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2017 RFA for Great Lakes Integrated Cladophora Studies and Modeling

Funding Opportunity Number: EPA-R5-GL2017-CLA

This Request for Applications (RFA) solicits applications from eligible entities for a cooperative agreement to be awarded pursuant to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II  (30 pp, 5.1 MB, About PDF) September 2014.

EPA is seeking applications for a project to 1) provide in situ observational data for use in 2) the development of enhanced Cladophora growth models to enable phosphorus targets to be developed for the eastern basin of Lake Erie as well as for Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario. 

A consortium of investigators will establish sentinel monitoring sites in Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario for one or more growing seasons. In situ observational data collected at these sites will be used in enhanced Cladophora model development.

Funding/Awards

Up to $600,000 may be awarded for one cooperative agreement. The awarding of this cooperative agreement is contingent upon funding availability, the quality of applications received and other applicable considerations.  However, EPA expressly reserves the right to make no awards under this RFA. 

Who can apply

Nonfederal governmental entities are eligible to apply for funding under this RFA, including:
  • state agencies,
  • interstate agencies,
  • federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations,
  • local governments,
  • institutions of higher learning (i.e., colleges and universities),
  • and non-profit organizations as defined in 2 C.F.R. § 200
Not eligible:
  • individuals
  • foreign organizations and governments,
  • nonprofit organizations exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying,
  • and “for-profit” organizations

Questions about this RFP

Updated Aug. 25, 2017
  1. We recognize the significance of Lake Erie sites to EPA’s management agenda.  However, ECCC has informed us that they will be handling the sampling on eastern Lake Erie’s north shore and there are no documented ‘fouling sites’ along the eastern basin’s south shore. The characteristics that would qualify a location as a ‘control site’ are undefined and complex (as described in our proposal). Do we place ourselves at a disadvantage by not proposing work in the U.S. waters of the eastern basin of Lake Erie?
    Answer: Applicants are responsible for the contents of their applications/proposals. In fairness to all applicants and consistent with the provisions of the announcement, EPA can respond to questions regarding threshold eligibility criteria, administrative issues related to the submission of the proposal, and requests for clarification about any of the language or provisions in the announcement. We cannot respond to questions about competitive advantage or disadvantage.
  2. Can we look to sources outside of the subject RFA (e.g. USGS) for diver support or should diver support be included in our proposal budget?
    Answer: Diver support could be an eligible cost under the RFA. It could also be paid for outside of the proposed budget. If it is to be provided outside of the proposed budget, such support should be documented with the proposal.
  3. Can we look to CSMI resources for support supplemental to the subject RFA. We seek to consider this opportunity to demonstrate and apply these resources in two areas:
    1. Novel Technologies: [REDACTED], through the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED], has access to novel technologies potentially providing support to Cladophora monitoring. These technologies include a drone outfitted with a multispectral scanner [REDACTED] for mapping Cladophora distribution and an autonomous underwater vehicle outfitted with a camera and sidescan sonar for monitoring Cladophora distribution and, potentially, biomass. We would propose to demonstrate these novel technologies under the CSMI.
      Answer: While it is possible that CSMI resources may provide such support, the CSMI process includes a determination, on the part of the lake teams, as to the priority date needs for support of management actions.  We do not know whether those priorities would include the projects you describe, or any other specific projects.
    2. Sentinel Site Identification: monitoring of Cladophora at sites in Lake Michigan would take advantage of years of experience in site location and monitoring strategy. NO OTHER site on the Great Lakes offers that foreknowledge in support of monitoring. Thus, for example, monitoring of a sentinel site at a location along ~12 km of shoreline at Rochester, NY on Lake Ontario would begin on 1 May of the first year of the project with no information regarding where Cladophora grows beyond that available from (depth-limited) satellite sensing maps. As with most other sites, Rochester is impacted by local nutrient sources: a wastewater treatment plant and the Genesee River, but the plume distribution and its influence by current structure have never been elucidated. We would propose to use the novel technologies described above and a sonde gridding of the region to establish bottom substrate and WWTP/plume distribution early in the season and again … perhaps on several occasions over the balance of the summer.
      Answer: While it is possible that CSMI resources may provide such support, the CSMI process includes a determination, on the part of the lake teams, as to the priority date needs for support of management actions.  We do not know whether those priorities would include the projects you describe, or any other specific projects.
  4. As the lead University on the proposal, [REDACTED] charges 53% overhead on the portion of the project to be carried out by members of the consortium. This results in a $25,000 burden on an already tight budget. In addition, [REDACTED] staff need to manage the budgets and operations of consortium members, an additional cost of several thousands of dollars. Is there a way to structure the award so that the lead institution AND consortium member get individual awards to avoid these costs?
    Answer: The RFA specifies that up to $600,000 may be awarded for one cooperative agreement.
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