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Hudson River Estuary Grants Program - River Access

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Agencies to Improve
Outdoor Recreation Accessibility in the Hudson River Estuary

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Funding Source:

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

Deadline Date:

08/22/18 3:00 PM EST Receipt


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Grants starting at $10,500 to New York nonprofit organizations, community colleges, school districts, municipalities, conservation districts, and other public agencies to improve recreational access to the Hudson River Estuary. Nonprofit applicants must be prequalified in the online grants system prior to submitting an application.


The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is pleased to announce funding for projects that implement priorities of the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda to conserve, restore and revitalize the estuary and its ecosystem.

Two separate applications are available under this RFA, for projects in the Hudson River Estuary:

-Application No. DEC01-HRER26-2018 must be used for projects in the Hudson River Estuary, in locations that do not include the Village of Sleepy Hollow or the Village of Tarrytown.

-Application No. DEC01-NRD26-2018 must be used for projects in the Village of Sleepy Hollow and Village of Tarrytown that propose funding from the Natural Resource Damages (NRD) Fund, as further described in this RFA.

NRD Funding: In 2010, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the Trustee, resolved a natural resource damages claim with General Motors LLC (GM) pertaining to injured natural resources of the Lower Hudson River, and adjacent ecosystems from the Former GM North Tarrytown Assembly Plant Site (Site) located in the Village of Tarrytown, Westchester County, New York. The affected site is in the immediate vicinity of the eastern portion of the former Tappan Zee Bridge. The Trustee sought a monetary settlement with GM as compensation for the injuries to natural resources due to releases of environmental contaminants from the Site into the Hudson River. The settlement has been in an interest-bearing account since receipt. The Trustee is required to use settlement funds to compensate for those injuries by restoring natural resources, supporting habitat, and/or services provided by the injured resources. This RFA is being issued in part to assist the Trustee in carrying out the responsibilities under CERCLA (43 CFR Part 11).

Eligible Project Locations:

Two project areas are applicable under this RFA:

i. Hudson River Estuary Program (Grants Gateway Application DEC01-HRER26-2018): Eligible projects for grant funding must be located within defined geographic boundaries of the Hudson River Estuary watershed. “Hudson River Estuary” refers to the legislatively designated Hudson River Estuarine District established in Environmental Conservation Law §11-0306, which extends from the Troy dam to the Verrazano Narrows and includes Upper New York Bay to Kill Van Kull and the East River to Hell Gate, focused on the tributaries that flow into any of these waters.

ii. Natural Resource Damages Fund (Grants Gateway Application: DEC01-NRD26-2018): Eligible projects for grant funding must be located on publicly accessible lands within the Village of Sleepy Hollow or Village of Tarrytown.

Grant Application Requirements and Conditions:

Project Objectives

This Hudson River Estuary Grant RFA for River Access seeks to assist Hudson Valley municipalities and organizations build their capacity to implement the Hudson River Estuary Action Agenda Benefit 6: Access for Education Recreation and inspiration, Target 3: “Access is improved for fishing, swimming, boating, and wildlife-dependent recreation on tidal waters for all using principles of universal design and storm resilience, especially in under-served communities.”

Funding is available to improve access to the tidal waters of the Hudson. It may be used to support development of plans, purchase of equipment, and/or construction of physical improvements, as described in greater detail below under “eligible projects.” Throughout this RFA, the word “plan,” as used to describe a deliverable, is deemed to broadly include: plans, feasibility studies, designs and related permitting activities, etc. For projects to design or develop plans, securing the necessary permits is considered to be an appropriate work activity covered by the grant.

Programming to engage user groups or target audiences in the design, use and/or roll-out of the funded river access may be included as part of the project scope of work.

Consideration of long-term resiliency to sea-level rise and flooding is strongly encouraged as an element of project design for all eligible projects.

Wherever possible, incorporating principles of universal design is also strongly encouraged for all projects. For projects to improve universal access for people of all abilities, applicants are encouraged to think about all components of accessibility. Examples of improvements include:
-Provision for the appropriate placement of accessible bathroom facilities, including port-a-potties;
-Constructing accessible shelters or pavilions;
-Acquiring accessible picnic tables and/or grills;
-Installing accessible docks, piers and/or swimming areas;
-Purchasing adaptive equipment, such as accessible beach walkway systems, fishing equipment, all terrain or beach wheelchairs, adaptive kayaks, or watercraft transfer systems;
-Developing adequate parking facilities and other needs for busses and accessible vans, including ADA designated parking and clear pathways for travel that specifically improve the use of the site for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary for people of all abilities;
-Creating interpretive signage in a variety of languages with accommodations for people with visual disabilities;
-Retrofits to existing structures such as railings, picnic tables, pathways, curb cuts, to meet ADA standards.

The full scope of an accessibility project should include accessible parking and pathway to the new element or a reference that these already exist.

Project Types:

(1) New Hudson River Shoreline Access

Applicants may apply for projects on the shoreline of the tidal waters of the Hudson River estuary, including the tidal portion of its tributaries, to plan, design and/or construct improvements for new access sites for fishing, swimming, boating and/or wildlife-dependent recreation along the tidal waters of the estuary. Such projects must be consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and should strive to utilize the principles of universal design wherever possible so that people of all abilities can access and enjoy the river; and should be resilient to future storms and sea-level rise.

Projects that propose NRD funding may include a planning phase, but must include at least one shovel- ready component to be completed by the end of the grant period.

(2) Hudson River Shoreline Access Retrofits

Applicants may apply for projects to improve existing access to the Hudson River estuary, to:

a) develop, retrofit, repair, or make improvements to existing river access sites to become more resilient to erosion, tidal flooding, and sea-level rise; and/or

b) improve access for people of all abilities for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary for people of all abilities on and along the estuary.

For projects aimed at making existing river access more resilient to tidal flooding and sea level rise, projects should: (i) use Sustainable Shoreline principles that provide habitat values; and/or (ii) use nature- based design principles for resiliency, such as absorbing and directing floodwaters within the park, designing structures and electrics for flow-through of flood waters, and use of vegetation that can withstand flooding, such as switchgrass, goldenrod, and wild rye.

Projects that propose NRD funding may include a planning phase, but must include at least one shovel- ready component to be completed by the end of the grant period.

(3) Assessing and Planning for Accessibility Improvements (Not applicable for NRD funding)

Applicants may apply for ADA designs, plans, assessments and ADA transition planning for existing access sites along the Hudson River estuary. Such plans must specifically lead to improving the use of the site for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife-related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary for people of all abilities.

(4) Regional Plans for River Access (Not applicable for NRD funding)

Applicants may apply for plans or designs, or development of handbooks, which provide regional approaches for improving access to the Hudson and/or storm resiliency and/or use for people of all abilities.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 171732

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The minimum grant amount for both funding sources is $10,500.

The maximum grant amount for projects funded by the Hudson River Estuary EPF is $50,000.

The maximum grant amount for projects funded by the Natural Resource Damages Fund is $375,000.

Term of Contract:

All projects must have defined objectives, tasks, and deliverables accounted for in performance measures that can be completed and invoiced within a three-year contract period/term.

Applicants should not begin their projects or incur costs until a MCG has been fully approved by DEC, and if applicable approved by the Attorney General and the State Comptroller.

Time extensions beyond the contract term end date will be determined by the DEC based upon written justification from the Grantee. Applicants should not submit an application if they do not anticipate their project can be completed within the specified contract term.

Applicants MUST provide a timeline for meeting project objectives and identified tasks between February 1, 2019 and January 31, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

For the purposes of this grant program, the following entities are considered eligible applicants: Governmental Entities, Municipalities, and Quasi-Governmental Entities, including but not limited to Counties, Cities, Towns, Villages, or Indian nation or tribe recognized by the state or the United States with a reservation wholly or partly within the boundaries of New York State, or any combination thereof, Public Benefit Corporations, Public Authorities, Municipal Corporations, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, School Districts, and Community Colleges, and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations whose projects are located within the eligible geographic boundaries defined in this RFA.

For this grant opportunity, a “Not-For-Profit Corporation” (NFP) is subject to New York State’s Not-For- Profit Corporation Law and is qualified for tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, has an IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter to be incorporated in New York State and is current in their charities reporting requirements with the Office of the Attorney General.

Individuals and unincorporated groups are not eligible for this grant opportunity. However, an eligible applicant may apply on behalf of an individual or unincorporated group as a fiscal sponsor. The fiscal sponsor accepts responsibility of the grant, and serves as a fiscal conduit for a DEC-funded project, receiving and disbursing funds related to the grant, and administering the requirements throughout the DEC grant process, including final reporting of grant activity.

For Multi-Partner and Inter-Municipal Projects: If a proposed project involves a cooperative agreement or partners, only one eligible, designated lead applicant must submit the application for grant funding. The lead applicant must assume the responsibility for the project application, performance of work consistent with this RFA, and the State of New York Master Contract for Grants (MCG).

The following are not eligible improvements for this funding opportunity:
-Playgrounds and ball courts;
-Non-accessible picnic tables and grills;
-Fees associated with long-term rental of facilities such as port-a-potty rental fees or fees associated with a temporary/removable accessible ramp rental;
-Paving and parking not directly related to access for boating, fishing, swimming, and/or wildlife- related recreation or educational interpretation of the estuary for people of all abilities.

Minimum Eligibility (Pass/Fail criteria):
-The applicant must be eligible, as shown on page 4 of the RFA. A not-for-profit organization must also be prequalified in the Grants Gateway by the application due date to be determined eligible under this grant opportunity.
-The project must be located within the defined geographic boundaries of the Hudson River Estuary. In general, for purposes of this RFA, as defined in the eligible project types, that means projects will be on, near or tightly-focused on the tidal Hudson, including the tidal portion of its tributaries or Upper NY Bay, up to the first barrier. Projects are not eligible if they are located on land owned by New York State, unless the land is managed by a local government under a formal agreement with the state. In addition, to be eligible for NRD funding, the project must be located in the Village of Sleepy Hollow or Village of Tarrytown on publicly accessible lands.
-The project must provide, improve or plan for direct access to the Hudson River Estuary or tidal portions of its tributaries for boating, swimming, fishing, enjoyment of nature or wildlife-related recreation. Shoreline stabilization projects that are needed to secure the eroding shoreline of public river access sites, or to make river access sites more resilient to flooding and sea level rise, are eligible if they follow the principles outlined in the criteria for the project type specified below. Projects proposed for NRD funding in the Village of Sleepy Hollow or Village of Tarrytown may include planning, but also must include a shovel-ready component.
-The applicant must provide photos of the current location and condition of the site, uploaded to the Grants Gateway.
-Projects must implement one of the eligible project types identified in this RFA.
-The uploaded project time line indicates completion of project objectives, tasks and deliverables on or before January 31, 2022.
-All project funding sources are eligible and at least 15% in eligible match is identified. Project matching funds must be fully secured, and success of the grant should not depend on funding that is not yet secured.
-If applicable, letters of collaboration that include the “Lead” applicant designation are provided
from all applicant partners.
-Construction projects must have all required permits in place at the time of application.
-For projects involving work on property owned by an entity that is not the applicant, the applicant must provide as an upload to the application, written documentation from the landowner indicating willingness for the project to take place on their property. For example, a “Friends of the Park” group must have documentation from the park owner.
-Application completeness: The application is broken out into four sections in the Grants Gateway: Program Information, Expenditure Budget, Work Plan, and Pre-Submission Uploads. To be eligible, applicants must complete all of these sections and upload the required documentation. See the checklist on the last page of the RFA as a reference.

Pre-Application Information:

A minimum 15% match is required. Match is the portion of project expenditures not paid for with grant funds. Match can be from local and/or in-kind contributions. Local sources can include funding from other non-state and/or non-federal grant sources or from project partners. In-Kind contributions are non-cash donations provided by non-state and/or non-federal third parties, which can include equipment, supplies, services, and other expendable property. Matching share contributions must support the objectives outlined in the Work Plan.

Eligible sources of match funds cannot come from other New York State or federal funding sources. Applicants will be required to provide the sources of all matching funds using the Match Worksheet in the Grants Gateway.

Approximately $950,000 is available under this grant opportunity as follows:

Projects funded by Hudson River Estuary Program / EPF:
-Grants Gateway Application No.: DEC01-HRER26-2018
-NYS Environmental Protection Fund, Hudson River Estuary Program – approximately $200,000.

Projects funded by Natural Resource Damages / NRD:
-Grants Gateway Application No.: DEC01-NRD26-2018
-NYS Natural Resource Damages Fund – approximately $750,000.

Questions regarding this grant opportunity will be accepted by the DEC until C.O.B. August 15, 2018. All questions, and answers, will be uploaded in the Grants Gateway application for all applicants to view.

Applications must be submitted through the NYS Grants Gateway ( Paper applications will NOT be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications prior to the application deadline. Late applications will not be accepted.

All Applicants must be Registered with Grants Gateway to submit an application. In addition to registration, not-for-profits must also be Prequalified at the time and date that the application is due. If you are not Prequalified at that time and date, your application will not be considered.

The State reserves 5 days to review submitted pre qualification applications. Prequalification applications submitted to the State for review less than 5 days prior to the deadline for this application may not be considered. Applicants should not assume that their prequalification information will be reviewed if they do not adhere to this timeframe.

-Application Period Begins: June 22, 2018
-Question & Answer Period Ends: August 15, 2018
-Applications Due: August 22, 2018; 3:00 p.m. ET
-Award(s) Announced By (anticipated): Approximately November 2018

View this opportunity on the Grants Gateway:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Susan Pepe, Hudson River Estuary Program Grants Coordinator

Grant Coverage Areas:

A searchable Google Maps version is also available for download at:

The data set is titled “Hudson River Estuary Grant Program boundaries” listed under the “Misc. Environmental Maps” Section.

Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York