The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications for the Wetland Program Development Grants (Region 2) to increase the quantity and quality of wetlands in the U.S. by conserving and restoring wetland acreage and improving wetland condition.
- In pursuing these goals, EPA seeks to develop the capacity of all levels of government to develop and/or refine effective, comprehensive programs for wetland protection and management. In addition to developing and/or refining wetland protection and management programs, EPA seeks to build wetlands programs to incorporate climate change and environmental justice considerations.
- Wetlands are areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. For this grant program, the term wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.
- WPDGs provide states, tribes, territories, local governments, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia (hereafter referred to as applicants or recipients) an opportunity to develop and/or refine comprehensive state, tribal, territory or local government wetland programs. These programs are meant to:
- Develop the capacity of state, tribal, territory, or local governments to increase the quantity and quality of wetlands in the U.S. by conserving and restoring wetland acreage and improving wetland condition.
- Use one or more of the following “Core Elements” to achieve this goal.
- Core Elements: With the work of many states, tribes, and territories, EPA has distilled a set of core elements, actions, and example/suggested activities that together comprise a comprehensive wetland program. EPA has summarized these common core elements, actions, and activities in the Tribal, State, Territory Wetlands Program Core Element Framework, also called the Core Elements Framework (CEF). The CEF describes in greater detail the four core elements that make up an effective state, tribal, or territory wetland program. These four core elements are:
- Monitoring and assessment.
- Voluntary restoration and protection.
- Regulatory approaches including Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 certification.
- Wetland-specific water quality standards.
National Priority Areas
- Climate Change: Taking action on climate change is one of EPA’s top priorities. Taking action to fight the urgent threat of climate change offers an opportunity to build more resilient infrastructure, protect public health, advance environmental justice, strengthen America’s working communities, and spur American technological innovations. EPA is working to improve society’s understanding of climate change, its impacts on human health and the environment, and actions that can be taken to adapt to climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
- Justice40 (J40): Factors that may indicate disproportionate and adverse impacts as referenced above include: differential proximity and exposure to adverse environmental hazards; greater susceptibility to adverse effects from environmental hazards (due to causes such as age, chronic medical conditions, lack of health care access, or limited access to quality nutrition); unique environmental exposures because of practices linked to cultural background or socioeconomic status (for example, subsistence fishing or farming); cumulative effects from multiple stressors; reduced ability to effectively participate in decision making processes (due to causes such as lack of or ineffective language access programs, lack of programs to make processes accessible to persons with disabilities, inability to access traditional communication channels, or limited capacity to access technical and legal resources); and degraded physical infrastructure, such as poor housing, poorly maintained public buildings (e.g., schools), or lack of access to transportation.
- Track One: WPP Applications
- Only state, tribal, and territory applicants are eligible to submit applications and compete under Track One: WPP.
- EPA has found that long-term wetland planning (i.e., Wetland Program Plans or WPPs) helps states, territories, and tribes develop their wetland programs more effectively and efficiently, therefore, EPA emphasizes that WPPs are a national priority.
- Wetland Program Plans. WPPs are voluntary plans developed by state, tribal, and territory agencies that articulate what the state, tribe, or territory wants to accomplish with their wetland programs over time. WPPs describe overall program goals along with broad-based actions consistent with the CEF and more specific activities that will help achieve the goals. Timelines for the WPPs vary between three to six years, with more specific timeframes typically associated with the WPP actions/activities. WPPs should include the following five minimum components:
- An overall goal statement(s) for the program over the period covered by the WPP.
- An overall timeframe for the WPP, with a minimum timeframe of three years starting from the time of WPP submittal to EPA.
- A list of planned actions consistent with the CEF that the program intends to carry out over the WPP’s timeframe which, if collectively met, will accomplish the overall WPP goal(s).
- An intended schedule for the achievement of each action.
- A listing of more specific activities to be accomplished under each action.
- Track Two: Non-WPP Applications
- State, territorial, tribal, local government, interstate agencies, intertribal consortium, and university applicants that are agencies of a state government are eligible to apply under Track Two: Non-WPP, and these applications will be evaluated based on the evaluation criteria. Local government, interstate agencies, intertribal consortium, and colleges and university applicants that are agencies of a state government are only eligible to apply under Track Two: Non-WPP.
- Examples of how to link to an EPA-approved WPP include but are not limited to:
- In their EPA-approved WPP, a state, tribe, or territory proposes to develop regulations on groundwater withdrawals in areas surrounding vital wetlands. To link to this WPP, a university proposes to study the effect of groundwater withdrawals on particular types of wetlands common in the state, tribe, or territory and provide the results of the study to the state, tribe, or territory. The goal would be to inform the regulations governing groundwater withdrawals in areas near vital wetlands.
- In their EPA-approved WPP, a state, tribe, or territory proposes to survey wetlands identified in its existing wetland inventory to verify location, hydric conditions, and wetland type. To link to this WPP, a county proposes to perform this verification within its own boundaries.
- EPA anticipates approximately $1,588,000 in federal funding to be available for assistance agreements under this announcement to fund approximately seven to eleven awards depending on funding availability and other applicable considerations. Awards for the selected projects will likely range from $60,000 to $350,000 in federal funding.
- EPA anticipates awarding approximately $794,000 in federal funds under Track One: WPP and approximately $794,000 in federal funds under Track Two: Non-WPP. It is anticipated that approximately three to six awards will be made under Track One: WPP and approximately three to six awards will be made under Track Two: Non WPP with the expectation of funding more projects from Track 1 than Track 2.
- It is anticipated that the assistance agreements awarded under this announcement will have one-to-three-year project periods. The project period for assistance agreements under this announcement should be no more than four years.
- Development of wetland maps directly or by supporting wetland mapping coalitions that may also incorporate traditionally important and sacred species identification in the wetland types (All Core Elements).
- Development of strategies that take into account hazard mitigation/flood/drought planning, climate change and resiliency, and environmental justice into wetland restoration and protection (Voluntary Restoration and Protection Core Element, Regulatory Core Element).
- Development of a report on the ambient condition of wetland resources at a state, tribal, territory, or population scale and may include traditionally important and sacred species, sites, etc. (Monitoring and Assessment Core Element).
- Development of a permit program to discharge dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, state, or tribe, including the assumption of the CWA Section 404 permitting program (Regulatory Core Element).
- Development of strategies to integrate goals of wetland protection and restoration programs or activities into water reuse planning (Voluntary Restoration/Protection and/or Regulatory Core Elements).
- Development of methods or strategies to incorporate wetland water quality standards into EPA approved state, tribal, or territory water quality standards and may include traditional and culture uses (Wetland-specific Water Quality Standard Core Element).
- Examples of anticipated outcomes from the assistance agreements to be awarded under this announcement include, but are not limited to:
- Increased quantity of wetlands.
- Increased quality of wetlands.
- Improved wetland protection efforts.
- Increased stakeholder and decisionmaker understanding of wetland condition for a variety of uses/functions, including traditional and cultural uses.
- Increased stakeholder and decisionmaker’s understanding of wetland ecologic condition and/or function at population scales (i.e., state, territorial, tribal, or regional).
- Increased stakeholder and decisionmaker’s understanding of the impacts of increased flooding/drought and/or climate resilience on wetlands, especially on traditional and cultural uses.
- Improved wetland inventories and baseline condition assessments to address hazard mitigation/flood/drought effects and climate adaptation.
- Improved data to use in modeling potential hydrologic change, ecosystem/biogeographic shifts, wetland losses, or wetland increases on the landscape that can be used to inform stakeholders and decisionmakers.
- States, territories (Insular Areas), tribes, local government agencies, colleges and universities that are agencies of a state, interstate agencies, and intertribal consortia are eligible to apply for WPDGs under this announcement. Tribes must be federally-recognized, although “Treatment as a State” status is not required. As explained in Section I, there will be two separate applicant tracks with states, territories, and tribes in Track One: WPP or Track Two: Non-WPP, and local governments, interstate agencies, intertribal consortia, and colleges and universities that are agencies of a state government in Track Two: Non-WPP.
- Intertribal consortia section states that an intertribal consortium is eligible to receive grants only if the consortium demonstrates that all members of the consortium meet the eligibility requirements for the grant and authorize the consortium to apply for and receive assistance. An intertribal consortium must submit to EPA adequate documentation of: (1) the existence of the partnership between Indian tribal governments, and (2) authorization of the consortium by all its members to apply for and receive the grant(s) for which the consortium has applied.
- Colleges and universities must include documentation demonstrating that they are chartered as a part of a state government in their application. Documentation may include such things as: state constitution, college/university charter, legal opinion from the state or territorial Attorney General’s Office, or case law that has confirmed the university as a state agency.
- Non-profit and for-profit organizations are not eligible to compete.
For more information, visit Grants.gov.