The goal of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is to target the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem. As part of this initiative, the two bird habitat joint ventures that are in the Great Lakes watershed – the Upper Mississippi and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture and the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture – will be working with the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs in the Midwest and Northeast Regions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to competitively fund state and other partner projects for long-term habitat restoration, enhancement or protection, for conservation of native Great Lakes fish and wildlife populations, particularly migratory birds. Preference will be given to activities that help meet the habitat goals of the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture Implementation Plan or the Lower Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Plain (BCR 13) Bird Conservation Region Plan, other relevant bird conservation plans, and State Wildlife Action Plans.
Ranking and selection of projects will be based on information provided in the application. Highest consideration will be given to projects with several of the following attributes, in priority order: 1) Benefits to priority bird species, habitats and geographic areas identified in applicable Joint Venture bird conservation plans; 2) readiness to begin project (to ensure completion within one year of the grant award date); 3) long-term duration of resource benefits; 4) involvement of two or more partners including state partners; 5) higher ratio of non-Federal match to grant request than the required 25% minimum; 6) importance as a catalyst to future conservation actions or as part of a larger set of connected conservation lands or actions in the landscape and 7) documented benefits to federally-listed species, and/or those identified as highest priorities in the relevant State Wildlife Action Plan. It is highly recommended that applicants consult with the appropriate joint venture coordinator prior to submitting an application to ensure that adequate and relevant information is provided.
Special Note: GLRI Joint Venture funds will be targeted towards improving fish and wildlife habitat and their populations within watersheds of “Areas of Concern” (AOC; (http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/aoc/) wherever possible, as a coordinated effort between the Service’s Coastal, Joint Venture, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Programs. In addition, projects that will result in a reduction of excessive phosphorus inputs into a watershed should be highlighted. Though proposals within AOCs and/or those that will reduce phosphorus are encouraged, it is not a requirement for funding.
Up to $1 million in funds may be available during fiscal year 2013. Grant requests between $25,000 and $290,000 will be accepted. We expect to announce the awards in May 2013.
Matching contributions may take the form of cash, goods, services, or land value and must equal at least 25% of the requested Federal funds; permanent, non-reimbursable, and dedicated to a project; and documented by a signed letter of commitment from an authorized representative of the match provider in the application. The letter of commitment must detail the amount of matching funds or value of donated land and/or services. Land as match must have a current (less than 1 year) appraised value. This program uses grant agreements as the funding mechanism.
Eligible applicants for this competitive grant program include state fish and wildlife agencies and other non-federal conservation agencies or organizations that provide at least 25% of the grant request (Federal share) as non-federal match for habitat restoration, enhancement and protection activities. (Note: grants cannot be awarded to outside entities for restoration or enhancement work on Federal lands). Projects must be within the U.S. watershed of the Great Lakes as defined by the U.S. EPA (links to maps of the Great Lakes Watershed and Lower Great Lakes Watershed in NY and PA) within states bordering the Great Lakes (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). A Federal interest will be attached to real property interests acquired with grant funds or contributed as match and must be titled to, or held by, either the Grantee or an approved Subgrantee.
An eligible proposal is a plan of action supported by grant and partner funds to conserve habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife through acquisition (including fee title, permanent conservation easements and donations of real property interests), restoration and/or enhancement that contains a grant request between $25,000 and $290,000 and matching contributions of at least 25% of total grant request (Federal share), with a target completion date within one year of the date of award. Grant awards may only be used for activities that begin after the grant agreement is signed – this grant program is not eligible for reimbursement of completed or ongoing projects.
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