2016 Spring Municipal Grants

Award Announcement

In August 2016, the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program announced more than $210,000 to fund seven projects that will help towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed protect important habitat and drinking water resources and provide passage for migratory fish species. All funded projects will assist these municipalities to meet the goals and objectives of BBNEP’s Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. These grants were awarded to Acushnet, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, Rochester, and Wareham. Funded projects include efforts to remove an obstruction to a fish passage, permanently protect several tracks of land that serve as important habitat for rare and protected species, and help protect drinking water sources. Below is a summary of the seven grants awarded to six towns:

The Town of Acushnet will receive $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect a 9-acre property along the Acushnet River. The property contains field, forest and forested wetlands and is designated habitat for rare species. Protection of this property will advance the town’s long-term vision of a “greenbelt,” a corridor of connected conservation and recreation land along the Acushnet River.

The Town of Fairhaven will receive $35,000 to work with its partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 61.5 acres of land in East Fairhaven that is part of a larger conservation effort. The property is designated as habitat for rare species and contains significant salt marsh, forested freshwater wetlands and frontage on a perennial stream.

The Town of Marion will receive $10,924 to remove an obstruction to fish passage on Borden Brook, which runs through Grassi Bog. Borden Brook is an existing American eel run and has the potential to support other fish species, including alewife. The town will remove an existing culvert and replace it with a larger culvert that will mimic natural stream channel conditions and provide unimpeded fish passage.

The Towns of Mattapoisett and Rochester will receive $35,000 each to work with their partner, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, to protect 164-acres of land straddling the Rochester-Mattapoisett town boundary. The properties lie within a drinking water recharge area, are designated as habitat for rare species, contain extensive wetlands, have frontage on Branch Brook and abut existing protected lands owned by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and the Mattapoisett Water Department.

The Town of Rochester will receive $25,000 to work with its partner, the Rochester Land Trust, to purchase and permanently protect an 18.27-acre property along the Mattapoisett River. The property is designated habitat for rare species, contains extensive wetlands, has frontage on the Mattapoisett River and abuts existing protected lands.

The Town of Wareham will receive $35,000 to work with its partners, the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Wareham Land Trust, to protect 8 acres of land along the Weweantic River. The town proposes to use this land for natural resource protection and for trail-based recreation connecting to the existing adjacent trail system along the river, immediately downstream at the Westgate Conservation Area and Fearing Hill Conservation Area.

For more information, see the EEA Press Release.

Background: Municipal MiniGrant Request Announcement

The Spring 2016 Buzzards Bay municipal grants were posted on the COMMBUYS website. Here is the entire solicitation as a word document: ENV17CZM01_FINAL.docx.

Grant Program: Buzzards Bay Municipal Minigrants
Funding Area: Multiple categories including any area identified as a CCMP goal or objective
Entity: Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program/MCZM
Eligibility: Municipalities are eligible recipients, but municipalities may subcontract or collaborate with other partners.
Geographic Extent: Buzzards Bay Watershed
Funding Available: $223,000 (estimated)
Match Required: 33% of requested funds
Award Limits (per proposal/per entity): $35,000/$60,000
RFR Release Date: April 27, 2016
Application Deadline:Five complete copies of the application form and any attachments must be submitted (by mail or in person) no later than 4:00 PM Thursday, June 2, 2016 to: Sarah Williams, Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, 2870 Cranberry Highway, East Wareham, MA 02538. Email submissions will not be accepted.
The RFP, application form, and other information are posted on the Go to the COMMBUYS website, and here as a a word document: ENV17CZM01_FINAL.docx.

Questions Received and Responses to the Spring 2016 Municipal Grant Round

The Regional Planner Sarah Williams will accept questions about this Solicitation in writing by mail, fax, or email through 4:00 PM, Thursday, May 19, 2016. The Buzzards Bay NEP will post responses to questions (including those received at the site visit), if any, on this website by Monday, May 23, 2016. These answers are for clarification purposes only and do not constitute an amendment to the Solicitation unless expressly stated as such.

Question 1: The application indicates that there are 10 categories for which funding is available. Of the amount of funding available, has a specific dollar amount been allocated to each or any of the 10 categories or are proposals considered and rated independent of category?

Response to Question 1: Projects are rated independent of category and are funded in the order of their ranking scores until available funds are depleted. We have not allocated funding to specific categories, nor limited the number of proposals, or dollar amounts, that may be funded in any category, with the exception of Category 3. For Category 3 projects (Water quality of living resource monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of actions previously funded by the Buzzards Bay NEP), we have limited the total dollar amount of funded projects to $75,000. There is no minimum allocation in this category.

Question 2: On page A2 of the RFP, shouldn’t the calculation of “match as percent of requested” be [b) divided by a) x 100] and not [a) divided by b) x 100]?

Response to Question 2: Yes, this was an error in the RFP. The correct calculation is [b) divided by a) x 100]

Question 3: Is there a page limit on the proposal description?

Response to Question 3: There is no page limit for proposal length specified in the RFP.

Question 4: Should a budget narrative be provided for subcontractors?

Response to Question 4: While not specifically required, a budget narrative for subcontractors would be helpful to the review committee that will rank the proposals.

Question 5: For projects submitted in Category 3, is there a match required?

Response to Question 5: All projects in Categories 2-10 are required to provide a match equal to or greater than 33% of requested funds. Only projects in Category 1 (Stormwater Remediation Design) are exempt from explicitly declaring a match because the DPW commitments that must be made for an award in this category, including digging test pits with a backhoe and town official participation in meetings, are predetermined to provide match.

Question 6: On the application form on page A3, under Part II – Proposal Detail, it states it is recommended that the headers “Description of Environmental Impairment” and “Expected Environmental Benefits of Proposed Work” be used when writing the proposal narrative. For some projects, especially those submitted in Category 3, these headers might not be the most useful or effective for conveying the details of a specific project. Are applicants allowed to use different headers that may be more appropriate to their specific project?

Response to Question 6: The headers on page A3 are recommendations, but they are not required. Applicants should carefully review the Scoring Sheet in Attachment D of the RFP and develop a proposal narrative that both clearly describes the work to be undertaken, and addresses elements of the scoring criteria to help garner the maximum points possible.

Question 7: How does a town assign a dollar value for in-kind services, where those services are being provided by a volunteer?

Response to Question 7: In-kind labor match for volunteers is generally valued at what would normally be paid by the town to hire employees or contractors to perform similar services, including municipal fringe and overhead rates. Use of equipment or rentals should be valued at rates consistent with what is normally paid for comparable equipment rentals by the applicant, including fuel and mileage costs of vehicles. If the work is being provided through contractual services, the value of those services may be provided as match. Generally, values should be consistent with those ordinarily paid by employees for similar work in the same labor market, or vendors providing those services. Like all match contributions, the match should complement and be related to the grant funded activities. Grant recipients must keep records or logs of volunteer’s contributions and activities.

Question 8: Should fish passage projects be submitted under Category 4) Wetlands/Open Space/Habitat Restoration, Preservation, Acquisition, or Protection?

Response to Question 8: No. Fish passage projects should be submitted under Category 6) Migratory Fish Passage and Habitat Restoration if the primary activity is fish passage restoration.

Eligible Respondents to our Grant Programs

Unless otherwise specified in a solicitation, eligible municipalities in the municipal minigrants program include Fall River, Westport, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Acushnet, Fairhaven, Rochester, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Middleborough, Carver, Plymouth, Bourne, Falmouth, and Gosnold. Grants funded by SNEP have an expanded list of eligible applicants including non-profits and research and higher education institutions. However, specific restoration and protection projects must lie principally within the Buzzards Bay watershed. For participation in the municipal minigrant stormwater designs program, the discharge must be contributing to an existing impairment.

Applicants must submit separate proposal forms for each grant proposal. Generally, applicants may submit any number of applications in any grant category. The dollar limits per grant and per applicant vary among the solicitations, so please review the information in the solicitation about per application and per applicant grant limits. In the municipal grant program, municipalities may submit applications in partnership with other public or private organizations, or subcontract tasks with private firms; however, we will award contracts only to municipalities. Applicants should never self-select grants and limit their applications to local priorities or per applicant grant limits because it is impossible to predict how applications will fare against other proposals. Applicants should always submit all of their good proposals.