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Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund - Cost-Effective Non-Point Source Pollution Reduction Grants

Grants to Maryland Nonprofits, IHEs, and Agencies to
Reduce Water Pollution from Nonpoint Sources

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

03/30/18 5:00 PM


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Grants to Maryland government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academic institutions for projects addressing nonpoint sediment and nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. LOIs are due January 19. This program supports efficient and cost-effective programs in targeted geographic areas of the state. The Fund encourages multi-partner projects that will achieve the greatest reduction per dollar invested.

State Fiscal Year 2019 Project Solicitation:

The Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund (Trust Fund) solicits and funds the most cost-effective, efficient non-point source nutrient and sediment reduction projects in geographic targeted areas of the state. Formed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2007, the Trust Fund is capitalized with revenue from Maryland motor fuel and rental car taxes. Between 2009 and 2018, the Fund invested nearly $400 M to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, including projects that advance implementation of local and state Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs).

The Trust Fund’s explicit goal is to ensure the greatest environmental return on investment. To that end, the Trust Fund is advised by a Scientific Advisory Panel, which evaluates priorities and geographic targeting based on the latest scientific advancements. The Trust Fund targeting map was developed using the US Geological Survey SPARROW v4 model in order to apply the most current water quality data. The Panel guidance and updates to the targeting map allow the Trust Fund to prioritize investments in specific watersheds and watershed areas, using projects and practices that provide the most cost-effective water quality benefits to the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays via reductions in non-point source nutrient and sediment loadings.

To track whether projects are achieving anticipated goals, the Trust Fund works with Maryland Resource Assessment Service (RAS) to document baseline conditions and monitor and compare the effectiveness of various Best Management Practices (BMPs). Results are shared publicly via the Trust Fund Monitoring website.

The Trust Fund has quickly become one of the most innovative and important water quality financing programs in the region. Its singular focus on reducing non-point sources of nutrient and sediment pollution makes it one of the only programs of its kind. To optimize the state’s investment in on-the-ground restoration and protection activities, the Trust Fund selects projects based on achieving the greatest environmental benefit for every Trust Fund dollar spent.

Given that the restoration goal is to reduce pollutant loadings, the Trust Fund’s level of efficiency must be measured in those terms, i.e. Trust Fund dollars per pound of pollutant reduced. This cost per pound metric guides decision-making now and into the future. In preparing a response to this solicitation, it is important to consider that in the fiscal year 2018 project selection, the Trust Fund invested in a fifteen-year lifespan average of $149 to reduce a pound of nitrogen, $800 to reduce a pound of phosphorus and $1.55 to reduce a pound of sediment. Though the efficiency equation itself is basic in structure - Trust Fund dollars per pound of pollution reduced – selection also considers the risk of the state’s investment. Additional elements that impact project efficiency, including the Applicants’ ability to deliver desired results, the expected performance of the project and the readiness to proceed are also taken into account.

Technical Assistance:

Maryland’s state agencies, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, University of Maryland, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have joined together to form the Watershed Assistance Collaborative (WAC), which provides services and technical assistance to Applicants preparing to undertake restoration projects. From planning and design grants to on-the-ground project development, this partnership is helping local partners prepare for state, federal and nonprofit funding opportunities. By leveraging available resources, the WAC is helping to ensure that the restoration dollars are directed to on-the-ground implementation to the maximum extent practicable.

WAC specialists are available to provide assistance throughout the state.

Proposals will be primarily evaluated based on the following three criteria:
1. Project location
2. Cost-effectiveness, and
3. Readiness and ability to proceed.

Project location:

This solicitation is seeking non-point source pollution reduction projects in the High (red) and Medium (pink) priority areas indicated on the targeting map found in the RFP. The state has partnered with US Geological Survey (USGS) to apply the most updated models and monitoring information to develop the geographic targeting map. Coastal Bay watersheds are prioritized based on the expertise of scientists in that region.

Readiness and Ability to Proceed:

The Trust Fund seeks projects that can demonstrate the ability to mobilize and carry out implementation in a timely and effective manner. Priority funding will be awarded to proposals that involve shovel-ready projects and the technical expertise to move through proposal milestones. Readiness to proceed will be evaluated on status of design and applicable permits. The best proposals will have achieved 100% design and have permits in hand.

If an Applicant has a conceptual idea that needs funding for design work to become shovel- ready, DNR has partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the EPA in issuing the Watershed Assistance Grant Program (WAGP). This is a viable fund source for the planning, design, and permitting of water quality projects. The solicitation for proposals through WAGP is typically released in late summer.

Proposal Requirements:

The Trust Fund seeks proposals that reduce non-point source pollution through the most efficient and cost-effective restoration projects. All proposals must have the following Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund Project Solicitation SFY 19 characteristics:

1) Projects must reduce nutrient and sediment loads to the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay or to the Atlantic Coastal Bays.

2) Projects should directly support state and/or local Bay restoration milestones and Watershed Implementation Plan goals while helping to promote management strategies associated with the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

3) Proposals should include a detailed timeline to include important deadlines and partner responsibilities.

4) The proposed BMPs to be implemented must either be:
a. approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program and therefore have nutrient and sediment reduction efficiencies available; OR
b. accompanied by robust peer reviewed scientific literature supporting the validity and efficiency of the practice. This peer reviewed literature may be reviewed for scientific validity by the Bay Cabinet’s Scientific Advisory Panel.

5) The state is seeking project sites with protection and maintenance of the achieved nutrient and sediment reductions for a minimum of ten (10) years. A maintenance and long-term protection plan to demonstrate reduction efficiency for at least ten years must be included.

6) Proposed projects may occur on any type of land ownership (private, commercial private, community- owned, non-profit, and government-owned). However, the project sites must be currently protected under a long-term agreement or the land must be owned by an individual or entity that will agree to long-term protection. Evidence of permission to do the projects from the landowner must be provided via a Landowner Agreement. If you are a non-governmental organization working on County or City- owned land, landowner agreements with the appropriate government office is required (a letter of support does not suffice).

7) Proposals that have permits in hand or have initiated the permit process with Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) through a pre-application meeting will be reviewed favorably. Please include any associated AI (Agency ID) number provided for the BMP from MDE. To schedule a pre-application meeting, contact MDE.

8) The Trust Fund is explicitly interested in the reduction of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment through cost-effective restorative practices; however, the projects funded often have many co-benefits, including habitat, flood mitigation, carbon and greenhouse sequestration, biological and benthic impacts, increasing local resiliency, among others. For this reason, the Trust Fund managers encourage Applicants to fully maximize opportunities to enhance habitat, reconnect to floodplains, and increase resiliency by employing techniques that will most fully optimize the restoration site.

9) The proposal submitted must be complete including a detailed budget with a breakdown of anticipated expenditures.

BMP Monitoring:

Although not required, a well-designed monitoring plan can add value to a proposed project. As this is an implementation grant, the state encourages that the Applicants consider implementing monitoring efforts using leveraged funds. The state, with your partnership, is interested in collecting data from the proposed BMP(s) if a monitoring effort is being planned. Monitoring for innovative projects is particularly useful in verifying claimed results. To ensure that data can be shared and analyzed to the greatest benefit, the state offers protocols to be used when monitoring sites sponsored by the Trust Fund. The protocols are strongly recommended if monitoring is to be undertaken as a minimum level of effort for projects funded with Trust Fund dollars. At minimum, monitoring should include a control and/or upstream and downstream stations, and pre and post implementation monitoring; with a focus on calculating measured total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total suspended sediment loads. Additional parameters, as well as more precise or more intensive monitoring, are also welcome. Monitoring data will allow managers to compare various BMPs so that in the future, funds can be invested in those that are most effective. If monitoring is performed, the state will work with awarded Applicants in collecting status reports that describe monitoring frequency and locations and any problems encountered, as well as an annual report that includes monitoring results along with interpretation and descriptions of any calculations and analyses performed to generate results.

Eligible Proposal Costs:

Funding is allowable for design, construction costs, survey, legal, and management of the proposed projects. All grants have an administrative cap of 1.5% of the direct charges proposed. This administrative charge is in lieu of indirect charges.

Nutrient & Sediment Reduction Calculator:

To accurately reflect nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment load reductions from proposed BMPs, applicants will provide information on the location of the proposed implementation and give details on the practice design. When BMP engineering specifications are not available, default specifications will be used.

An online tool, is available to estimate nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment reductions. The landuse loading rates and BMP effectiveness estimates within FieldDoc are consistent with Bay Program protocols and MS4 calculations and must be used to calculate reductions for your proposal submission. Any proposal that does not include calculations from FieldDoc will not be considered. After letters of intent are submitted, department staff can provide assistance to applicants to help calculate their load reductions.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178102

Estimated Size of Grant:

There is no maximum request. The minimum request is $500,000. If you have a project proposal that is less than $500,000, please contact the issuing officer to discuss.

Term of Contract:

Funding will be available July 1, 2018.

Multi-year proposals will be accepted; however, proposals are not to exceed three years and should bid to construction within 12 months of grant execution. Most grants are complete between 18 and 36 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Through this solicitation, the Trust Fund is seeking proposals from local governments and non-governmental organizations, including bi-county agencies, counties, municipalities, forest conservancy district boards, soil/water conservation districts, resource conservation and development councils, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations having a demonstrated ability to implement non-point source pollution control projects (collectively, “Applicants”).

Individual private or commercial landowners, consultants, contractors, and other for-profit entities with demonstrated restoration experience are encouraged to apply in partnership with an eligible entity identified above.

319 Eligibility:

Maryland uses federal grants made available by the Federal Clean Water Act Section 319 (h) to help fund state non-point source management and to provide grants for non-point source control projects that help eliminate water quality impairments. In partnership with the MDE, proposals that fall within priority watersheds for the 319 grant program will be also considered for funding through the 319 program.

Ineligible Project Types:

Projects that must be completed for mitigation purposes or to otherwise offset habitat or water quality losses will not be supported by this program.

Trust Fund grants are intended for implementation of non-point source reduction projects and not for programmatic development or building organizational capacity. All costs proposed must be directly tied to the implementation of the proposed project. All proposed expenditures will be evaluated and approved at the discretion of the review team and Issuing Officer.

The following are considered programmatic fees, and can be covered by the allowed 1.5% administrative fee. Additional Trust Fund dollars will not be allocated for the following items, including but not limited to:
-Communication items (tablets, cell phones, computers, data plans, software, etc.)
-Rental fees associated with office space, office equipment and/ or vehicles
-Lodging, per diem, conference registration, etc.

Ineligible project expenditures:
This funding will not fund any of the following:
-Food, refreshments and T-shirts.
-Promotional collateral, ex. pens, key chains, etc.
-Endowments, deficit financing, building campaigns, annual giving, research, fund raising or venture capital.
-Political lobbying.
-Reimbursement for a project that has been completed or materials that have been purchased prior to the award or project period.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) believes that a PreApplication meeting is an excellent opportunity to find out what information is necessary to submit a complete application. Experience shows that the submission of a complete application results in an expeditious review of a project, while an incomplete application often results in processing delays.

To schedule a PreApplication meeting for proposed activities in tidal wetlands, nontidal wetlands, or a nontidal waterway, including the 100-year nontidal floodplain, please go to the link below and complete and submit the appropriate PreApplication form.

More information about MDE Permit Pre-Application Meetings may be found here:

Pre-Application Information:

The Trust Fund encourages Applicants to leverage additional funding to the greatest extent possible. Demonstrated ability to leverage funding will increase the cost-effectiveness by dedicating existing funds to specific project outcomes and limiting the state investment. The Trust Fund dollars are intended for implementation of projects that result in non-point source pollution reduction; therefore, demonstrating organizational capacity for successful implementation and the ability to leverage funding for personnel and other administrative needs is desired.

The Trust Fund is requiring interested organizations to submit Letter of Intent by January 19, 2018. This is intended to provide technical and grant assistance to Applicants ahead of submitting a full proposal. Letters of Intent are to be submitted through the CCS Grants Online System by 5:00 PM on Friday January 19, 2018. If you are interested in applying and missed the Letter of Intent window, please contact the Issuing Officer to discuss your project idea.

Full proposals must be submitted through the CCS Grants Online System by 5:00 PM on Friday March 30, 2018. Full project proposals cannot be submitted through the Grants Online system until after the Letter of Intent period closes on January 19, 2018.

Unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), all payments to grantees under this Grant will be made on a reimbursable basis.

FieldDoc - Online BMP Calculator:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Gabe Cohee

Chesapeake & Coastal Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Tawes State Office Building E-2
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maryland