Quality Assurance Project Plan Development Guidance

What is a Quality Assurance Project Plan?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), primary source of funding for Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) grants, requires preparation of Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) for projects that collect and use environmental data. A QAPP documents the project planning process and serves as a blueprint for how your project will collect and analyze that data. 

Why a QAPP?

Quality assurance helps make sure the data used for environmental decision-making are: Accurate, Clear, Consistent, Repeatable, Accessible and Available.

When is a QAPP Required (or not)?

LISFF grantees whose projects will collect, analyze, or use primary and/or secondary environmental data for the purpose of making decisions, assessment, management or policy recommendations, or drawing conclusions are required to submit a QAPP to National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for review, comment and approval by EPA.   

Examples of Data Collection, Activities or Data Use which Require a QAPP 

New primary data collection; existing or secondary data use (i.e., new use of data collected for a different purpose, literature reviews, etc.); data collection associated with development or design of community, watershed or site plans; sample results, observations, assessments, measurements, surveys and survey results (people and environmental media); mapping environmental processes or conditions (GIS); water or other environmental media monitoring; developing information technology and management systems, model development or use; collecting stakeholder opinions from surveys or workshops to formally inform planning or project delivery, etc.


If your data will be used for educational purposes only, a QAPP may not be required. Questions about whether a QAPP is required, please prepare the Data Collection Information Form and send to Victoria Moreno.


QAPP Terms and Conditions in the NFWF Grant Agreement Contract

All LISFF grants proposing environmental data and use have “Terms” and “Conditions” in their grant agreement contracts with NFWF requiring projects complete a QAPP before data collection activities are undertaken. Grantees agree to these terms upon signing the contract. Please note NFWF will not approval disbursement of any funds for actual data collection activities associated with a project until the grantee has an EPA approved QAPP. 

Technical Assistance Support for QAPP Development

NFWF has contracted with Stantec, a global infrastructure, environmental and social development company, to provide expert guidance to LISFF grantees about development of a QAPP. Contact Victoria.Moreno@nfwf.org for additional information about this assistance. 

Timing & Coordination for QAPP Development and Approval

Please plan to submit a draft QAPP to NFWF at least four months in advance of starting data driven activity.

Activity Responsibility
Prepare Sections. 1.2–1.4 of QAPP template(s). (See below for templates) Grantee
Review of Sections 1.2–1.4 and prepare comments1 Stantec
Return comments to grantee and as needed schedule calls with grantees to provide further guidance NFWF
Prepare a complete draft QAPP v.1.  30 working days Grantee
As needed, review of draft QAPP v.1 and prepare comment matrix1 Stantec
Return comment matrix to grantee and as needed schedule call with grantee NFWF
Revise and prepare a complete draft QAPP v.2 based upon comment matrix. 15 working days Grantee
Re-review QAPP Draft v. 2 as needed.1  Re-review may be occur based on comment matrix and completeness of grantee response Stantec
If re-review not needed, NFWF package and submit to EPA for review NFWF
Review and prepare comments2 EPA
Revise based upon EPA comments. 5 working days Grantee
Review revised QAPP and if needed prepare comments2 EPA
If EPA determines no further revisions, NFWF commence routing for signatures NFWF/Grantee/EPA
Final approval LISFF EPA Project Officer

1 Each submission of the draft QAPP to Stantec will initiate a 30-day review and comment period
2 Each submission of the draft QAPP to EPA will initiate a minimum of a 60-day review and comment period

QAPP Templates

Multiple QAPP Templates are available to assist LISFF Grantees. If you are uncertain about which QAPP template to utilize, contact Victoria Moreno.

Other Resources and Training about QAPP

The following links are to web resources that can be used to help an organization develop an EPA-approved QA plan for a LISS-funded project.

“Meet the EPA Region 1 and 2 QA Team”

Links to PPT downloads from the 2023 training session: