Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grants (HWCG)
Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Request for Proposals (RFP)
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium (HWC), a partnership between the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, issues an annual Request for Proposals. The announcement of the 2019 Request for Proposals Exithas now been released. In previous award years, webinars have been scheduled to help those interested to get more information about the HWC Grant Program. Please watch for upcoming announcements.
The goal of the HWC Grant Program is to “accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds”, with primary focus on prevention of deterioration in the watershed by:
- Developing funding mechanisms, plans, or other strategies to implement large-scale watershed protection, source water protection, green infrastructure, or related landscape conservation objectives;
- Building the sustainable organizational infrastructure, social support, and long-term funding commitments necessary to implement large-scale protection of healthy watersheds; and
- Supporting innovative or catalytic projects that may accelerate funding for or implementation of watershed protection efforts, or broadly advance this field of practice.
For more information on the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program, resources that will help develop your proposal, and to register for the webinars, visit the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Healthy Watersheds Consortium website Exit
APRIL 26, 2018: GRANTS AWARDED TO ACCELERATE WATERSHED PROTECTION
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s third year of awards expands the pace of proactive watershed protection in the U.S. through conservation and improved stewardship of thousands of acres of lands that provide drinking water, flood risk reduction, and an array of economic and environmental benefits. The 22 awards total $4.168 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in 20 states. The Heathy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015. EPA co-funds the program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
“Protecting working lands and natural habitats in our watersheds is a win for people, the economy, and our environment,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “There projects are developed at the local level; help protect drinking water sources; often benefit rural jobs associated with agriculture, ranching, and forestry; and provide measurable benefits for fish and wildlife. We are very grateful to EPA and NRCS for their partnership in this program. We are especially pleased that projects in the Chesapeake Bay, Florida, and Arizona support military installations and Sentinel Landscapes Partnerships. The latter brings together the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior to protect working lands important to our nation’s defense mission.”
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s goal is to “accelerate and expand the strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds.” EPA and the Endowment each committed $3.75 million and NRCS $3.5 million, to the six-year partnership. In this third year of the program, 76 applications requesting $15 million were received.
Grants focus on three categories: 1) short-term funding to leverage larger financing for targeted watershed protection; 2) funds to help build the capacity of local organizations for sustainable, long-term watershed protection; and 3) new techniques or approaches that advance the state of practice for watershed protection and that can be replicated across the country. The awards listed below benefit natural lands and also working forests, farms, and ranches.
The 22 funded proposals are:
Maine: Sebago Clean Waters Initiative: Forests. Faucets. Forever - $350,000 over three years to the Highstead Foundation, which will work with the Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and Sebago Clean Waters partners to secure drinking water quality in Sebago Lake through land conservation. Goals include increasing collaboration among Sebago Clean Waters partners, private landowners, communities, and water users; developing and launching a water fund to enable downstream water users to jointly invest in upstream land conservation; and conserving 2500-3500 acres of land feeding and filtering Maine’s largest drinking water supply.
West Virginia: Upper Monongahela Land Conservation Program - $150,000 over three years to the Morgantown Utility Board to create a land protection program and fund in the Upper Monongahela Watershed, the drinking water source for 100,000 people in Monongalia County. The project will focus initially on the Cobun Creek Watershed, where a new drinking water reservoir is under construction. These efforts will support the Utility’s Source Water Protection Program.
Pennsylvania: Assessing and Protecting Wild Trout Streams - $100,000 over three years to Trout Unlimited to support assessments of 300 streams for naturally reproducing trout, with the expectation of documenting 100 new populations, and to engage local volunteers in securing protective regulatory designations for 1,000 miles of streams and the resultant protection of an estimated 24,000 acres of wetlands and 18,000 acres of riparian buffers.
Virginia: Healthy Watersheds/Forest TMDL Phase III Project - $120,000 over three years to Virginia Department of Forestry and its partners to build on Phases I&II successes by addressing challenges associated with creating the policy and financial infrastructure needed to facilitate forest and agricultural land conservation and retention on a sustainable, Chesapeake Bay-wide basis.
Maryland, Delaware, & Virginia: Delivering the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement on the Delmarva Peninsula - $204,000 over three years to the Lower Shore Land Trust with the goal of permanently protecting 11,000 acres with conservation easements by 2020. Watershed land protection will increase stream buffers, forest protections, and water quality and soil conservation throughout the region. This program will help deliver 10% of the acres needed in the Delmarva states to reach the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement goal of 2,000,0000 acres conserved by 2025. This area includes one of seven designated Sentinel Landscapes in the U.S., a collaboration involving the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior.
Florida: Accelerating Land Protection in Florida's Ocala to Osceola (O2O) Conservation Corridor - $183,000 over three years to the North Florida Land Trust to support land protection and outreach staff to protect 10,000 acres (in 3 years) in the 1.6 million acre O2O Corridor. This accelerates larger goals of strengthening the public-private O2O Partnership and securing funds to protect 140,000 acres by 2040. Land protection in the O2O will benefit headwater regions of six North Florida watersheds, as well as protect wildlife habitat, rural landscapes, and military training capacity of Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.
Alabama: Accelerating Headwater Land Protection in the Mobile Bay Basin - $300,000 over two years to the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program to advance strategic protection of healthy habitat parcels in Mobile Tombigbee and Alabama River basins, where 75% of catchments drain first and second order streams, key to the ecological health of the Mobile Bay estuary. A land protection atlas will identify priority parcels and possible funding sources for acquisition and protection and the Alabama Forest Resources Center will be engaged to work with landowners on watershed land protection.
Wisconsin & Minnesota: Building Capacity for Healthy Forest Protection in the St. Croix Watershed - $150,000 over two years to develop capacity for forest protection across the ecologically significant St. Croix River Watershed. Funds will support the protection and stewardship of 15,000 acres over the next two years, working towards a long term goal of 300,000 acres of forest protection and stewardship in the St. Croix.
Arkansas: Establishing Conservation Funding Mechanisms in the Beaver Lake Watershed - $234,000 over three years to The Beaver Watershed Alliance to coordinate development of funding mechanisms, including enhancements to the State’s clean water revolving loan program, an open space conservation fund and a source water protection partnership with three water utilities on Beaver Lake.
Texas: Middle Colorado River & Contributing Watersheds Protection Plan - $180,000 over three years to the Hill Country Conservancy to catalyze protection of up to 15,000 acres of priority watershed lands and formalize the Hill Country Conservation Network, which seeks to secure $10M in public funds, develop a regional strategic conservation plan, and promote a conservation ethic for landowners and the public. This collaboration addresses an urgent non-point source threat to three critical regional drinking water sources, the Middle Colorado, Blanco/San Marcos Rivers, and Edwards Aquifer.
Texas: Accelerating Land Acquisition to Protect Watersheds & Increase Resiliency - $300,000 over three years to Katy Prairie Conservancy to conserve diminishing prairie in five important watersheds. This will aid flood control and help create a resilient landscape from the prairie to the Gulf. Hurricane Harvey and continuing development have made natural watershed protection, with supportive financial mechanisms, a priority for the Houston area.
New Mexico: Monitoring for success and sustainability to protect the Rio Grande Watershed - $150,000 over two years to The Nature Conservancy to advance the state-of practice in watershed monitoring and management for the upper Rio Grande. The Rio Grande and its tributaries supply water to one-half of New Mexico’s population. The Rio Grande Water Fund was established to help protect these watersheds from severe fire and other threats. This project will help quantify the impact value of ecosystem services provided by watershed protection activities supported by the Rio Grande Water Fund.
Montana: Connecting Partners to Conserve Working Lands in the Missouri River Basin - $90,000 over one year to World Wildlife Fund to engage conservation districts, agencies and not-for-profit partners in a discussion on threats to their watersheds and addressing barriers to enrolling landowners in programs that help to reduce those threats. The focus will be on intact grassland habitat.
Arizona: Identifying Conservation Priorities in the Upper Santa Cruz Watershed - $219,000 over two years to the Arizona Land & Water Trust to address groundwater overdraft, land fragmentation and development in the Upper Santa Cruz River Watershed. An analytical framework will be developed to help identify threats and prioritize land conservation projects that will limit development in riparian areas, stabilize groundwater levels, and assure continued flow in the river. This area includes one of seven designated Sentinel Landscapes in the U.S., a collaboration involving the Departments of Defense, Agriculture, and Interior.
Hawaii: Building Capacity for Hawaii's Watershed Partnerships - $160,000 over two years to the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to support the Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships Outreach and Education Specialist position to build capacity for Hawaii’s 10 Watershed Partnerships by developing a sustainable financing mechanism to help fund long-term watershed management and the goal of protecting 253,000 acres of priority areas across the State.
California: Ensuring the Resiliency of the San Pablo Bay and Russian River Watersheds - $180,000 over two years to the Sonoma Land Trust to accelerate protection efforts in these biologically rich hotspots. The Land Trust’s long-term cultivation of landowners at the watershed scale provides them the opportunity to secure key properties to help support these valuable ecosystems.
California & Oregon: Transforming Watershed Health for 2 Top-Tier Havens for Pacific Salmonids - $250,000 over one year to Western Rivers Conservancy to advance two large-scale projects: A conservation easement over nearly 20,000 acres (10% of the watershed) of Oregon’s Hood River Basin to protect drinking water for 8,000 people and conserve habitat for endangered fish; and in California’s Klamath Basin to establish a new land management regime to restore 47,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat that WRC permanently conserved in partnership with the Yurok Tribe to save Blue Creek, the cold-water lifeline of the Klamath River.
Oregon: Building a Sustainable Conservation Program in the John Day River Basin - $250,000 over two years to the Blue Mountain Land Trust to accelerate watershed protection with willing landowners and to demonstrate a sustainable funding model for expanding land trust capacity in a watershed without long-term reliance on grant funding.
Oregon: Protecting Oregon's Pristine Waterways and Public Lands - $31,000 over one year to Trout Unlimited to help protect two priority watersheds through state designations including the State Scenic Waterway Program and Outstanding Resource Water Designation Program and through the federal Oregon Wildlands Act.
Washington: Accelerating Watershed Protection in Central Puget Sound, Part 2 - $150,000 over two years to the Emerald Alliance to build on work accomplished in an earlier Healthy Watersheds Consortium grant to develop a Regional Open Space Conservation Plan, currently in development by the Puget Sound Regional Council. Phase 2 work is to develop a comprehensive funding strategy that serves to implement the Regional Open Space Conservation Plan and to support the newly formed Emerald Alliance’s organizational infrastructure so it can grow to provide a neutral forum for collaboration and action to better implement this new Regional Open Space Conservation Plan.
Washington: Upper Puyallup River Watershed Assessment: Protection & Resiliency Planning - $225,000 over three years to Forterra to conduct on-site data collection and research in the Upper Puyallup River Basin in support of a long-term goal to protect 40,000 acres of forestland, floodplains, and critical fish and wildlife habitat. This work will further the partners' efforts to secure funding to conserve this critical landscape in the shadow of Mt. Rainier.
Alaska: Fish Inventory in Select Drainages of the Kobuk and Koyukuk Rivers - $192,000 over one year to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to conduct an inventory of stream fish assemblages and aquatic and riparian habitats in select drainages of the Kobuk and Koyukuk Rivers. Anadromous fish observations made will be used to nominate water bodies to Alaska’s Anadromous Waters Catalog, which represents Alaska Statute 16.05.871, Alaska’s strongest and most comprehensive instream fish habitat protection standard. All of the fish and habitat data collected will be made available through the department’s online Fish Resource Monitor interactive mapper.
APRIL 20, 2017: GRANTS AWARDED TO ACCELERATE WATERSHED PROTECTION
The Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program’s second-year of awards expanded the pace of proactive watershed protection in the U.S. through conservation and improved stewardship of hundreds of thousands of acres of lands that provide drinking water, flood risk reduction, and an array of economic and environmental benefits. The sixteen awards total $2.75 million and will benefit organizations and partnerships in 18 states. The Heathy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program was conceived by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water (EPA) and launched in late 2015.
EPA co-funds the program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U. S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), which manages the partnership.
Grants focused on three categories: 1) short-term funding to leverage larger financing for targeted watershed protection; 2) funds to help build the capacity of local organizations for sustainable, long-term watershed protection; and 3) new techniques or approaches that advance the state of practice for watershed protection and that can be replicated across the country.
The sixteen funded proposals were:
Supporting Healthy Watersheds and Communities in Downeast Maine - $150,000 over three years to the Downeast Conservation Network, a consortium of 11 organizations including land trusts, educational institutions, and applied conservation organizations, with the goal of conserving up to 15,000 acres and increasing public support for watershed protection through trainings and community workshops, coordination, better understanding of the economic value of healthy watersheds, and a shared regional vision for watershed protection.
Niagara River Watershed Headwater Protection Initiative, New York - $300,000 over three years to the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to increase their capacity to protect priority upper watershed lands and secure a source water protection fund. Using a “circuit rider” model, the program will engage more than 80 communities to accelerate protection and management measures on up to 433,000 acres of source water lands in the Niagara River Watershed and help ensure clean drinking water for 11 million people while supporting healthy communities and economies.
Demonstrating Stream Health Improvements from Healthy Watershed Actions in Maryland - $40,000 to AKRF, an environmental consulting firm, which will work in collaboration with Versar and Maryland Department of Natural Resources, to examine the relationship between land protection and stream health improvements that have been achieved in Maryland from 1995-2015. The comprehensive Maryland Biological Stream Survey will be used to compare stream condition in both protected and unprotected watersheds.
Developing Programs for Easements and Forester Enrollment in Pennsylvania - $175,000 over three years to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to develop two interrelated programs: a forest conservation easement program designed to conserve in perpetuity up to 100,000 working forest acres within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and a forest practitioner enrollment program for landowners who implement sustainable management practices that will improve forest health and water quality.
Increasing Capacity for Strategic Land Conservation in the Gulf Coast Region - $140,000 over three years to The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation, a coalition of 25 land trusts working cooperatively in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The plan is to secure sustainable financial support to build their Gulf Coast Land Conservation Assistance Fund, a program that helps land trusts develop land conservation projects. The Partnership’s initial goal with this award is to secure an additional $1,000,000 for the Project Assistance Fund and their ultimate goal is to help protect up to 75,000 high-priority acres in the Gulf Region over the next several years.
Catawba-Wateree Clean Water Initiative, North Carolina and South Carolina – $175,000 over three years to the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina to work with 18 water utilities, Duke Energy, and stakeholders from the mountain headwaters to the coastal plain to help conserve up to 12,000 acres of land prioritized as high impact for future water security and to create a sustainable source water protection fund for the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. The Catawba-Wateree is a source of drinking water, recreation, and energy for more than two million people.
Protecting South Carolina's Winyah Bay Watershed - $150,000 over two years to American Rivers to create a source water protection fund and help protect healthy forests, floodplain wetlands, and wildlife habitats along the Great Pee Dee, Little Pee Dee, Black, and Waccamaw Rivers in the Winyah Bay watershed. These rivers are the primary drinking water supply for over 500,000 people including those in the Florence, Myrtle Beach, and the greater Grand Strand areas of South Carolina. The rivers are well known for outstanding recreational opportunities and contribute significantly to the regional economy by supporting industrial water users and ecotourism businesses.
Collaborating to Protect Ohio's Healthy Central Lake Erie Basin Watersheds - $200,000 over three years to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners to leverage $11 million of land protection funds that are projected to help protect up to 425 miles of streams and 30,000 acres of land within Ohio’s Central Lake Erie watershed in partnership with the Central Lake Erie Basin Collaborative, West Creek Conservancy, and Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Connecting Northeast Michigan's land and people for conservation success - $180,000 over four years to Huron Pines to build the regional capacity and the sustainable funding structure needed to help protect up to 10,000 acres of prioritized lands and reconnect 50 high-quality trout stream miles in Northeast Michigan and the Lake Huron Basin. Project tasks will strengthen community readiness and stimulate economic investment for Northeast Michigan communities to result in long-term protection for the area’s people and natural resources.
Land Protection in the Huron River Watershed through Innovative Conservation Funding and Planning, Michigan - $180,000 over three years to the Huron River Watershed Council to advance land protection through innovative strategies to generate new land protection funds from local governments and to support watershed protection goals. Natural lands serve a host of benefits to local governments and their residents, including treatment of polluted runoff, recreation, and clean water. The partners will work with local governments to ensure the most ecologically beneficial natural lands are protected so they can continue to provide these benefits.
Blackfeet Glacier Healthy Headwaters Conservation Corridor, Montana - $160,000 over three years to the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department to facilitate conservation of up to 223,000 acres of lands critical for clean drinking water and wildlife important to the tribe's hunting and fishing culture. Funds will also be used to develop and implement natural resource management plans for long term land stewardship to boost rural economic benefits through increased tourism and preservation of traditional livelihoods.
Northern Rockies Watershed Conservation Project, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming - $175,000 over two years to The Trust for Public Land to develop a Watershed Conservation decision-support tool and catalyze the conservation of up to 60,000 acres of priority watershed lands in the Northern Rocky Mountains using conservation easements.
Evaluating the economic value of landscape-scale forest restoration to advance the Forest Resilience Bond in Sierra Nevada watersheds, California - $175,000 over two years to Blue Forest Conservation and the World Resources Institute to develop an economic case for utility investment in watershed restoration through the Forest Resilience Bond, a pay-for-success financing vehicle. Research will focus on the water quantity impacts of fuel reduction treatments in forested watersheds within California's Sierra Nevada.
Achieving landscape-scale conservation in the Feather River Watershed, California - $200,000 over three years to the Feather River Land Trust to build the capacity to protect and steward an additional 75,000 priority acres in the Feather River watershed of northern California, a source of water for 60% of Californians. This will help protect the watershed’s large intact meadow systems, rare species populations, and working ranches, while promoting ecotourism. A land transaction cost recovery model will be developed to generate funds for stewardship and legal endowments to ensure long term watershed protection.
Protecting Blue Creek & the Klamath River for Salmon, Wildlife, and People, California – $210,000 to Western Rivers Conservancy to create the Blue Creek Salmon Sanctuary and Yurok Tribal Community Forest. Together these comprise 47,000 acres of coastal temperate rainforest within a top-priority northern California watershed. The project completes conservation of Blue Creek, the most important source of cold water for the Klamath River, and a lifeline for salmon. Western Rivers Conservancy will develop a carbon offset project and assist the Yurok Tribe with new funding strategies, while helping ensure that salmon, which are crucial to the Yurok way of life, survive in the Klamath forever.
McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund, Oregon - $140,000 over two years to the Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) to design, develop, and test a watershed conservation fund that aligns funding from multiple sources to protect and manage up to 15,000 acres of riparian forests in a healthy watershed which is the sole source of drinking water for 200,000 people. EWEB will also work with the North and South Santiam Watersheds to test transferability of this concept to neighboring basins. This effort is part of EWEB’s new Pure Water Partners program that will be rolled out in 2017.
June 14, 2016: GRANTS AWARDED TO ACCELERATE WATERSHED PROTECTION
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) are providing for the first time $1.4 million in grants for nine projects to improve land management of hundreds of thousands of acres of watersheds in seven states.
Grants were awarded to organizations in California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia to provide short-term funding to leverage larger financing for targeted watershed protection; to provide funds that help build the capacity of local organizations for sustainable, long-term watershed protection; or to support new techniques or approaches that advance the state of practice for watershed protection and that can be replicated across the country.
“These grants will accelerate protection and improved management of watersheds across the United States,” said Carlton Owen, the Endowment’s President and CEO.
EPA launched the Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program in 2015 to accelerate and expand the protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. EPA co-funds the program with the Endowment, which manages the partnership.
The nine funded grants are:
Healthy Watersheds California--$225,000 to Pacific Forest Trust to develop the policies, technical assessments, and financing instruments needed to leverage private and public capital for restoration and conservation of an estimated 7 million acres of watersheds which serve California’s primary reservoirs.
Protecting Forests to Protect Watersheds, California--$200,000 to The Trust for Public Land and the Save the Redwoods League. These organizations are working collaboratively to seek California Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans for large-scale protection of forested watersheds.
Protecting Blue Creek & the Klamath River for Salmon, Wildlife and People, California--$100,000 to Western Rivers Conservancy to implement long-term watershed protection plans, sell carbon offsets, and create new jobs in rural northern California. Partners, including the Yurok Tribe, will protect 47,000 acres within four watersheds in northern California's temperate rainforest.
Colorado Conservation Exchange: Accelerating Investment in Watershed Health--$150,000 to accelerate investment in watershed health to reduce wildfire threats in the Big Thompson and Cache La Poudre watersheds and beyond through a Watershed Investment Fund linking investors with land stewards.
Myakka Island Conservation Corridor, Florida --$156,000 to Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to conserve more than 10,000 acres over the next six years within the Myakka River watershed, in rapidly-growing Sarasota and Manatee Counties. These properties will link and buffer already protected lands and help keep waterways drinkable, fishable and swimmable.
Permanently Protecting the Largest Rivers in Eastern Maine-- $150,000 to Downeast Salmon Federation, which has a goal to conserve 80 percent of the habitat corridors along the remaining three unprotected rivers in Washington County, Maine, by 2025. Funds will support a full-time director for three years at the Federation’s Downeast Rivers Land Trust.
Framework for Acquiring and Sustainably Managing Agricultural Land, Oregon--$200,000 to Freshwater Trust to build a replicable framework to acquire and sustainably manage agricultural land in the John Day Basin, Oregon. The model will address the increasing conversion of farmland nationally. As farmers retire over the next 20 years, nearly half of all U.S. farmland—400 million acres—will change hands. Sustainable management of these farmlands will enhance watershed protection.
Accelerating Watershed Protection in the Central Puget Sound Region, Washington--$200,000 to Puget Sound Regional Council, a metropolitan planning organization that includes 86 jurisdictions. Their project will develop a regional open space plan focused on protecting high priority, threatened ecosystems; prepare a watershed protection report that informs the upcoming update of the Region’s growth plan, VISION 2040, to integrate growth management with ecosystem protection; and promote use of a new online ecosystem service valuation tool for regional watershed benefits, decision making, and local actions.
Healing Waters Regional Landscape Initiative Cacapon River Watershed, West Virginia-- $100,000 to Cacapon and Lost Rivers Land Trust to develop the Healing Waters Regional Landscape Initiative, build capacity for large-scale protection efforts throughout the watershed, and create a strategic local and regional collaboration model.
For more information contact:
Peter Stangel, 404-915-2763;email@example.comExit
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities – U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc
Frequent Questions about the HWCG
1. What is a healthy watershed?
For the purposes of this grant program, a Healthy Watershed is one in which natural land cover supports dynamic hydrologic and geomorphic processes within their natural range of variation (i.e., sediment storage and deposition); habitat of sufficient size and connectivity to support native aquatic and riparian species; and water quality that supports healthy biological communities. (US EPA, 2012. Identifying and Protecting Healthy Watersheds: Concepts, Assessments, and Management Approaches. U.S. EPA, EPA-841-B-11-002).
2. What does EPA mean by “consortium”?
For the purposes of this program, a consortium is one entity who is linked with or in a collaborative partnership with other groups or organizations having similar healthy watersheds protection goals.
3. What projects can be funded under the subawards?
It is anticipated that the subaward projects will be either healthy watershed program development projects or local demonstration/training projects. For healthy watershed program development projects, the subaward funds should be provided for projects that develop and/or support state, interstate, and tribal healthy watersheds programs. Examples of projects include development of state, interstate, or tribal healthy watersheds strategies or plans that employ a systems-based, integrated approach to protection; environmental flows assessments; and public outreach and education on the importance of protecting healthy watersheds. For local demonstration/training projects, examples include protection of forested drinking water sources in headwaters, restoration of hydrologic connectivity, development of local conservation zoning and easement program plans.
4. Can conservation easements be funded through the subaward grants?
Funds received through this competition cannot be used for the purchase of land or conservation easements. However, partner funding that is independent of this federal funding and not part of the cost share / match (required and voluntary cost share / match) may be used for implementation projects, such as for example, the purchase of land or conservation easements.
5. Our university would like to participate as a subawardee for consortium grants because of our expertise on watershed related effects on stream ecosystem health. How can we find additional information on the subaward processs?
It will take the grantee some time to set up the sub-grant program. We estimate that this will be sometime in the late 2015 timeframe. The grantee will establish a process for the sub-grants that will be included on a web site with sub-grant application instructions. EPA will have a link to this sub-grant website on our Healthy Watersheds Program website.
6. How many subawards does EPA anticipate being made under this grant? Is there a minimum or maximum number required? Anticipated federal funding for this award is approximately $3.75 million. Does this amount include funding that the grantee will issue as subawards?
There is no minimum or maximum number of sub-awards under this grant. The total funding of the grant with the required match is $5 million ($3.75M of federal funding, plus 25% match). The number of subawards under this grant depends upon any additional leveraged funds, increasing the total funding beyond $5 million, and the range of funding in proposed subawards. Funding for each sub-award may range from $50,000 to $150,000 per project. It is anticipated that a portion of the federal funding will go towards the subawards.
7. Approximately how many subaward projects does EPA anticipate over the course of the grant period? Additionally, does EPA prefer that there be a high volume of small-scale short-term (1-2 year) subawards or a smaller volume of large-scale long-term (4-5 year) subawards?
EPA does not have a minimum or maximum number of subawards or the length of the individual subaward. Funding for each subaward is expected to be in the range of $50,000 to $150,000. The subawards funded under the cooperative agreement must be completed prior to the end of the cooperative agreement project period. The subawards need to be completed in sufficient time for the recipient to, for example, aggregate results and ensure that subawardees have been reimbursed for all incurred costs.
8. Please explain the types of healthy watersheds that subawardees may apply to work on. For example, quality of watershed, size, location etc.
Healthy watersheds protection is defined broadly as actions that preserve, enhance or improve aquatic ecosystems and supporting natural landscape and watershed processes such as hydrology in largely healthy watersheds. The grant is intended to support local protection and/or enhancement projects in healthy or primarily healthy watersheds that can be sustained into the future. A healthy watershed is one in which natural land cover supports dynamic hydrologic and geomorphic processes within their natural range of variation (i.e., sediment storage and deposition); habitat of sufficient size and connectivity to support native aquatic and riparian species; and water quality that supports healthy biological communities. Local projects must represent strategic priorities from an interstate, state, tribal, basin-scale, or regional-scale plan or strategy intended to protect healthy watersheds, or from some other prioritization scheme based on a healthy watersheds assessment.
To the extent a metropolitan river basin or watershed (e.g., Chesapeake Bay Watershed) has such a plan or strategy and is large enough to have healthy or primarily healthy watersheds that provide ecological infrastructure to support and sustain local protection and/or enhancement projects, then projects in healthy watersheds that are priorities for protection in the large basin or watershed would qualify for sub-grants.