Or. Admin. R. 695-035-0020 - Small Grant Program Administered by Small Grant Teams
(1) The OWEB Board may award program grants to eligible Small Grant Teams to enable the Teams to administer a Small Grant Program within a Small Grant Area. A Small Grant Team must submit a program grant application to OWEB on a designated form at times designated by the OWEB Board to be eligible to receive a program grant to administer a Small Grant program.
(2) Small Grant Program funds not used in one biennium may not be carried over by the Small Grant Team to the next biennium unless otherwise determined by the Board.
(3) The Board will only enter into new Small Grant Team agreements once Teams have submitted on a standard OWEB form, and to OWEB's satisfaction, the revised Team bylaws for the coming biennium, a revised list of the Team's priority watershed concerns and eligible project types, a revised Application Evaluation Worksheet, and all representatives of the Team have met OWEB reporting obligations under earlier agreements.
(4) Small Grant Teams, in coordination with OWEB, will invite in writing each soil and water conservation district and watershed council located partially or entirely within the Small Grant Area, and each federally recognized tribe in Oregon, and the Nez Perce Tribe, with reservation, tribal, ceded lands, or usual and accustom areas located partially or entirely within the Small Grant Area to appoint one representative to a Small Grant Team. Participation on a Team is voluntary. A Small Grant Team must have at least one actively participating watershed council representative and one soil and water conservation district representative to be eligible to allocate Small Grant funds. Each eligible Team may receive a program grant from OWEB to allocate Small Grant Project awards of up to $15,000 for eligible watershed restoration projects consistent with local priority watershed concerns and eligible project types adopted by the Team.
(5) Members of each Small Grant Team are encouraged to invite individuals with expertise in a watershed restoration discipline or other watershed restoration interests to consult with the Team on its priorities, program elements, and recommendations for project grant awards.
(6) The OWEB Board will establish Small Grant Areas for the Small Grant Program. The boundaries of the Small Grant Areas will be drawn based upon hydrologic boundaries, existing watershed restoration partnerships, and similarities in resource concerns. Only one Small Grant Team may administer a Small Grant Program in each Small Grant Area. A copy of the Small Grant Area map is available upon request from OWEB and can also be viewed on the OWEB website.
(7) A Small Grant Team may petition the OWEB Board to adjust the boundaries of Small Grant Areas. If a Team has not been formed in a Small Grant Area, an organization eligible to appoint a member to a Small Grant Team may petition the Board to adjust the boundaries of Small Grant Areas. Written approval from all Small Grant Teams affected, or if a Small Grant Team has not been formed, all entities eligible to appoint a member to the Small Grant Team in that area, is required before a boundary adjustment petition may be filed with the Board.
(8) The OWEB Board will consider all boundary-adjustment petitions once a biennium at the time it considers reauthorizing Small Grant Program funds for the next biennium. The OWEB Board may choose to consider a boundary adjustment upon a valid motion by Board members, without petition by a Small Grant Team or organization that is an eligible Small Grant Team member. However, the OWEB Board will consult with affected Small Grant Teams, and if a Team has not been formed, eligible Team members in the area before considering the boundary adjustment. A decision by the OWEB Board to approve a boundary adjustment will consider one of the following:
(a) The current Small Grant Area boundaries fragment existing watershed restoration partnerships; or
(b) The current Small Grant Area boundaries fragment hydrologically connected areas or ecologically similar landscapes in a way that would make setting local restoration priorities difficult; or
(c) The current Small Grant Area boundaries encompass many different limiting factors for water quality, water quantity, and fish and wildlife habitat. Adjusting boundaries would improve the ability of watershed restoration partners to focus their efforts on the limiting factors with which they have expertise.
(9) Prior to submitting a program grant application to OWEB, the Small Grant Team will adopt the following program elements that will be attached as part of the program grant application:
(a) Rules of operation for administration of the Small Grant Team and the Small Grant Program, including:
(A) Rules governing decision-making and membership;
(B) Application processing and project grant agreement procedures;
(C) Designation of a Team contact, and a member with authority to sign project grant agreements on behalf of the Small Grant Team;
(D) Record keeping;
(E) Processes and criteria for recommending project grant awards;
(F) Processes for evaluating the technical feasibility of projects;
(G) Processes and formats for biennial reporting;
(H) Entities, in addition to watershed councils, soil and water conservations districts, and tribes, designated by the Small Grant Team as being eligible fiscal agents; and
(I) Application acceptance windows.
(b) Priority watershed concerns to be addressed by the Small Grant Team;
(c) A list of project types most likely to effectively address the local watershed concerns adopted by the Small Grant Team. This list must be consistent with the list of eligible project types in OAR 695-035-0050(4). Teams wishing to add project types not on the list need to petition OWEB for their eligibility in their Small Grant Area. The proposed project type needs to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the OWEB Director a clear watershed benefit for the Small Grant Area. It must also be consistent with the Team's adopted priority watershed concerns, and must be referenced to one of the approved technical guidance sources listed in OAR 695-035-0030(3).
(10) The program elements adopted by the Small Grant Team will be included as an attachment to the program grant application to OWEB from the Small Grant Team. A program grant to a Small Grant Team to administer a Small Grant Program will not be awarded until the Team has adopted the required program elements.
(11) In identifying priority watershed concerns, the Small Grant Team will consider current information on the condition of the watershed and its limiting factors to support native fish and to meet water quality standards. The priority watershed concerns should be adopted with reference to documents addressing the limiting factors to:
(a) Clean Water Act standards as identified in Total Maximum Daily Load Water Quality Management Plans and in Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plans; and
(b) Watershed assessments and action plans, other watershed analyses, the Oregon Forest Practices Act, and soil and water conservation district annual work plans and long-range business plans. Priority watershed concerns and the list of eligible project types adopted by the Small Grant Team will address the source of watershed health problems, and not the effects.
(12) Small Grant Teams may designate members of the Team as a Project Evaluation Committee to evaluate Small Grant Project applications in lieu of the entire Team. If established, this Committee will have equal representation from soil and water conservation district and watershed council Team members. The Team, or if designated, its Committee, will select applications to recommend for funding based on its priority watershed concerns, eligible project types, and the technical merits of the project. The Small Grant Team, or if designated, the Committee, is encouraged to invite technical experts to assist in the evaluation of proposed projects.
(13) Each Small Grant Team will develop application evaluation criteria that will be based on the questions asked in the application, as well as on additional evaluation considerations listed by Teams in their operating procedures. Evaluation criteria will be attached to a Team's operating procedures. Teams will make available to applicants the evaluation criteria along with the Team's list of priority watershed concerns and eligible project types.
(14) Small Grant Teams will establish in their operating procedures the terms by which they receive and act on applications. At a minimum, Teams will establish two-week windows four times in the State fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) during which they or their designated committee will receive applications. Teams may also accept applications at any time throughout the State fiscal year. All Teams must act within 30 days of receiving a complete application.
(15) Small Grant Teams will write their own project grant agreements, using an OWEB-provided template. Teams will create one original grant agreement and secure all relevant signatures before forwarding it to OWEB for final signature. In case of discrepancy, the OWEB signed original supersedes all other signed copies. The OWEB Director reserves the discretion to alter this arrangement as necessary.
(16) OWEB has 20 working days after receipt of the application materials to verify that the approved application is consistent with the Team's local priorities and with OWEB's statutes and administrative rules. Upon verification, OWEB will return fully executed copies of the project grant agreement to the Team Contact, listed in the Team Bylaws. OWEB will keep the original project grant agreement on file, and the Team Contact will be responsible for providing copies to all signatories. Signatories to the grant agreement will include the Grantee; Landowner; Team Contact; a representative of OWEB; and a Fiscal Agent for the Grantee, if different from the Grantee. A project grant agreement is not valid until all signatories to the agreement have signed. Project grant agreements must be signed within 90 days of the first signature on the grant agreement, or they will be considered void. Work will not begin on a project until a project grant agreement is valid. OWEB will make Small Grant Project award payments directly to the fiscal agent designated in the Small Grant Project agreement.
(17) Project maintenance and effectiveness monitoring are the responsibility of the landowner. OWEB will not pay for either, and applicants may not use any planned post-project maintenance and effectiveness monitoring as match for the OWEB project grant. However, applicants may budget for plant establishment (i.e., weeding and watering of plants over time to improve chances of successful establishment) in the Small Grant Project application, or they may put the amount estimated for plant establishment toward the required 25 percent match. OWEB will pay for no more than two years of post-project plant establishment, or up to $1,000 for two years, which is paid for in the final payment request.
(18) The Small Grant Team will be responsible for providing the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Soil and Water Conservation Commission with a summary Biennial Report, due no later than 60 days after the close of each OWEB biennium that:
(A) How the Team's funded projects demonstrated clear watershed benefit to aquatic species, wildlife, or watershed health.
(B) Which specific projects met the Team's high-priority watershed concerns that it identified for the biennium (show award amounts for each project).
(C) Which specific projects the Team awarded for other priority watershed concerns (show award amounts for these projects, as well).
(b) Evaluates the effectiveness of the Team's:
(A) External interactions with landowners, applicants, Grantees, project partners, and OWEB Small Grant Program staff (i.e., the challenges that faced the Team with each of these groups and whether the Team was successful at resolving them).
(B) Internal interactions with each other (i.e., the challenges that faced the Team and whether the Team was successful at resolving them).
(c) Attaches the following:
(A) Tracking sheets for recommended and denied applications for the current biennium.
(B) Revised operating procedures, priority watershed concerns, eligible project types for the coming biennium, and application evaluation worksheet, if any.
(19) The OWEB Director may authorize an independent performance audit of any Small Grant Team, and if the Director determines the Team is not complying with the rules of the Small Grant Program, may restrict future Team funds.
(20) Small Grant Teams will retain for a period of five years unsuccessful applications and copies of successful applications, as well as meeting records.
Statutory/Other Authority: ORS 541.906
Statutes/Other Implemented: ORS 541.890 - 541.969
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