40 Percent
Section 319(h)(3) provides that the Federal share shall not exceed 60 percent of the management program implementation cost and shall be made on the condition that the non-Federal share is provided from non-Federal sources. The match need not be on an item-by-item basis, but rather should be a single figure that covers the entire non-Federal share of the costs for implementation activities. The non-Federal match does not need to be contributed at the time of the grant award but the funds must be contributed in a timely manner as needed to meet the schedules established in work plan milestones. EPA Regions must verify that grantees have satisfied the match requirements upon review and submittal of the grantee's final financial status report.
4. Section 319 May Provide Cost Sharing to Individuals Only in the Case of Demonstration Projects
Section 319(h)(7) provides that States may use section 319(h) funds to provide financial assistance to individuals only if the costs are related to implementing "demonstration projects." This provision indicates that Congress did not intend for section 319 funding to be used for general cost sharing to individuals to support the implementation of BMPs. However, this does not mean that a project may be funded only in one location. A similar approach may need to be demonstrated in many locations to indicate its widespread utility in a variety of hydro-geological and sociological settings. Moreover, projects should be demonstration in a variety of locations so that they may in fact be demonstrated meaningfully to others who may wish to avail themselves of the same approaches used in the projects.
In particular, EPA does not believe that Congress intended to preclude the funding of demonstration watershed projects that may require cost-sharing a particular practice or set of practices at a number of sites within the watershed in order to demonstrate the overall effectiveness of the adopted approach in solving the water quality problem.
To ensure widespread implementation of best management practices in a demonstration project in a high-priority watershed, States may supplement Section 319 cost-share to individuals with additional cost-share from State funds. Where such an approach is followed, the total cost-share to an individual from section 319, State and other Federal (e.g. USDA) funds must not exceed 100% of the total cost of the practice and be in compliance with all other applicable funding requirements.
5. States Must Maintain their Level of Effort
Section 319(h)(9) of the CWA requires any State applying for section 319 grants to establish and maintain its aggregate annual level of State nonpoint source pollution control expenditures for improving water quality at the average level of such expenditures in FY 1985 and 1986. This is referred to as the State's "Maintenance of Effort" (MOE) requirement. States should establish their FY 1985 and 1986 level and annual levels based on expenditures by the lead State agency or agencies responsible for the State's nonpoint source pollution control activities. Federal funds may not be included in calculating the MOE base level.
- Calculation of expenditures is based on activities of the State lead nonpoint source agency or agencies responsible for the State's nonpoint source pollution control activities, not on what might be termed related activities of other State agencies with primary missions other than nonpoint source control. For example, if the State water quality agency and agricultural agency both have specific nonpoint source water quality control programs, these should be counted in the MOE. State soil conservation programs having water quality improvement or maintenance as a primary objective also should be included in a State's MOE.
- The MOE base level or annual level cannot include the MOE or matching expenditures for other Federal programs, such as sections 106, 319, 205(j)(5), 314, and 117.
- Determination of whether the State expenditures meet the MOE level for purposes of awarding a section 319(h) grant will be based on the grantee expenditures projected in the grant application. (The State will report whether it has met its MOE requirements in its final Financial Status Report at the end of the budget year.)
See memorandum Nonpoint Source FY-88-39, issued by EPA's Office of Water on July 12, 1988 for additional guidance regarding MOEs.
6. Administrative Costs Funded by Section 319 Funds May Not Exceed 10% of the Grant Award
Pursuant to section 319(h)(12), administrative costs in the form of salaries, overhead, or indirect costs for services provided and charged against activities and programs carried out with the grant shall not exceed 10 percent of the grant award. The costs of implementing enforcement and regulatory activities, education, training, technical assistance, demonstration projects, and technology transfer are not subject to this limitation.
7. The State Must Demonstrate Satisfactory Progress
Section 319(h)(8) provides that no section 319 grant may be made unless EPA determines that the State has made satisfactory progress during the previous fiscal year in meeting the schedule of milestones specified by the State in its nonpoint source management program. The Region will determine, based on review of annual reports, other documents and discussions with the State, whether the State's progress for the previous fiscal year was satisfactory.
D. Reporting Requirements to be Included in all Grants
All section 319(h) grants are subject to EPA's general grant regulations, 40 CFR Parts 31 and 35, which specify a variety of basic grant reporting requirements for awarding grants to States and localities. The unified grant regulations, 40 CFR Part 31.40 in particular, outline a range of administrative reporting requirements, including performance and financial reports.
Section 319(h) contains additional provisions relating to reporting. These include: (1) section 319(h)(10), which authorizes EPA to request information, data and reports as necessary to determine a State's continuing eligibility to receive section 319 grants; and (2) section 319(h)(11), which requires States to report annually on their progress in meeting milestones, and to report available information on reductions of nonpoint source pollutant loadings and on improvements to water quality resulting from implementation of nonpoint source management programs.
Regions and States should work together to assure that appropriate reporting requirements are incorporated into each grant, either through specific grant conditions, or within the actual work program document (see Appendix F for generic grant condition language. The specific reporting requirements reflected in that language are discussed immediately below). The Regions and States are encouraged to assess the effectiveness of the reporting process and determine annually if adjustments or modifications are necessary and mutually beneficial.
In general, reporting should be sufficiently detailed to enable a reviewer to ascertain whether outputs and milestones are being achieved on schedule, to identify any problems that may be developing in carrying out tasks in the grant work plan, to identify corrective actions to address such problems expeditiously, and to adequately account for all Federal funds expended.
1. Basic Reporting Requirements
Recipients of funds awarded under section 319(h) of the CWA are required by applicable laws and regulations to provide information to EPA under the following reporting categories described below: (a) performance reports; (b) nonpoint source program progress grant reports; and (c) financial status reports.
Grantee Performance Reports. 40 CFR section 31.40(b)(1) requires States to submit performance reports on the status of section 319(h) grants. In general, States should submit these reports on a semi-annual basis by a date agreed to by the Region and the State. An abbreviated two or three page report per grant should generally suffice to meet this requirement. Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States should submit performance reports only once per year.
In addition, final reports are due 90 days after the expiration or termination of grant support, pursuant to 40 CFR Part 31.
Performance reports should include at a minimum:
- Performance/Milestone Summary: A listing of major program and project accomplishments for the period (based on the project and program milestones or commitments contained within approved work plans, grant agreements, or special conditions/agreements), as well as progress made toward meeting future milestones. (The State may accomplish some or all of this reporting requirement through its annual report discussed below.)
- Slippage Reports: Provide reasons for delays in meeting scheduled milestones/commitments and discuss what actions (State, Federal or other) will be taken to resolve any current or anticipated problems.
- Additional pertinent information including, when appropriate, analysis and explanation of cost overruns, unanticipated events/consequences, etc.
Nonpoint Source Progress Reports. Section 319(h)(11) of the CWA requires States to report annually on progress in meeting nonpoint source management program milestones, and report available information on reductions in nonpoint source loadings and on improvements in water quality resulting from program implementation. EPA suggests that this information be provided in the following streamlined format:
- A brief summary of progress in meeting approved milestones and the near- and long-term objectives identified in the State nonpoint source management program.
- A matrix displaying milestones from the current year for the approved State program with the following information for each milestone:
- Applicable project or program
- Scheduled project completion date
- Percent completed
- A discussion of the extent to which Federal agencies, lands and activities within the State are supporting the State in meeting approved milestones.
- To the extent information is available, reductions in nonpoint source loadings achieved.
- To the extent information is available, the amount of improvement in water quality (including aquatic habitat quality) as the result of nonpoint source program activity.
- Where information is not yet available under items 4 and 5 above for waters or watersheds where implementation is being assisted, surrogate measures of environmental progress (such as environmental indicators) should be used and progress should be reported in terms of the degree or percentage of completion of the project.
In the past, some States have chosen to include additional information in their annual report, using the report as a means of assessing progress to date and the need to modify the program; providing case studies of particular projects; and conveying information to a broader audience on the activities being conducted by the State. States may continue to include such additional information, as a supplement to the basic information required by law. States may wish to include the following types of information in their reports:
- Listing of further actions necessary to achieve CWA goals, including any recommendations for future EPA programs to control nonpoint source pollution.
- Brief case studies of any particularly successful nonpoint source control efforts. (In November 1994, EPA published Section 319 Success Stories, providing information on the effectiveness of a variety of State programs and projects in each State. EPA intends to continue to publish success stories periodically to help broaden public understanding of the accomplishment of this program. States that choose to include success stories in their annual reports would thereby assist EPA in this effort.)
- Slippage reports providing reasons for delays in meeting scheduled milestones.
- Information on increases in public awareness of nonpoint source pollution and public involvement in addressing it.
- Copies of products produced by the State program (e.g., outreach materials or BMP documents).
Financial Status Reports. 40 CFR Section 31.41(b) requires grantees to submit financial status reports using Standard Form 269 or 269(a) to report the status of funds under each grant. In general, financial status reports should be required semi-annually. In the case of Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States, financial status reports should be required only annually. Final financial status reports are due within 90 days after the expiration or termination of the grant agreement.
2. Reporting Procedures and GRTS
EPA has developed a computerized system, the Section 319 Grant Reporting and Tracking System (GRTS), for use by States and EPA in managing and reporting data on section 319 grants. GRTS provides States with the capability to efficiently fulfill grant reporting requirements and provides a database of nonpoint source program information which can be used to enhance State, Regional, and national understanding of nonpoint source projects and programs.
Regions are encouraged to work with their States to design reporting procedures utilizing GRTS that will promote efficiency and eliminate duplication of work. In particular, States are encouraged to use GRTS to submit grantee performance reports pursuant to 40 CFR 31.40(b)(1). States are also encouraged to use GRTS' project description, project evaluation, and other data fields for more complete data management and project reporting purposes. In addition, the Regions should explore ways to coordinate and synchronize the submittal of performance reports of other EPA programs managed within the same State office, e.g., section 106, 104(b), 305(b) and 604(b).
States are required to use GRTS to report the specific nationally mandated data elements listed in Appendix F. These consist of the bare minimum of information needed by EPA to track State grant implementation nationally and to respond to inquires from constituent groups, OMB, and Congress. However, these nationally mandated data elements may be reviewed and individually negotiated by EPA and a State as a part of the National Environmental Performance Partnership System and as a part of a Performance Partnership Grant.
The GRTS system currently contains four basic levels of grantee information:
- basic information such as grantee name, grant amount, date of award and amount of matching State funds;
- project descriptions, schedules, and individual project costs;
- project milestone data comparing proposed schedules with actual events; and
- sub-milestones which further delineate milestone information.
Since GRTS is an official reporting vehicle for programs or projects conducted by States under section 319(h) grants, its implementation is itself eligible for funding under section 319. Regions and States should work together to ensure that the States are provided sufficient resources in their 319 grants to meet these reporting requirements and management support needs. Examples of GRTS system support needs include: providing adequate staff support; purchasing of necessary ADP equipment, materials, and supplies; EPA mainframe access capability; and attending GRTS system conferences and training.
3. Reporting and Record keeping for Sub-State Organizations
Just as the grant agreement specifies outputs and milestones to be achieved by the States, States should assure that agreements with sub-State organizations specify outputs, milestones, and reporting and record keeping requirements in memoranda of agreement, contracts or other appropriate documents.
Where a sub-grantee will be providing a portion of the State's match, the State should ensure that adequate records are kept with respect to that portion. 40 CFR Section 31.41(a)(2) specifies that grantees shall not impose more burdensome requirements on sub-grantees than they are subject to themselves.
V. MANAGEMENT AND OVERSIGHT OF SECTION 319(h) GRANTS
As part of its improvement of both the 319 grants program and other EPA grants programs, EPA will use a differential oversight approach that reduces oversight for Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States and focuses attention and assistance on other States. In all cases, EPA's approach will emphasize cooperative partnerships based upon EPA's and States' mutual goal of implementing dynamic and effective national nonpoint source programs designed to achieve and maintain beneficial uses of water.
Regions should strive to use uniform approaches in conducting their evaluations of State programs, progress and problems. To assist Regions in preparing for and conducting their State program reviews, Appendix A contains an outline of evaluation criteria that may be considered by Regions and States in conducting the reviews. Regions should provide a written outline to States at least thirty days in advance of any States program evaluation. States are encouraged, but are not required, to provide written responses to the Regions in advance of the reviews.
For Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits States, EPA will rely primarily on the State's own self-assessment, based on the outline presented in Appendix A and supported by the various reports outlined in Section IV-D above. EPA will review the self-assessment and State reports, and then contact the States if EPA desires additional information. EPA will afford substantially reduced oversight and maximum flexibility to a Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits State, whether or not the State has chosen to join the National Environmental Performance Partnership System or to seek a Performance Partnership Grant.
For all other States, in addition to reviewing the State's reports, EPA will meet with the State at least annually to discuss the State's progress in implementing its program. Appendix A will be used as a basis for evaluating the progress made by the State in reviewing, upgrading, and implementing its nonpoint source management program. EPA and the State will also discuss ways in which EPA can better assist the State during the forthcoming year in implementing the State's program. Types of assistance to be considered include support for State efforts to assess water quality problems; support for State design and implementation of watershed projects; technical assistance to help the State monitor the progress and results of watershed projects; and assistance in the development of outreach tools. Subsequent to its annual meeting, EPA will produce a report, with State input and review, that assesses the progress and problems experienced by the State in implementing its program during the preceding year. This assessment will also include EPA's evaluation of the State's progress towards becoming a Nonpoint Source Enhanced Benefits State.
When evaluation results show that grant and contract provisions have not been substantially achieved, the State and Region should work cooperatively to take corrective action. If performance by the State is poor, the Region may be required to determine that the State has not made "satisfactory progress" under section 319(h)(8) and to deny the State's grant application the following year. Other forms of corrective action are described at 40 CFR 31.43.
Where a State lead nonpoint source agency is providing EPA grant funds to other State or local agencies to carry out the terms of a nonpoint source grant, the lead agency remains responsible for all outputs in its section 319(h) work program. Thus, if a local agency has difficulties performing particular funded activities, the Region should work with the State lead agency to resolve the problem.
VI. GRANTS TO INDIAN TRIBES
This guidance is not specifically directed to Tribal nonpoint source management programs, however, but with the agreement of EPA and the eligible Tribe this guidance may be used for administering section 319 programs and grants. Alternatively, A Tribal Guide to the State Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program (USEPA, Office of Water, September 1994) may be used.
Section 518(f) states that the Administrator may reserve for Indian Tribes treated as States not more than one-third of one percent of the amount appropriated for any fiscal year under section 319(j) for section 319(h) and (I). EPA intends to continue to make one-third of one percent of each appropriation available for 319(h) grants to Tribes.
To be eligible for such grants, Tribes must meet the requirements in section 518(e) of the Clean Water Act, 40 CFR 130.6(d) and 130.15, as well as applicable provisions of 40 CFR Part 35. A succinct explanation of the new streamlined approach for Tribes to be treated in substantially the same manner as States are treated for purposes of obtaining various types of financial assistance is presented in 59 FR 13814-18 (March 23, 1994). A step-by-step guide for Tribes seeking section 319 grants is presented in A Tribal Guide to the Section 319(h) Nonpoint Source Grant Program (EPA 841-S-94-003, September 1994).
Tribes, like States must have EPA approved nonpoint source assessments and management programs in order to be eligible for section 319(h) grants. Though all portions of the assessment must be completed in order to be approved by EPA, the Agency may approve a portion of a Tribes' management program. Once a portion is approved, a section 319(h) grant can be awarded for those portions of the management program that have been approved by the Agency. EPA encourages Tribes that are currently unable to develop complete nonpoint source management programs, to focus on their highest priority nonpoint source problems and develop approvable portions of nonpoint source programs to address those problems. In addition, sections 106 and 104(b)(3) funds are available to Tribes for developing assessment reports; section 106 funds may also be used to develop management programs. Technical assistance with the development of assessment and management programs is available from EPA.
Indian Tribes are required to meet the matching and maintenance-of-effort requirements under section 319(h); however, if a Tribe can demonstrate financial cause, the Federal share of 319(h) funds can be increased to 90 percent. In addition, Tribes may use in-kind contributions to meet matching requirements.