Pennsylvania Local Government Implementation Grants Request for Proposals

Proposal Due Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is soliciting proposals for projects to implement one or more high-priority nutrient and sediment load reduction practices in selected Pennsylvania communities, consistent with Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) and the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

Proposals for the Pennsylvania Local Government Implementation (PA-LGI) funding opportunity will be accepted from eligible local governments1 and entities specifically authorized by local governments in Pennsylvania to support local government implementation2.  NFWF estimates awarding roughly $2.4 million in grants through the PA-LGI with funding made available by the EPA.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

All projects must occur within the Chesapeake Bay watershed portion of one or more of the following counties identified by Pennsylvania DEP for accelerated nutrient and sediment load reduction under Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 WIP: Adams, Bedford, Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. ​

geographic focus map 

Figure 1. PA-LGI Geographic Focus

Applicants are strongly encouraged to further focus proposed implementation efforts to priority areas within these counties identified through locally-developed Phase 3 WIP Countywide Action Plans (CAPs), Pollution Reduction Plans (PRPs) for controlling municipal stormwater pollution, TMDLs and associated WIPs for local stream impairments, and other applicable local watershed restoration and resource management plans.  Additional consideration may also be provided to projects located within geographic focus areas​ identified by NFWF based on opportunities to maximize multiple goals and outcomes for water quality, species, and habitats in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 WIP outlines a comprehensive strategy to implement the practices and controls necessary to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution to Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams, consistent with targets established in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. It further articulates a number of state-level Priority Initiatives to strategically advance load reduction efforts across key nonpoint pollution source sectors, in large part through accelerated implementation of a handful of structural load reduction practices (see Appendix A) identified as priorities by Pennsylvania DEP and it’s local partners. The PA-LGI funding opportunity seeks proposals to directly implement those priority practices (see Table 1) on projects within the program’s Geographic Focus

Table 1. PA-LGI Priority Practices

P​riority Practices General Definition3
Animal Waste Management Systems ​Any structure designed for collection, transfer, and storage of manures and associated wastes generated from the confined portion of animal operations. Structures must comply with NRCS practice standards for Waste Storage Facilities and/or Waste Treatment Lagoons. Manure conserved through reduced storage and handling losses may then be available for recommended land application or export from the farm.
Barnyard Runoff Controls ​Includes the installation of practices to control runoff from barnyard areas. This includes practices such as roof runoff control, diversion of clean water from entering the barnyard and control of runoff from barnyard areas.
​Loafing Lot Management ​The stabilization of areas frequently and intensively used for agricultural production by people, animals or vehicles by establishing vegetative cover, surfacing with suitable materials, and/or installing needed structures. Excludes poultry pad installation.
Forest and Grass Buffers (with Exclusion Fencing)
​Linear wooded areas, strips of grass or other non-woody vegetation on agricultural and undeveloped lands maintained to help filter nutrients, sediment and other pollutants from agricultural runoff. Buffers must be at least 35 feet and as much as 300 feet wide. When buffers are implemented along pasture, exclusion fencing is installed to prevent livestock from grazing and trampling the buffer or entering the stream.
Urban Tree Planting ​Includes establishment of urban forests (contiguous patches greater than one-acre and not adjacent to impervious areas) and/or tree canopy over impervious surfaces and turf.
Bioretention, Rain Gardens and Bioswales ​Includes excavated shallow surface depressions planted with specially selected native vegetation to treat and capture runoff and/or vegetated channels designed to attenuate, and in some cases infiltrate, stormwater runoff from adjacent impervious surfaces, allowing selected pollutants removal.
Stream Restoration ​Any one of several techniques, including but not limited to natural channel design, regenerative stormwater conveyance, and legacy sediment removal, designed to restore degraded streams. Restoration must meet the qualifying conditions for credits, including environmental limitations and stream functional improvements.
Urban Forest Buffers ​Linear wooded areas on developed lands maintained to help filter nutrients, sediment and other pollutants from stormwater runoff. The recommended buffer width for buffers is 100 feet, with a 35 feet minimum width required. 
​Stormwater Wetlands and Wet Ponds ​Shallow marsh systems planted with emergent vegetation that are designed to treat stormwater runoff and/or stormwater basins that include a substantial permanent pool for water quality treatment and additional capacity above the permanent pool for temporary runoff storage. Includes retrofits for improved facility performance.

While NFWF and program funders anticipate that direct costs4 associated with the implementation of these high priority practices will account for a significant majority of funding award, funding for engineering, design, and permitting are also eligible under the PA-LGI funding opportunity. However, all proposed implementation practices must have preliminary designs completed and submitted at the time of application and the PA-LGI funding opportunity will further prioritize proposals capable of yielding immediate implementation outcomes and further maximizing these outcomes relative to the total proposed project costs. For those reasons, applicants should carefully consider proposals that include substantial requests for engineering, design, and permitting costs associated with proposed implementation efforts. 

Importantly, the Phase 3 WIP was developed through an unprecedented level of local support and engagement. As a result, many of the state and countywide actions called for under the Phase 3 WIP will provide direct benefits for local stream resources and contribute towards more locally-based Pollution Reduction Plans and other plans to restore locally-impaired stream segments. Selected counties have further developed CAPs that translate local area planning goals into specific actions aligned with local priorities. To ensure alignment with both county and state-level plans, applicants must accordingly advance proposed implementation efforts consistent with any applicable actions and approaches identified through relevant CAPs and broader state-level Priority Initiatives applicable to proposed practices. 

All proposed practices must be implemented according to applicable standards, specifications, and guidelines unique to each specific practice5.  Practices proposed for implementation on applicable agricultural operations – especially Animal Waste Management Systems, Barnyard Runoff Controls, and Loafing Lot Management – must be consistent with all current Agricultural Erosion and Sediment Control, Manure Management, and/or Nutrient Management Plans required and approved for the operation, as applicable under Pennsylvania state law and Pennsylvania DEP regulation. Proposals that that include funding requests for animal waste storage, barnyard runoff control, and loafing lot management will consider whether the farm owner has already installed or is in the process of installing livestock stream exclusion and riparian buffers.  

Table 2. CAP Points of Contact

County Point of Contact
Adams
Adam McClain
Adams County Conservation District
717-334-0636 x3044
Franklin
Tammy Piper
Franklin County Conservation District
717-264-5499
Lancaster
Matthew, W. Kofroth
Lancaster County Conservation District
717-299-5361 x2523
York
​ John Seitz
York County Planning Commission
717-771-9870 x1764
Given that the primary intent of these funds is to support local government implementation efforts consistent with Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 WIP, non-local government applicants must be working directly on behalf of eligible local governments for the purposes of local implementation, as evidenced by a written and signed authorization from an elected or appointed official, board, legislative or governing counsel the benefiting and/or contributing local government(s) submitted with the proposal application. Moreover, to ensure consistency with the Phase 3 WIP and associated CAPs, applicants proposing work in Adams, Franklin, Lancaster, or York counties are strongly encouraged to submit an additional letter of support or acknowledgment from their local Countywide Action Planning Team.

PROJECT METRICS

To more consistently evaluate proposed load reduction projects, better gauge progress on individual grants, and support reporting of PA-LGI funding opportunity outcomes through appropriate TMDL reporting entities, NFWF has provided a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for planning and reporting purposes. 

All PA-LGI applicants and awardees will be required to report in Easygrants on the amount of annual reduction in nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution loads resulting from the project. Proposals will also require reporting on additional Easygrants metrics for other selected activities based on their proposed implementation approaches, as outlined below.

Table 3. Easygrants Metrics for PA-LGI

Proposed Activity Associated EasyGrants Metric(s)
​BMP implementation for nutrient/sediment reduction​
  • Pounds of pollution avoided annually 
  • Acres with best management practices ​​
​BMP implementation for nutrient/sediment reduction
  • ​​Acres with stormwater BMPs
  • Volume stormwater prevented​
​BMP implementation for livestock fencing
  • Miles of fencing installed​
​Riparian Restoration
  • Miles restored​
​Instream restoration
  • Miles restored​
​Erosion control
  • Miles restored​
​Stream restoration
  • Miles restored​
​Floodplain restoration
  • Acres restored​
​Wetland restoration
  • Acres restored​
All PA-LGI projects must also track more detailed practice and parcel-level data for their project in FieldDoc.org, primarily to support more consistent evaluation of estimated load reduction outcomes based on the unique attributes of various different proposed implementation activities. Required data on practice implementation captured through FieldDoc will be utilized further to satisfy reporting requirements of program funders and local government milestone tracking under Pennsylvania’s WIP and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL6

While Table 3 includes all possible project metrics, we ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project. Please also consult the additional instructions provided for each metric in Easygrants to best assess metric applicability. If you do not believe an appropriate metric has been provided, please contact Stephanie Heidbreder at stephanie.heidbreder@nfwf.org​ or (202) 857-0166, to discuss acceptable alternatives.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • ​Eligible applicants include local governments7 and entities supporting local government implementation in Pennsylvania, including non-profit 501(c) organizations, academic institutions, and for-profit businesses with specific written authorization from one or more eligible local governments to implement load reduction practices on its behalf. For-profit applicants should see the Budget section below for specific budget considerations for for-profit entities. 
  • Non-local government applicants must be working directly on behalf of eligible local governments for the purposes of local implementation, as evidenced by a written and signed authorization from an elected or appointed official, board, legislative or governing counsel the benefiting and/or contributing local government(s) uploaded with the project application in Easygrants.
  • Ineligible applicants include U.S. federal government agencies, state government agencies, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations.

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds 

  • ​NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts through greater impact, efficiency, and cost-savings, for example in achieving municipal separate storm sewer systems permit requirements through novel green infrastructure approaches. 

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

NFWF will award a total of roughly $2.4 million in grants through the PA-LGI funding opportunity. Awards will be granted in amounts ranging from $20,000 to up to $200,000 each, with a non-federal matching requirement equal to at least 15 percent of the total grant request. All PA-LGI grants must be completed within two years of grant award. NFWF may award multiple grants to individual applicants, as informed by its proposal evaluation process. While there is a 15 percent matching requirement for the PA-LGI funding opportunity generally, applicants are encouraged to maximize cash and/or in-kind matching contributions from other federal, state, and local sources in order to maximize load reduction outcomes relative to the total proposed project costs. 

NFWF and its funding partners specifically expect applicants proposing to implement practices with notably high capital costs – including Animal Waste Management Systems, Barnyard Runoff Controls, Loafing Lot Management, Urban Stream Restoration, and Stormwater Wetlands and Wet Ponds – to identify matching contributions of no less than one-third of the total funding request in order to both defray award costs relative to total outcomes.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness, and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated uniquely based on the extent to which they optimize the following criteria for the PA-LGI funding opportunity.

​Nutrient and Sediment Load Reduction – Project realizes significant and quantifiable improvements in water quality and contributes reportable pollution load reductions towards the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Pennsylvania’s Phase 3 (WIPs), and any associated CAPs. 

Project Readiness – Project is at or near implementation-ready, with all necessary design and permitting at or near completion. 

Co-Benefits – Project maximizes opportunities to achieve additional non-water quality co-benefits identified as priorities for local communities, especially priorities aligned with local planning efforts, PRPs, local TMDLs, other applicable watershed restoration and resource management plans, the goals and outcomes from Chesapeake Bay Program partnership’s 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement, and NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Business Plan

Project Location – Proposal clearly demonstrates the need and/or strategic importance of locating the proposed practices consistent with associated CAPs, PRPs, local TMDLs, and/or other applicable watershed restoration and management plans.

Project Context – Proposal clearly supports state-level Priority Initiatives and, where final, associated CAPs. Proposal further maximizes alignment with PRPs, local TMDLs, other applicable watershed restoration and management plans, and Management Strategies and Work Plans developed by the Chesapeake Bay Program pursuant to the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

Community Engagement, Partnership, Collaboration and Support – Project engenders strong local government and community support, as evidenced by alignment with local planning priorities and authorization from one or more eligible local government(s), with special consideration being given to underrepresented communities. 

Technical Merit, Work Plan, and Budget – Project is technically sound, feasible, cost-effective, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible. Applicants are encouraged to provide documentation of supporting technical assistance either received or committed to by appropriate state and federal agencies, academics and consultants.

OTHER

Nutrient and Sediment Load Reductions: All PA-LGI projects must document, track, and report on nutrient and sediment load reductions to local rivers and streams, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, resulting from local implementation efforts. To assist in generating credible approaches to estimate and track nutrient and sediment load reductions, NFWF has partnered with the Chesapeake Commons and other public and private funding institutions to develop FieldDoc, a user-friendly tool that allows consistent planning, tracking, and reporting of water quality improvement activities and associated nutrient and sediment load reductions from proposed grant projects. 

FieldDoc currently includes functionality for a significant share of water quality improvement practices approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program for the purposes of TMDL crediting. All PA-LGI projects must consequently utilize FieldDoc to calculate estimated load reductions included in their application. When setting up proposed projects in FieldDoc, please be sure to list your application’s 5-digit Easygrants number in the FieldDoc project title.

Upon grant award, NFWF will require all projects submitted under this solicitation to utilize FieldDoc for tracking and reporting of applicable water quality improvement activities during the course of their grant project. For technical support on FieldDoc utilization during the pre-proposal or proposal development process, please contact Erin Hofmann with the Chesapeake Commons at hofmann@chesapeakecommons.org

Landowner Agreements – Applicants must provide signed Landowner Agreements (see Related Documents Appendix B) for each participating landowner prior to the commencement of any on-the-ground implementation activity.  This agreement establishes further conditions for long term maintenance and monitoring of the project, consistent with best practices from similar regional programs.

Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable. This funding opportunity will award grants of Federal financial assistance funds; applicants must be able to comply with the OMB guidance in subparts A through F of 2 CFR 200 (OMB Uniform Guidance).  While for-profit entities are eligible applicants, charges to a potential award may include actual costs only; recipients may not realize profit from an award of federal financial assistance funds.

Matching Contributions – Matching contributions consist of cash, contributed goods and services, volunteer hours, and/or property raised and spent for the Project during the Period of Performance. Larger match ratios and matching fund contributions from a diversity of partners are encouraged and will be more competitive during application review. In general, applicants may consider matching contributions raised or spent on or after January 1, 2019 as eligible under the PA-LGI funding opportunity.

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively.  When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations.  

Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support – Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications.  Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), and National Historic Preservation Act.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s).  Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals.  As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.

Quality Assurance – If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation prior to starting this work. Applicants should budget time and resources to complete this task if appropriate. Further information about NFWF’s Stewardship Fund Quality Assurance process is available on the NFWF website.

Permits – Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with DEP prior to submitting their proposal.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.

Federal Funding – The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.

Good Standing Policy: All applicants with active grants from NFWF must be in good standing in terms of reporting requirements, expenditure of funds, and QAPPs (if required).  In addition, NFWF may also consider an applicant’s standing under grant programs administered by external partners in determining performance-based qualifications for proposed grantees.  Active grantees with questions on their current standing are encouraged to contact NFWF staff in advance of submitting applications.  

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change and contingent on the availability of funding.  Please check the program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Applicant Webinar (Registration)
Tuesday, September 17, 10:00AM EDT​
​FieldDoc Webinar (Regist​​ration)
​Thursday, September 19, 1:00PM EDT
Proposal Due Date
​Tuesday, October 22, 11:59pm EDT
Proposal Review Period
​November 2019
​Awards Announced
​December 2019 (anticipated)

HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org​ to register in our Easygrants online system.  New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login).  Enter your applicant information.
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application.  Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.

APPLICATION ASSISTANCE 

A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded at http://www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded at http://www.nfwf.org/chesapeake.  

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx).

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact Jake Reilly (jake.reilly@nfwf.org), Stephanie Heidbreder (stephanie.heidbreder@nfwf.org) or Sydney Godbey (sydney.godbey@nfwf.org) via e-mail or by phone at (202) 857-0166.

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygrants Helpdesk
Email: Easygrants@nfwf.org​
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include: Your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program to which you are applying, and a description of the issue.


 ​​​​​​​​​​​1For purposes of the PA-LGI program, “local governments” include counties, municipalities, cities, towns, townships, and boroughs as well as local public authorities or districts, including conservation districts or regional planning commissions/districts, serving communities within the program’s GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS.

2See ELIGIBILITY section.

3Definitions adapted from the Chesa​peake Bay Program Quick Reference Guide for Best Management Practices and/or the Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual.​

4Including but not limited to mobilization, supplies and materials, and construction and project management.

5Depending on the specific practice, these standards and guidelines may include the NRCS Pennsylvania Field Office Technical Guide, the Guidelines for Natural Stream Channel Design in Pennsylvania, the USDA NRCS National Engineering Handbook, and the Pennsylvania Stormwater Best Management Practices Manual.

6 Aggregated consistent with best practices to protect privacy under Pennsylvania’s WIP reporting and federal program privacy guidelines. Required Landowner Agreements will support authorized collection and uses of landowner information.

7For purposes of the PA-LGI program, “local governments” include counties, municipalities, cities, towns, townships, and boroughs as well as local public authorities or districts, including conservation districts or regional planning commissions/districts, serving communities within the program’s GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS.
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