As of January 1, 2013, congressional district lines were redrawn in many states. Please carefully review the district(s) for your project's location when entering them into your full proposal application in Easygrants. If you are not sure what the congressional district(s) should be, you can enter the project zip codes or addresses here to determine the correct district(s) for your project.
Online applications must be completed by Thursday, April 18, 2013, 5pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Long Island Sound (the Sound) is one of the largest urban estuaries in the United States. It provides economic and recreational benefits to millions of people in Connecticut and New York, while also providing natural habitats to more than 1,200 species of invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and hundreds of species of migratory birds.
The Long Island Sound Study (LISS), sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states of Connecticut and New York, is a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies, universities, national and local environmental groups, businesses, and community groups who are dedicated to protecting and restoring the Sound. The LISS partnership is committed to the implementation of the 1994 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that serves as the blue print for actions needed to conserve the Sound. In 2011, the LISS also completed an Action Agenda that outlines priority activities that will drive measurable conservation outcomes over the next two years that benefit the Sound.
LONG ISLAND SOUND FUTURES FUND
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund (LISFF) is a key implementation tool of the LISS. Since 2005, this competitive grants program has invested $10.5 million in 261 projects in communities surrounding the Sound. The projects are opening up 128 river miles for migratory fish to return to their historic spawning and feeding areas, restoring and acquiring nearly 959 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing pollution from entering the Sound and its rivers through control of polluted runoff and protection of riparian buffers. The LISFF has built the capacity of organizations and institutions to support the conservation of the Sound and has funded important educational programs that are helping to connect the public to it. With grantee match of $23 million, the Long Island Sound Futures Fund has generated a total of almost $33.5 million for locally-based conservation in both states.
The LISS, in partnership with the EPA, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), invites your submission of a proposal to the LISFF 2013 to help accelerate the restoration and protection of Long Island Sound, a nationally recognized resource of cultural, ecological, and economic importance.
The goal of the LISFF 2013 is to provide funds to accelerate implementation of the LISS and its recently adopted LISS Action Agenda. The Fund seeks to achieve this goal through collaborative, result-oriented actions and strategic partnerships that contribute to the advancement of the LISS’s restoration and protection goals.
FUNDING AVAILABILITY, GRANT SIZE, AND PERFORMANCE PERIOD
At the time of this announcement, the LISS partners anticipate awarding approximately $1 million in grants through this solicitation, although the final total award amount is dependent upon the availability of federal and non-federal funds.
Grant awards will be made in two categories: Large grants between $20,000 and $150,000 and mini-grants between $3,000 and $10,000. Proposals that request funds outside of the range of minimum or maximum funding allowable under each category will not be considered for funding.
Grant awards support projects that span one year (12 months) to 15 months. Projects must be completed within that time frame.
Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations; state, tribal, and local governments; and academic and educational institutions. For profit entities and individuals are not eligible to apply for or to receive funds under the LISFF.
Habitat restoration or stewardship projects must fall within the coastal area boundary established by the LISS (e.g., the Long Island Sound and its coastal watersheds) as shown in the Interactive LISS Boundary Map. This boundary includes the coastal portions of New York that drain to Long Island Sound (portions of Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties and portions of Queens, Bronx, and Manhattan in New York City) and the coastal area of Connecticut.
Watershed protection, stormwater management, education, nonpoint source pollution control, and fish passage projects may be in any portion of the Long Island Sound and its watersheds within the states of Connecticut and New York.
All projects, including those outside the coastal boundary of Long Island Sound, must have a specific and explicit focus on, and show benefit, to the Sound estuary.
Each project must fall into one or more of the following conservation priorities:
A. Urban Waters
Proposals that help achieve the objectives of the EPA Urban Waters Initiative are sought under this Request for Proposals (RFP). Projects should assist communities, especially underserved communities, to access, improve, and benefit from their urban waters and the surrounding land. Project types may fit within any of the conservation priorities outlined in this RFP.
B. Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds
The LISS seeks to improve water quality in Long Island Sound in order to restore and protect its fish and wildlife and to maintain and enhance the resource for the public’s use and enjoyment. Water quality challenges facing Long Island Sound are outlined in the CCMP and in A TMDL Analysis to Achieve Water Quality Standards for Dissolved Oxygen in Long Island Sound.
Funding will be directed to: a) planning, engineering and design; and b) implementation costs associated with constructing the project.
The LISFF will focus its funding in five areas:
1. Greening Urban and Suburban Communities.
a. Improve water quality in urban and suburban communities through a variety of conservation projects such as green street initiatives, rain gardens, bioretention, bioswales, and other proven low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs). These practices use natural systems to increase infiltration and/or filtration, reduce water flows and the amount of water directed to stream s and rivers, provide positive aesthetic and recreational benefits to a community, and improve overall watershed health.
b. This category may also include innovative proposals to implement nutrient bio-extraction (an environmental management strategy by which nutrients are removed from an aquatic ecosystem through the harvest of enhanced biological production, including the aquaculture of suspension-feeding shellfish and/or algae).
2. Water Quality Monitoring.
Provide water quality monitoring as a component of an established comprehensive watershed planning and management effort. The monitoring must be tied explicitly to an overall watershed management program designed to identify and remediate use impairments. Any embayment monitoring must also be tied to the local and state government entity with responsibility for the waterbody to be monitored; and must be explicitly linked to impaired waterbody designation under section 305(b).
3. Watershed Plan Implementation Projects.
Assist local governments and other types of organizations, which are working in partnership with public and private entities, to implement projects identified as a result of existing watershed management planning focused on restoring water quality, preventing water pollution, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Specifically, funds will be available for:
a. Implementing non-point source pollution reduction projects outlined in an existing watershed management plan;
b. Reviewing and modifying codes, ordinances, and land use policies to encourage LID techniques that reduce impacts of current and future growth on water quality; and/or
c. Engaging in inter-municipal agreements for watershed management to encourage cooperation in addressing sources of nonpoint source pollution. For example, projects are sought to improve Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) by engaging in more inspection and evaluation of existing systems, identifying failure rates, and supporting corrective actions by a local municipal or inter-municipal entity.
4. Riparian Restoration.
Restore freshwater wetlands, shorelines, and riparian forest buffers, and reconnect floodplains to improve water quality and increase habitat for aquatic and terrestrial species. Projects linked to formal federal, state or local habitat restoration goals and watershed plans that will result in quantifiable and measureable results will be given higher priority for potential funding.
5. Watershed Planning.
Develop watershed-based management plans in collaboration with public and private entities to prioritize activities aimed at maintaining or restoring a watershed’s hydrologic and ecological functions. No new planning efforts will be supported by LISFF for watersheds or sub-watersheds, embayments, tributaries or sub-tributaries, or in LISS Stewardship Initiative areas where federal, state or other plans already exist, including LISFF supported planning, watershed plans created under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Watershed Based Plans, or New York State Water Quality Management Plans, etc.
C. Restore and Protect Habitat, and Conserve Wildlife
The LISFF seeks to enhance habitat of important fish and wildlife species of Long Island Sound and its rivers and streams. Projects should focus on one or more of the 12 priority habitat types identified in the LISS Habitat Restoration Initiative as degraded or under threat from future development and pollution; and/or on one or more of the LISS Stewardship Initiative areas designated by the LISS to conserve natural resources, increase public access to the Sound, and protect important habitats; and/or on projects in underserved urban areas.
Preference will be given to those projects that can demonstrate a measurable conservation outcome (i.e., number of river miles made accessible to migratory fish spawning and rearing, number of acres restored, number of stream miles of riparian corridors restored, etc.). Furthermore, preference will be given to on-the-ground restoration projects that have or are close to securing all necessary permits for implementation and that leverage technical expertise and financial resources.
Funding will be directed to: a) planning, engineering and design costs associated with restoring and protecting habitat; and b) implementation costs associated with restoring and protecting habitat.
Projects that will be considered for funding include:
1. Coastal Habitat Restoration
Restore habitat within the twelve priority habitat types identified by the LISS in the LISS Habitat Restoration Initiative. For example, projects are sought that support fish passage by eliminating barriers and maintaining critical in-stream flows to increase aquatic habitat for diadromous fish such as river herring and American eel.
Applicants are required to submit a map or aerial photo indicating the extent of the restored habitat. Please draw a line around the area to be restored, and use this polygon to calculate the acres to be restored reported in your application. For river migratory corridor applications, please draw a line from the dam or project site to the next upstream obstruction to fish passage, and include lines for all connected tributaries that could potentially pass anadromous species as a result of this project. Consult with a qualified fisheries biologist for a professional opinion before determining the full range of miles reconnected from this project. In cases where data are not available to support all mileage claims, a qualified fisheries biologist should use his or her best professional judgment in determining which tributaries to count, and the distance upstream for each one. Projects targeting only eel passage may skip the full range map, but a best guess mileage figure is still preferred.
2. Stewardship of Living Resources.
Projects that enhance populations of native wildlife such as: enhancing or restoring non-commercially harvested native shellfish beds and reefs to enhance water quality or spawning stock habitat; and providing public education and stewardship programs at beaches during key bird nesting and migration periods to minimize disturbance to those areas and to enhance bird populations.
3. Stewardship Natural Resource Management Plans.
Develop natural resource management plans at sites within the 33 inaugural LISS Stewardship Initiative areas. No new planning efforts will be supported by LISFF for sites where federal, state, or other plans already exist.
4. Early Successional Forest Conservation.
Restore early successional forests in order to protect rare and threatened plant and wildlife species, including the New England Cottontail, that are dependent upon this type of habitat, and to protect water quality.
5. Land Acquisition Assistance.
Support for the administrative and transactional costs associated with acquiring parcels of land that are located in the LISS Stewardship Initiative areas to preserve ecological function and, where appropriate, provide natural resources-based recreation and public access.
D. Engage People and Communities Around the Sound
The Long Island Sound Futures Fund seeks projects that engage citizens and communities to: 1) foster sustainable behaviors through social marketing, and 2) increase knowledge of and appreciation for the Sound and its natural, cultural and recreational resources.
Projects to foster sustainable individual and community action through social marketing tools and methods should include at least two but ideally all of the following elements: a) define and assess an audience (e.g., survey work) and then create a message for the targeted audience and develop a methodology to deliver it, b) conduct a pilot project, and c) use information from the pilot project to implement a full campaign.
Projects to increase knowledge and appreciation of LIS should have goals to address a defined problem; specific strategies, methods and messages; and assessment tools that evaluate project or program effectiveness.
All social marketing, education and minigrant projects must have a specific and explicit focus on and benefit to the Long Island Sound estuary.
Stand-alone public access such as creation of boat or kayak launches, fishing piers, public viewing areas, waterfront trails, or walkways are not eligible for funding. Stand-alone signage projects are not eligible for funding.
Project proposals that seek to address one of the following issues will be considered for funding:
1. Sustainable Yard and Lawn Care.
Develop and/or promote guidance to residential and municipal landowners and service/product providers for sustainable land care practices. This includes reducing non-agricultural turf fertilizer and pesticide use, promoting lawn alternatives, designing riparian buffers that use native plant species, and encouraging the active and positive involvement of the fertilizer industry to control nutrients in turf fertilizers.
2. Improve Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems.
Promote guidance to ensure that conventional OWTS (e.g., cesspools and septic tanks) are properly sited, constructed, maintained, inspected, and repaired with educational programs aimed at engaging homeowners/users, service providers, developers, and state and local government.
3. Long Island Sound Ecology.
Increase and sustain awareness of LISS Stewardship Initiative areas, water quality, ecology, natural history, culture, and heritage of Long Island Sound using educational tools and activities and effective communications formats (i.e., web, social media, publications etc.) with school children and in communities to protect conservation value, improve access, increase appreciation, and engage active stewardship of the estuary.
4. Boater Education.
Inform and engage boaters, marinas, boatyards, and marine retailers in activities that seek to reduce pollution, especially toxics, into the Sound. Also, enhance boat pumpout facilities and increase their use by recreational and commercial boaters to increase compliance with no-discharge zone designation.
Minigrants ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 are available to support hands-on and highly visible projects and activities that involve and educate citizens and students about the Sound and the public’s connection to it. Activities and projects that support the priorities above are encouraged, however, other activities such as environmental festivals, boat tours, beach clean ups, curb your dog campaigns, storm drain stenciling/marking, and pet store and garden store pollution prevention programs are examples of other projects that are eligible for minigrants. The LISFF seeks projects or events that recognize and celebrate Long Island Sound as part of National Estuaries Day 2013.
E. Improve Conservation on Private Lands
The Long Island Sound Watershed is home to thousands of farms and rural landowners that manage significant, visible, and highly productive operations in Connecticut and New York. For this reason, the LISFF is committing resources for applicants to work with landowners to increase the number of conservation practices that are applied on private lands. For profit entities and individuals are not eligible to apply for or to receive funds under the LISFF.
Projects that will be considered for funding include:
1. Assist landowners to improve water quality.
Assist agricultural producers and rural landowners to reduce nutrient and other forms of surface runoff and groundwater leaching affecting the water quality of the Sound.
2. Provide technical assistance to agricultural producers and landowners.
Provide targeted assistance to agricultural producers and rural landowners to encourage the application of best management practices that reduce nutrients and to promote farm bill conservation programs.
3. Assist landowners to improve forest health.
Help landowners plan and install conservation practices that will improve coastal forest health and productivity, reduce erosion, improve water quality, and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
4. Assist animal operation landowners.
Assist landowners and operators to improve nutrient, waste, and water management from animal operations adjacent to or affecting the water resources of the Sound.
GRANT CATEGORIES. LISFF will award three different types of grants within Large Grants and one type of grant within the mini-grant categories as follows:
Large Grants ($20,000 to $150,000)
· Grant Type 1: Implementation Grants
Ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 awarded to support projects that result in quantifiable pollutant reductions or lead to measureable gains in restoring or protecting one or more of LISS Habitat Initiative types or LISS Stewardship Initiative areas. Grants in the upper range are expected to be very competitive and must be fully implemented within 15 months of the proposed project start date. The start date should be within three months of the grant award, expected to be in October 2013.
· Grant Type 2: Planning and Water Quality Monitoring Grants
Ranging from $20,000 to $60,000 awarded primarily to support planning and design activities that set the stage for successful on-the-ground implementation of habitat restoration, acquisition or water quality projects or monitoring. Funding for watershed planning is only available in areas where federal, state, or other plans do not currently exist.
· Grant Type 3: Education Grants
Ranging from $20,000 to $35,000 awarded to support projects using social marketing and/or education tools to change behavior and/or build awareness in targeted audiences and the general public.
Minigrants ($3,000 to $10,000)
· Grant Type: MiniGrants
Ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 to be awarded to projects that result in more sustainable behaviors using social marketing and/or education tools or that increase knowledge and build awareness in targeted audiences and/or the general public.
Proposals that request funds outside of the range of minimum or maximum funding allowable under each category will be disqualified.
HOW TO APPLY?
Submit a full-proposal via the on-line full proposal application by Thursday, April 18, 2013, 5pm Eastern Daylight Time.
Attend an online webinar!
We recommend you consider registering for a LISFF webinar. Participation in webinars is especially helpful if you are a first time applicant, have a new project, or applied previously and were turned down.
The webinar scheduled on March 13, 2013 will provide a broad overview of the grant program and discuss any changes from LISFF 2012. Register Here The webinar scheduled for March 15, 2013 provides in-depth information about: grant program priorities, the online system and elements of a successful proposal. New applicants and applicants who need a refresher to the online system will find this webinar most useful. Register Here
Technical assistance is available from state and federal partners to help in the development of components of your project. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the list of Technical Advisors and contact one in advance of sending in a proposal, particularly those entities seeking funding for a habitat restoration project.
NOTIFICATION OF AWARDS
Award notification is expected to be made in early October 2013.
NUMBER OF APPLICATIONS
The maximum number of proposals per organization is three. For example, you may submit two large grant proposals and one small grant proposal for a total of three. Universities are excluded from this limit if multiple departments or investigators are submitting proposals. However, no more than one proposal will be accepted from any individual principal investigator. Please note that while your organization may submit multiple proposals, it is unlikely that all proposals will be funded given the competition for funding.
LIMITS ON PROPOSALS THAT HAVE RECEIVED THREE CONSECUTIVE YEARS OR MORE OF LISFF FUNDING
A project that has received funding from the LISFF for three consecutive years will not be considered for a grant.
PERIOD OF GRANT PERFORMANCE
Projects supported by the LISFF must begin within three months of announcement of grant awards (announcement anticipated by October of 2013) and be completed in one year (12 months) to 15 months of start date.
HABITAT RESTORATION PROPOSAL GUIDELINES
RESTRICTIONS AND INELIGIBLE ACTIVITIES. PLEASE REVIEW!
No EPA funds awarded through this announcement shall be used to directly or indirectly support the placement of fill, pilings, or platforms in open waters, near shore waters, or wetlands to create artificial islands or serve as infrastructure for commercial development or new land for purposes other than habitat restoration.
No funding under this announcement may be awarded to for profit entities and individuals.
Incomplete applications and proposals in formats other than the formal LISFF application will be disqualified.
Proposals that request funds outside of the range of minimum or maximum funding allowable under each category will be disqualified without review.
Proposals for research projects are not eligible under the LISFF. Those interested in funding for research should consider the LISS Research Grant Program.
Habitat creation (e.g., destroying one habitat type in favor of another) projects will not be funded nor will projects to modify a habitat that is currently healthy and functioning.
Projects involving restoration or repair of existing shellfish beds for commercial harvesting purposes or establishing new shellfish habitat for commercial purposes are not eligible for funding.
Stand-alone public access such as creation of boat launches, fishing piers, public viewing areas, waterfront trails, or walkways are not eligible for funding.
Stand-alone signage projects are not eligible for funding.
New academic/educational curriculum development is not eligible for funding.
Funds cannot be used for political advocacy, lobbying, boycotts, litigation expenses, terrorist activities or activities conducted in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Funds cannot be used for legally mandated actions under local, state or federal law, and/or associated with administrative permit conditions or terms of settlement agreements such as specific proposed projects that are listed in a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.
Budget items that are considered secondary to the project’s central objective such as cash prizes, kayaks, laptops, and GPS units are generally consider ineligible. If such an item is central to delivery of the project you must explain this in the budget section of your proposal.
No funds can be used for traditional marketing efforts that serve to promote generally the applicant organization and its initiatives.
No funds can be used for lunches or snacks, T-shirts and promotional items associated with projects or programs.
STANDARDS FOR EVALUATION OF LISFF APPLICATION
An Advisory Review Team for the LISFF will review each proposal against the standards listed below:
Correlation to conservation priorities and types of project sought under the LISFF 2013 request for proposals: 0-15 points. For example, projects linked to formal federal, state or local habitat restoration or water quality goals or watershed plans will be given higher priority of potential funding.
Potential to directly and sustainably restore or protect the health and living resources of Long Island Sound: 0-10 points.
Clarity and achievability of proposed quantitative and qualitative project deliverables: 0-20 points. For example, projects that can demonstrate a measurable conservation outcome (i.e., number of river miles opened for migratory fish spawning and rearing, number of acres restored, number of stream miles of riparian corridors restored, pounds of nitrogen reduced, percent knowledge increased based upon pre- and post-project surveys of participants, etc.) will be given higher priority for potential funding.
Completeness and soundness of technical approach to achieve project deliverables: 0-20 points. For example, preference will be given to on-the-ground restoration projects that have or are close to securing all necessary permits for implementation and that leverage technical expertise and financial resources.
Reasonable and justified budget request: 0-10 points.
Applicant experience and qualifications: 0-10 points.
Level of matching funds: 0-15 points.
General Match Criterion
The required level of match for LISFF grants is a minimum of 25% of total grant request (25% of $10,000 grant request = match of $2,500; 25% of $100,000 grant request = required match of $25,000 etc.). Larger match ratios of 1:1 or greater are strongly encouraged and will make a proposal significantly more competitive as shown in above point scoring system used by review team to evaluate proposals.
Matching funds may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes.
To be eligible, matching contributions must be:
Raised and dedicated specifically for the project.
Spent between the project start and end dates designated in the grant application. Please note: for ongoing projects or projects starting in advance of the LISFF 2013 award announcement, any match raised and dedicated specifically for the project from April 18, 2012 forward may be used towards Sound Futures Fund match. Need clarification? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are not eligible to be used as match).
Applied only to the LISFF grant and not used as match for other grants.
PROJECTS INVOLVING DATA COLLECTION
All work performed or funded by the LISFF that involves the collection or use of environmental data must have an approved United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). An approved QAPP documents the planning, implementation, and assessment procedures for a particular project, as well as any specific quality assurance and quality control activities. If data collected will inform management by a public agency or is part of research by a principal investigator, a QAPP will be required. The need for a QAPP is also triggered by activities.
Projects conducting basic planning, modeling, or preliminary data gathering activities may often follow less formal modified QAPP requirements or activity-specific customization. Where data collected will not be used externally such as with a classroom based water monitoring exercise to train students about data collection methods a QAPP would not be required.
Where data collection has been funded by the LISFF, an approved QAPP must be in hand before any funds may be disbursed towards that aspect of a project. If you have questions about whether you require a QAPP follow the link to information on QAPP or contact email@example.com
AWARD AND CONTRACTING PROCESS
Proposals received will be reviewed by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund Advisory Review Team and ranked according to the “Standards for Evaluation of Application.” Subsequently, applicants will receive email notification of the decision to fund or not to fund.
After project selection, a NFWF Project Administrator will work directly with recipients of funds to prepare grant agreements and other necessary paperwork based on the approved project proposal. Following approval of the grantee’s financial and legal documentation and budget and programmatic deliverables, a grant agreement will be drafted and emailed for printing and signature by the grant recipient. The recipient returns two copies of the signed agreement to NFWF and is then able to request payment of grant funds.
Recipients will be expected to submit interim, annual, and final financial and programmatic reports. Ten percent of the total grant award is held back until NFWF receives and approves a final programmatic and financial report.
Contact Lynn Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or John Wright email@example.com with program questions.
Problems using the Easygrants online system? At the bottom of the page in the Easygrants online application system is the statement, “For technical assistance, please contact us via email (an email link is embedded in the page) or phone 202-595-2497.” Please leave a message at the telephone number and a NFWF staff member will get back to you shortly. You can use the online email link or email for support when you are not in the online system by sending an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Social marketing is the planning and implementation of programs designed to bring about social change using concepts from commercial marketing. Social marketing is not social media. Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.