3 Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC) Purpose:The Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is established to review NOAA grant activities and assist in establishing open channels of communication among the line offices, program offices, grant recipients, Grants Management Division (GMD), and the Department of Commerce (DOC), in order to ensure that the grant process meets the NOAA programmatic mission requirements. Decisions about grants administration/policy will be made at the lowest level possible, i.e., GMAC level.
4 Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC) Members – Line Offices National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)JoAnna Grable – x118 National Ocean Service (NOS)Jane Piercy- (301) x161Office of Atmospheric Research (OAR)Sharon Schroeder– (301)National Environmental Satellite, Data, Information Service (NESDIS) – Ingrid Guch- (301)National Weather Service (NWS)Sam Contorno - (301) x150UnderSecretary, Office of Education (OE)Sarah Schoedinger - (704)
6 FPO Deadlines – There are a few deadlines of which all FPOs should be aware… June 30Guaranteed processing if submitted by June 30. NOAA Grants (GMD) accepts grant applications from Federal Program Officers (FPO) throughout the year. Since GMD only guarantees processing and obligation for those grant applications that are sent to GMD by June 30, NOAA managers want all grant applications prepared and sent to GMD by June 30.After June 30, notify your GMD specialist, GMAC rep, and Budget Officer for their carry-over list. If you, as an FPO, know that your grant application will be sent to GMD after June 30, you should contact your GMD specialist and your Grants Management Advisory Committee (GMAC) representative with this information. You should also provide your budget officer with the project codes and dollar amount for the grant. Your budget officer will include them on a carry-over list which gets submitted to NMFS Budget Execution Office. Corrections and updates to the carry-over list can be made throughout the 4th quarter by your budget officer.
7 FPO Deadlines – Continuing with a few deadlines of which all FPOs should be aware… Annual Grants PlanNOAA Grants asks for an Annual Grants Plan from each Line Office by the 30th day after the Appropriations Act has been signed. As an FPO, you should provide to your GMAC representative the number and dollar amount of your intended grants, and when they will be submitted to GMD.
8 FPO Deadlines – Continuing with a few deadlines of which all FPOs should be aware… Competitive AnnouncementsBy April and October each year, send your prepared Federal Funding Opportunity notices to FALD and GMD. Using Grants Online, all competitive announcements are sent to FALD and GMD for the June and December omnibus Federal Register notice.Any single announcement must be sent to your GMAC representative for clearance. Based on the acting AGO director’s July 9, 2008, memo, in order to publish your single announcement, a justification for why it should be published separately must be cleared through your AA.
9 Performance Measures Using accurate performance measures: Assists FPOs in predicting the timing of grants to GMD, and GMD’s signature date.This in turn –Allows Budget folks to assess quarterly obligations. Accurate performance measures allow for fewer variances.Creates a better work plan for GMD. GMD’s work loads are based on receipt of grants from the program offices.
10 Performance Measures Rule of Thumb Timing is estimated based on expected receipt of application or start date.GMD never gets more than 60 days to review and process an application.Applications are signed 30 days before start date.Measures depend on the type of grant.Program Offices have 90 days to process New Awards, and GMD has 60.Program Offices have 75 days to process Continuations, and GMD has 45.Program Offices have 45 days to process multi-year releases without changes, and GMD has 15.
11 Performance Measures Examples: If you expect a new award on May 1, Add 90 for the date to GMDAdd another 60 for the obligation dateIf you expect to receive a request on May 1 for funds under a multi-year with no anticipated changes,Add 45 for the date to GMDAdd another 15 for the obligation date
13 NOAA 2008 Grants Workshop Federal Program Officer Responsibilities October 23 – 24, 2008Silver Spring, MarylandLamar Dwayne RevisGrants Management Division
14 Questions Addressed Today Types of Financial AssistanceProgram Officer responsibilities in the award process
15 What is Financial Assistance? Grant/Cooperative Agreement – a transfer of money, property, services or anything of value to a recipient in order to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation that is authorized by federal statute.Contract – a legal instrument reflecting a relationship between NOAA and a business, organization, or individual whenever the principal purpose is the acquisition, by purchase, lease or barter, of property or services for the direct benefit or use by the federal government.
16 Grants vs. ContractsIf the principal purpose of the award is to meet the needs of a non-federal entity carrying out an activity that Congress has decided to assist, as a matter of public policy by statute, then this is a Grant or Cooperative Agreement.If the principal purpose of the award is to acquire goods or services that will be used by NOAA to carry out its public mission, then this is a Procurement Contract.
17 Types of GrantsDiscretionary – NOAA can exercise judgment in selecting the recipient to whom the federal funds are awarded.Non-Discretionary – Determined by statute and is limited to specifically named recipients or a particular class of recipients.
25 Most Common Application Problem Budget InconsistenciesApplicants must ensure the mandatory budget narrative fully explains and expounds upon the funding amounts, per line item, shown on the SF 424a.
26 Recommendation Package to GMD Internal program office memo summarizing process, timeline, and team findings.Funding recommendation memo from selecting official to Grants Management Division Director.Funding recommendations and justification attachment (including justification for funding proposals out of rank order).
27 Recommendation Package (cont.) 4. List of proposals received, recommended, and not recommended for funding.5. List of reviewers and scores.6. NEPA memo from the selecting official for the record.7. Copy of the “Federal Register” notice.
29 Clearance Steps for Recommended Applications Program Officer submits recommendation to selecting officialProgram Officer submits procurement request through Budget officials and the NOAA Management and Budget OfficeNational Environmental Policy Act Office clearanceFederal Assistance Law Division (FALD) clearance (depending on type of grant)Grants Management Division clearance
30 Final Grant Processing Steps Grantee is registered to use Grants On-line.Award is accepted by grantee’s Authorized Representative.Funding draw downs may commence after the award is signed by the Grants Officer, recipient is registered with the Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) and after account is validated by the Finance Office.
31 Program Office Teams Federal Program Officers (FPOs) Technical Program OfficersProgram Office Staff / ContractorsMerit ReviewersManagers / Core Team / Selecting OfficialBudget Teams
32 Contractor Grant Functions Contractors may:Serve as the Program Officer on a request for applications or application.Serve as competition manager and complete negotiations.Must reassign final actions to a Program Officer who will communicate directly with FALD, the Grants Office, applicants, or recipients.
33 What Offices/Entities Are Involved? Grants Management DivisionFederal Assistance Law DivisionDOC Office of General CounselNOAA Management and Budget OfficeGrants Management Advisory CouncilGrants On-lineGrants.govNational Environmental Policy Act Office
35 Silver Spring, Maryland Grants OnlineKey Steps to Finding NOAA Funding Opportunities and Developing Successful Grant ProposalsNOAA Grants WorkshopOctober 23-24, 2008Silver Spring, MarylandLamar Dwayne RevisGrants Management Division3535
36 Questions Addressed Today Grants OnlineQuestions Addressed TodayWhich programs in the federal government provide grants?How can you get detailed information on NOAA grant programs?What forms and documents must be submitted?What are key ways to increase chances of submitting a successful proposal?36
37 Grants Online Grants.gov Background Grants.gov is a single government-wide source for information about grant programsOne of 24 E-government initiativesIncludes >1,000 grant programs from 26 federal grant-making agencies$460 billion in annual awardsAdministered by Department of Health and Human Services37
38 Grants Online Origins and Purpose Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act of 1999, also known as Public LawGoalsImprove effectiveness and performance of Federal financial assistance programsSimplify Federal assistance application and reporting requirementsImprove the delivery of servicesFacilitate greater coordination among those delivering services38
39 Grants Online Support Resources On-line user support, tutorial, and training demonstrationFrequently asked questionsUser guideToll-free phone numberHelp Center39
40 Finding Grant Opportunities Grants OnlineFinding Grant OpportunitiesBasic searchBrowse by categoryBrowse by agencyAdvanced searchalert notification service40
45 23 Categorical Search Options Grants Online23 Categorical Search OptionsAll Categories of Funding ActivityAgricultureArts (see "Cultural Affairs" in CFDA)Business and CommerceCommunity DevelopmentConsumer ProtectionDisaster Prevention and ReliefEducationEmployment, Labor and TrainingEnergyEnvironmentFood and Nutrition45
46 23 Categorical Search Options Grants Online23 Categorical Search OptionsHealthHousingHumanities (see "Cultural Affairs" in CFDA)Information and StatisticsIncome Security and Social ServicesLaw, Justice and Legal ServicesNatural ResourcesOther (see text field entitled "Explanation of Other Category of Funding Activity" for clarification)Regional DevelopmentScience and Technology and other Research and DevelopmentTransportation46
47 Advanced Searches Grants Online Includes Flexibility to search on numerous criteriaActive and archived documentsFunding opportunity numberDates and time framesCatalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numberFunding activity categoryFunding instrument typeAgency47
48 E-mail Subscription Service Grants OnlineSubscription ServiceTo receive notification of funding opportunities, you needCatalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numberAgencyCategory of activityInstrument typeEligibility48
49 Sample E-mail Notification about a Coastal Related Opportunity Grants OnlineSample Notification about a Coastal Related OpportunityOriginal MessageSubject: Grants.gov Opportunities Posting UpdateDate: Wed, 07 Feb :35: (EST)From:To:DOIDepartment of the Interior U. S. Geological Survey 2007 National SpatialData Infrastructure Cooperative Agreement Program Category 4 ExtensionModification 149
50 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Grants OnlineCatalog of Federal Domestic AssistanceAn index of all programs and their Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers are at:50
55 Coastal Keyword Search Results (76 Total Listings) Grants OnlineCoastal Keyword Search Results (76 Total Listings)55
56 Grants Online Getting Ready to Apply Once you have found an opportunity that you want to apply for…Grants.Gov and Grants Online (NOAA)DUNSCCRCredential Service Provider ORCGrants.gov (e-business point of contact and authorized representative)
58 Grants OnlineGrant.gov Opportunity Announcement Screen Contains Three Buttons:SynopsisFull announcementHow to apply58
59 Full Announcement Format Grants OnlineFull Announcement FormatI. Funding opportunity descriptionII. Award informationIII. Eligibility informationApplication and submission informationV. Application review informationVI. Award administration informationVII. Agency contactsVIII. Other information59
60 Full Announcement Format (cont.) Grants OnlineFull Announcement Format (cont.)V. Application review informationVI. Award administration informationVII. Agency contactsVIII. Other informationAll federal agencies are required to follow this format.60
61 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsI. Funding Opportunity DescriptionA. Program ObjectiveB. Program PrioritiesC. Program AuthorityD. Cost Principles61
62 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsAward InformationA. Funding AvailabilityB. Project / Award PeriodC. Type of Funding Instrument62
63 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsEligibility InformationA. Eligible ApplicantsB. Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement63
64 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsIV. Application and Submission InformationA. Address to Request Application PackageB. Content and Form of Application SubmissionC. Submission Date and TimeD. Intergovernmental ReviewE. Funding RestrictionsF. Other Submission Requirements64
65 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsV. Application Review InformationA. Evaluation Criteria for Letters of Intent (LOIs)B. Evaluation Criteria for Full ApplicationsC. Review and Selection ProcessD. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates65
66 NOAA Standard Evaluation Criteria Grants OnlineNOAA Standard Evaluation Criteria1. Importance and/or relevance and applicability of proposed project to the program goals (40 points)2. Technical/scientific merit (30 points)3. Overall qualifications of applicants (15 points)4. Project costs (10 points)5. Outreach and education (5 points)66
67 Specific Announcement Sections Grants OnlineSpecific Announcement SectionsVI. Award Administration InformationA. Award NoticesB. Administrative and National Policy RequirementsC. ReportingAgency ContactsOther Information67
68 Apply Feature Grants Online Allows users to Download application packages based on Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number, Funding Opportunity Number, or Competition Number.Complete application packages off-lineSubmit application packagesTrack the status of submitted applicationsReceive updates on application package changes68
70 Required Grant Forms Grants Online SFs-424 Application for assistance SF-424A Non-construction budgetSF-424B AssurancesSF-424C Construction budgetSF-424D Assurances for Construction70
71 Required Grant Forms Grants Online 6. SF-LLL (if activities are being reported)CD-346 (by non-profits or for-profits only)CDs-511 and 512 Certification regarding lobbying9. Project and budget narratives71
72 Grants Online User Roles The e-business point of contact (POC) determines who is allowed to submit grant application packages on behalf of an organization.The authorized organization representative (AOR) has the ability to submit applications on behalf of an organization.The application author (AA) prepares grant application packages but does not have signature authority to submit the applications.72
73 Increase Your Chances of a Successful Grant Proposal Grants OnlineIncrease Your Chances of a Successful Grant ProposalAnticipate federal announcements of major competitionsNOAA typically announces every June and DecemberFollow and address submission guidance stated in announcementsPay close attention to FFO Sections IV and V:- Section IV content and form of application- Section V application review information(used verbatim by merit review panel)73
74 Increase Your Chances of a Successful Proposal (cont.) Grants OnlineIncrease Your Chances of a Successful Proposal (cont.)Provide sufficient and consistent budget informationClearly state the resulting impact of your project and productsMaintain Grants.gov registrationStudy on-line grant writing resources (Grants.gov andLook into technical assistance/grants writing from Congressional offices, non-profits, etc74
75 Grant Writing Resources Grants OnlineGrant Writing ResourcesProposal developmentLogic model development (outcomes & impacts)75
80 Statutory AuthorityGrants Online is no longer automatically inserting statutory authorities into the P.O. checklist and the CD-450 based on what is in the CFDA listing. FPO’s will have to include that themselves.FALD has the CFDA numbers, statutes cited, and brief descriptions at: htm.This site is linked in the Grants Online PO Checklist.FALD can be contacted for assistance.
81 Selection Memos This section will look at selection memos for: Competitive awardsBroad Agency Announcement (BAA) awardsNon-competitive awards
82 Selection Memos (cont.) Selection memos should explain why the program office has decided to spend taxpayer funds the way it has.Justifications have to be consistent with the requirements the awards are operating under (whether it’s the Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO), BAA, or Grants Manual).The memos should be written so that the reasons for awards can be understood by the readers, who could be from GC or IG offices or the general public.
83 Selection Memos—Competitive Awards For competitive selection memos, an explanation of a selection is needed when picking out of rank order.Justification must be based only on the selection factors that are listed in the notice.The selection factors are NOAA standard requirements, which cannot be changed.
84 Selection Memos—Competitive Awards (cont.) The selection factors for research awards are:1. Availability of funding.2. Balance/distribution of funds: a. Geographically; b. By type of institutions; c. By type of partners; d. By research areas; e. By project types.3. Whether this project duplicates other projects funded or considered for funding by NOAA or other Federal agencies.4. Program priorities and policy factors.5. Applicant's prior award performance.6. Partnerships and/or Participation of targeted groups.7. Adequacy of information necessary for NOAA staff to make a NEPA determination and draft necessary documentation before recommendations for funding are made to the Grants Officer.
85 Selection Memos—Competitive Awards (cont.) The selection factors for fellowships are:1. Balance/Distribution of Fundsa. Across academic disciplinesb. By types of institutionc. Geographically2. Availability of funds3. Program-specific objectives4. Degree in scientific area and type of degree sought
86 Selection Memos—Competitive Awards (cont.) When justifying a selection out of rank order the factor being used should be listed and then explained.DO NOT WRITE: “The project ranked 12th is picked because of geography.”INSTEAD WRITE: “The project ranked 12th is being picked over the project ranked 11th because of Selection Factor 2.a, Balance/distribution of funds geographically. Project 11 is from the Pacific coast, from which three other funded projects originate, while Project 12 is the only one from the Gulf of Mexico.”
87 Selection Memos—Competitive Awards (cont.) If program priorities and policy factors (Selection Factor 4 for research awards) are the basis for the out-of- order selection, cite the specific section in the FFO where the priority/factor is listed. If the program priority or policy factor is not listed in the FFO, it CANNOT be used as a basis for the selection.
88 Selection Memos – Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) BAA awards are issued on an individual basis; they are not ranked in comparison to other applications that a program may also have under consideration.The selecting official must explain why the award is being made. This DOES NOT MEAN justifying the award in terms of the selection factors used in competitions.
89 Selection Memos – Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) (cont.) DO NOT WRITE: “This project received good reviews and meets a NOAA mission.” A great number of BAA award justifications have used essentially that language.DO NOT USE non-competitive justifications for BAA awards.INSTEAD: Explain why the program office decided that this proposal is worth being funded. Since the decision is completely at NOAA’s discretion, a clear reason should be offered.
90 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications The Grants Manual provides six options for justifying issuing non-competitive awards (See Chapter 8, pages 7 and 8): (1) Only One Source Identified.(2) Unusual and Compelling Urgency.(3) International Agreement.(4) National Security.(5) Public Interest.(6) Congressional Direction.
91 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) To justify an award under #1, Only One Source Identified, the FPO should indicate whether an applicant:1. Has proprietary information;2. Has made a substantial investment in the activity;3. Is proposing a unique or innovative idea, method or approach.4. Is the only organization known to possess the capability to perform, and how you determined that.
92 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) If the justification under #1, Only One Source Identified, is that the applicant: a. Has proprietary information, the FPO should base the justification on his/her own expertise or someone he/she has consulted; b. Has made a substantial investment in the activity, the FPO should describe the nature and amount of the investment. Receipt of prior Federal awards is not applicant investment; c. Is proposing a unique or innovative idea, method or approach, the FPO should explain the nature of the approach and describe why it is unique; d. Is the only organization known to possess the capability to perform, the FPO should explain how he/she came to this conclusion, e.g., consultation with potential recipients or scientists; research in scientific journals; or, describe what search was attempted or possible recipients contacted.
93 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) To justify an award under #2, Unusual and Compelling Urgency, the FPO should explain the unforeseen events that need to be addressed within a limited time frame.EXAMPLES: red tide event; disaster recovery; seasonal research needs.It is NOT to be used to address administrative errors or poor planning.
94 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) To justify an award under #3, International Agreement, the FPO should consult with the General Counsel to determine if the document being cited is an “international agreement” or “treaty” as described in the Manual.To justify an award under #4, National Security, the Secretary of Commerce must determine in writing that public disclosure of the project would compromise the national security. This is not a delegable determination.
95 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) To justify an award under #5, Public Interest, the explanation must: 1. Be written by the Head of Operating Unit (at NOAA, AA’s or above); 2. Provide a rationale for why it is not in the public interest to have a competition, NOT why it should be funded.
96 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) DO NOT WRITE: “I have determined that it is in the public interest to issue this award because ” This does not address why competition is not necessary.DO NOT WRITE: “I have determined that it is not in the public interest to have a competition.” This does not provide a reason.DO NOT WRITE: “I have determined that it is not in the public interest to have a competition because this is the only organization that can accomplish this work.” This justification comes under #1, Only One Source Identified, and would have to meet the standards of that justification.
97 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) To justify an award under #6, Congressional Direction, the Operating Unit CFO/Budget Officer determines that “congressional direction” to issue an award to a specific recipient, project, or both has been expressed in writing in the House report, the Senate Report, and/or the Conference Report. The recipient is then listed on a Grants Matrix document that is included with other award information in Grants Online. The matrix also lists a project description, a statutory authority allowing a grant to be awarded and an award amount. All that is needed for this justification is a memo from the CFO/Budget Officer transmitting the matrix. NOTE: If the matrix does not list the recipient but only the project, it will not meet the requirements of this justification. This problem arose in NMFS in 2008 and required that a project be justified in some other way.
98 Selection Memos--Non-competitive Justifications (cont.) Awards listed on the matrix are “soft earmarks,” meaning they are identified by Congress in report language as something it would like to see awarded (therefore an “earmark”) but haven’t been listed in an actual appropriations law (therefore “soft”). NOAA is not legally bound to issue the awards, but is constrained by a desire to comply with Congressional will.“Hard earmarks” are different: They are listed in an appropriations law and are therefore legally required to be awarded.Other definitions of “hard” and “soft” earmarks are used in the budget office depending on whether or not a project was requested in the President’s budget. However, for purposes of this non- competitive justification, the definitions listed above are the ones that apply.
99 Merit Reviewers and Objectivity FPOs and grants administrators must insure that reviewers are objective.Reviewers must express their views based on their individual expertise in the subject matter they are dealing with.FPOs cannot be reviewers for the projects they are managing.If possible, reviewers should not be in the chain of command of the selecting official.
100 Merit Reviewers and Conflicts of Interest Reviewers must reveal potential conflicts to determine if they should carry out evaluations of awards.If there is a conflict, the most desirable alternative would be to use a different reviewer.Reviewers’ identities must be provided to GMD and FALD to enable those offices to make assessments about potential conflicts.NOTE: a conflict of interest on the part of a reviewer could be a basis for challenging a funding decision in court.
101 Can Federal Employees Receive Grants? Under the terms of the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, the answer is no. By definition, grants (and cooperative agreements) are awards that Federal agencies make to non-Federal organizations or individuals.HOWEVER, sometimes agencies will offer funds to other agencies under terms that look like grants (that is, the offering agency wants to support something the receiving agency is doing and is not buying goods or services).The QUESTION is: since the transfer would constitute and augmentation of its appropriation, can the requesting agency receive the money?The ANSWER is: the requesting agency can receive the money ONLY IF there is a law that allows it.
102 Can Federal Employees Receive Grants (cont.)? If such a law exists, the award of funds would be by an interagency transfer and NOT by a grant (or cooperative agreement).To determine if such a law exists, the General Law Division should be consulted for a determination.
103 Can Federal Employees Receive Grants (cont.)? As a slight variation of the question, can NOAA employees receive NOAA grants (or cooperative agreements)? Again, the answer is no, since the funds would be staying inside the government.HOWEVER, sometimes, if there are no statutory limitations, NOAA competitions are open to NOAA employees to compete for the funds against outside applicants.If the NOAA employee wins such a competition, a budget transfer inside NOAA is made. A grant (or cooperative agreement) is not issued.
104 Assistance v. Procurement Procurement Contracts -- Principal purpose is to acquire property or services for the direct benefit of the federal government. Contracting authority is inherent.Financial Assistance -- The transfer of anything of value for a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by law.No inherent authorityMust be explicit statutory authority to make a grant.
105 Assistance v. Procurement Decision Process To ensure that the appropriate instrument is selected, NOAA should ask the following questions:Is the primary purpose of the award to acquire goods or services that will directly benefit or be used by NOAA to further a specific NOAA mission or requirement?Yes: then the award instrument should be a contract.No: then use a grant or cooperative agreement.Is the work to be performed by the recipient for its own purposes and primarily NOAA is supporting this effort with financial or other assistance?Yes: then the award instrument should be a grant or cooperative agreement.No: then the award instrument should be a contract.The decision whether to use a contract or a financial assistance agreement is not based on the type of recipient (e.g., university, non-profit, or for-profit organization), activity (research, sponsorship), or who is to benefit. It is based on the principal purpose of making the award.
106 Assistance v. Procurement Decision Process (cont.) EXAMPLE: SPONSORSHIPSTake an example of these two situations regarding sponsorships:1. An applicant is hosting a conference on how communities can better prepare for hurricanes and requests funding from NOAA to administer it.2. NOAA is hosting a conference on how communities can better prepare for hurricanes and awards funds to an organization to administer the conference.In the first situation, NOAA is supporting an activity the recipient wants to carry out. In the second situation, NOAA is paying a recipient to do work it wants done.This means that, in the first situation, the award is a grant, in the second a procurement contract, even though in both circumstances the outcome of the activity is to benefit the public.
107 NEPA and the FPO – Everything you were afraid to ask & Need to Know Philip L. HoffmanCooperative Institute Program Manager (Acting)OAR – Labs and Cooperative Institutes
108 Let me tell youHistory of NEPA – its not just about fuzzy bunniesNEPA Requirements – Yes, Martha, NOAA has to do SOMETHING!NEPA and the FPO – You, yes you, are our first line of defense (should you choose to accept the mission).
109 The History of NEPAIt all started with the Cuyahoga River Fire of 22 June 1969 (Or did it?)Actually, it began with the building of the Interstate systemOfficially “the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969” (42 USC 4321 et. Seq.)Signed by Pres. Nixon 1 January 1970
110 What is the idea (of NEPA)? “The purposes of this Act are:To declare a national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment;to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man;to enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the Nation;and to establish a Council on Environmental Quality. “ (42 USC 4321)Yeah, OK, but how do you really do that as a federal agency?
111 How do you do (NEPA that is)? Go to the books – NAO (§ 5 Implementing Procedures)a) define the proposed action;(b) consider the nature and intensity of the potential environmental consequences of the action in relation to the criteria and guidance provided in this Order to determine whether the action requires an EIS, EA, or CE;(c) prepare a CE memorandum, as appropriate;(d) prepare an EA or initiate planning and for an EIS where an EIS is known to be appropriate;(e) prepare a FONSI (which ends the NEPA environmental review process for actions found not to have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment) or initiate planning for an EIS/SEIS based on the EA;
112 How do you do (NEPA that is)? An FPO won’t likely do the CE memo or FONSI, but you need to look for them and know why they are there, and what they should contain.CE memo : for things that have been shown to have no impact – Computer modeling; fisheries monitoring; S-K; planting dune grass; project or program planning; Charting and mapping; Restoration of ecosystems w/o excavation;EA : One level “up;” larger scope projects, often more expensive, but with no “significant” impact;If it Says EIS
115 What should you look for in reviewing NEPA? Remember – NEPA is a FEDERAL responsibility.Is there a NEPA document attached to the Application? It may be buried in the narrative appendices.Is the document scope adequate to the project at hand?Does the document actually describe the project?Is there evidence the PI has permits? Often, especially for in- water, you need ESA, MMPA, and/or U.S. Army Corps permits to do work.Anything with whales, installing permanent or moored instruments, Pacific salmon, seals, commercial fisheries or restoration should trigger this.
116 What should you look for in reviewing NEPA? “Big” projects often need more NEPA, but size and $$ don’t necessarily force NEPA decisions. Controversy is also a big driver.If NOAA has the lead, and the applicant is just part of a larger NOAA effort, it is likely that NOAA has done NEPA – you may just have dig a bit to find it.Sometimes applicants will be working with other federal agencies, and you can get their NEPA as well.
117 Programmatic NEPA documents – living life in the easy lane Programmatic NEPA documents cover the actions of a whole area or program – they describe the Program impacts across the board.They cover groups of similar actions, or repetitive actions over several years.Also written for program with grants as one component.Some require annual Suppliments attesting to project compliance.
118 Current Programmatic NEPA Grants documents Coral Reef Conservation Grant ProgramCELCPCZMA – NEERSFWCACommunity Based Restoration ProgramPelagic Fisheries Research Program
119 The Bottom LineNEPA allows federal agencies to safeguard the environment by leveraging the actions and resources of others.NEPA is an important part of what NOAA does to meet its environmental obligations to the general publicFPO’s are integral to the success of NEPA implementation in NOAA.
120 Who you gonna call (NEPA Busters)! Steve Kokkanikas - NOAA NEPA CoordinationProgram Planning & Integration , x.189NMFS – Aileen Smith (301)NOS Sanctuaries – John Armor, (301) ; OCRM – Helen Farr (301)NESDIS – Stan Chan (301)NWS & OAR – TBDCI Program – Philip L. Hoffman [Acting] (301)
121 Who you gonna call (NEPA Busters)! https://www.intranet.nepa.noaa.gov/grants.html
122 NOAA GRANTS FEDERAL PROGRAM OFFICER’S TRAINING WORKSHOP Grants Management ReviewsOctober 23-24, 2008Silver Spring, MDCarol Jean Pendleton Grants Management Specialist Presenter
123 APPLICATION PACKAGEAPPLICATION PACKAGE – a set of documents required from both the applicant and the FPO which must be submitted to the Grants Office in order to make a financial assistance award.RECIPIENT will complete and submit an application package in Grants .gov. The forms will include the SF 424, SF 424A or SF 424C, SF 424B or SF 424D, CD 511 and SF-LLL, if applicable. And a Project Description and Budget Justification and any requested documents covering the award.PROGRAM OFFICER will submit the completed P.O. Checklist, forward the CD 435 (Procurement Request) to the Budget Officer for approval and forward the award to the appropriate NEPA official.
124 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST Grants Management Specialist receives and reviews the award packages in Grants Online as they are submitted by the line offices. An award package will include the following from the Program Officer:PROGRAM OFFICER CHECKLISTIdentifies Grant Type A Grant is a transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value to accomplish a public purpose.Cooperative Agreement includes substantial involvement which is the collaboration, participation, or intervention by DOC/NOAA in the management of the project between DOC/NOAA and the recipient during the performance of the activity. A Special Award Condition is required for cooperative agreements.
125 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED Statutory Authority - Is the grant-making authority for the proposed activity. There is a Guidance link in Grants Online for further information.Project Description/Abstract - This should be a very brief summary (no more than a few sentences) of the proposed activity. It will be entered into the NOAA Grant System and used by the Grants Office for congressional notification (through the Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs) at the time of the award.Basis of Selection Competitive – Awards made after the proposals are reviewed and selected as the result of a program solicitation that has been published in the Federal Register.
126 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED A Competitive Selection must be reviewed by the Federal Assistance Law Division (FALD) prior to the submission to the Grants Office. The following must be included with every competitive application package submitted to the Grants Office: A copy of the selection recommendation and the review clearance by FALD A copy of the published Federal Register.The Selection Recommendation Package includes: A recommendation Memo signed and dated by Selection Official An explanation of the selection criteria used to evaluate, score, and rank each of the applications received Summary of the results of the review (number of applications received, reviewed and rejected).
127 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED 4. Certification that all applications considered were received by the deadline established in the announcement A signed DOC approved conflict of interest form (CD 571) for all non-Federal reviewers.Non-Competitive - Awards made with discretionary funds can be approved only in unusual and extraordinary circumstances A Justification Memo and three (3) independent merit reviews must be provided by the Federal Program Office with the application package Justification Memo - The guidelines for the criteria required for the Memo is outlined in the DOC Manual, Chapter 8, Section F. Non competitive awards are based on only of the following factors:
128 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED (1) Only one source identified (2) Unusual and Compelling Urgency (3) International Agreement (4) National Security (5) Public InterestCongressionally Directed (soft earmarks) - Only the NOAA CFO/Budget Officer (or designee) may approve this exception for the non-competitive “Congressionally Directed” awards for each line office. After the current fiscal year of appropriation has been passed by Congress, the issuance of one Memorandum and a budget/grants matrix is required to identify all congressionally directed projects and amount of funding A copy of the Memo with a copy of the Matrix must be submitted by the FPO for each Congressional Directed Award.
129 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED In addition, three (3) merit/technical reviews are required Please Note: If negative issues are stated in the reviews, the Federal Program Officer must address them before the award(s) are sent to the Grants Office The Federal Program Officer cannot submit a merit review for an award that they are processing.Institutional Awards - Can be a grant or cooperative agreement under which funds should be initially awarded based on competition with the intent to maintain a long term partnership between DOC/NOAA and the recipient. Awards can be made on a Non competitive basis if recipient continues to perform satisfactory and submits the appropriate application documents required. They should not exceed a five (5) year period.
130 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED Formula/Allotment - Awards made to organizations for which eligibility has been limited to law to a particular class of applicants and applicant meets the statutory requirements Typically there is a formula or allotment established that identifies each applicant and the amount of funding. Two Formula/Allotment based programs are: Coastal Zone Management and National Marine Fisheries Section All programs must submit to the Grants Office a Memo explaining the basis for the allocation, an allocation plan with the distribution of funds and one technical/merit review of the proposed application in accordance with the Grants Manual.Congressionally Mandated - Awards are hard earmarks, are not discretionary because they are mandated by law. Funds are identified in the appropriations act.
131 PROGRAM OFFICE’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED Performance/Progress Report Frequency - NOAA standard progress reports are semi-annually (every 6 months) from the start date issued on the award. If FPO determines that annual reports are sufficient to meet the needs of the FPO’s review and monitoring of the recipient’s progress, the FPO must prepare a Programmatic Special award Condition for the annual reports.Conflict of Interest – The FPO must identify any person(s) if the person was a former DOC employee and is working for the applicant or was involved in the merit review and/or selection process. A Guidance link is provided to assist you.Matching Requirements - A match may be required by statute and must be provided unless there is statutory exception that applies.
132 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED Waiver of administrative and cost-related prior approval requirements If the proposed award supports research and recipient is covered under 15 CFR Part 14 (educational institutions, non profit, for profit and individuals), the recipient may be entitled to expanded authorities to initiate changes without prior approval by the Grants Officer.The FPO may add a special award condition if the award supports research. The special award condition includes the following changes that can be made without prior approval: Incur pre-award costs up to 90 days prior to the start of the award Extend the award period once up to 12 months; and Carry forward unobligated balances to the next budget period.
133 PROGRAM OFFICER’S CHECKLIST CONTINUED Transfer Information – If award includes any Federal funds transferred from another Federal Agency, the FPO must provide a copy of the transfer documentation from the other Federal Agency such as an Interagency Agreement which should include: (1.) Transferring agency’s statutory authority for grant-making (2.) Scope of activity to be covered by the transferred funds (3.) Fiscal year bounds of funds (no year funds vs. fixed year funds).Programmatic Special Award Conditions - Federal Program Officer must include any programmatic restrictions that need to be placed on the award such as cooperative agreement, progress reports, or NEPA. If program office has requested Programmatic Special Award Conditions requiring data to be supplied, additional reports, etc., the conditions must have OMB approval.
134 THE APPLICATION FOR FEDERAL ASSISTANCE SF 424 SF The Grants Specialist reviews the following: Legal Name and Address Employer Identification name and address EIN number and Duns Number Type of Applicant - determines the type of administrative regulations and cost principles applicable to the Recipient. (examples: State, University, Non Profit) Project dates - Awards must start at the first of the month and end on the last day of the month and correspond with the funding period. Please Note: For Multi year Awards, the entire period of the award is entered. Congressional Districts - Of the applicant and program/project.
135 THE SF 424 CONTINUEDFederal Funding - The amount requested during the first year of funding budget period Please note: For multi-year funding, the entire total of the multi- year award is entered Non Federal Funding – can be broken down by categories and be provided by Applicant, State, Local, and Other (3rd Party contributions) Non-Federal share can be a required match from the regulations or statute or Cost sharing can be voluntary or at the request of the Program Office. Match can be: Cash or In Kind - Volunteer services (employees donates reasonable value time). Donated Land, buildings and/or Equipment (Fair Market Value) In Kind must be necessary, allowable, documented and have a reasonable value.
136 THE SF 424 CONTINUEDProgram Income may be included in the award package and must be used in the award to enhance the project. Program income will be included in the SF 424A and Project Description Examples: Registration fees, sale of fish and admission fee It is the recipient’s responsibility to meet that match Is the applicant Delinquent on any Federal Debt - a new award of Federal funds cannot be made to an applicant who has an outstanding debt until the delinquent account is paid in full SF 424 must be signed and dated by the Authorized Representative of the application organization and date NOTE: The SF 424 is a legally enforceable document. Any changes to the funding requires a revised SF If a revision to the SF 424 is submitted to the Federal Program Officer, the form must be signed before FPO scans the form in Grants Online.
137 GRANTS MANAGEMENT DIVISION (GMD) CHECKLIST It is a requirement for the Grants Management to perform the following reviews and to perform a Cost Analysis for all new, continuations, or supplement grants or cooperative agreements. LIST OF PARTIES E XCLUDED FROM PROCUREMENT/NON PROCUREMENT ACTIVITIES - The list is maintained by the GSA on the Web site to assure that the recipient has not been disbarred or suspended on a government wide basis from receiving financial assistance If the organization is found, then the award cannot be made. SINGLE AUDIT LIST (A-133) - The audit web site will disclose any material weaknesses or significant findings under the audit for the recipient. If a finding is found, specialist must check with the GMD Audit Specialist regarding any outstanding audit issues and/or any corrective plans. The National Institute of Standards and Technology List (NIST Hold List) – the Debt List
138 GMD CHECKLIST CONTINUED A CREDIT CHECK is required for Individuals, Non Profit, For Profit, or individual recipients and is good for one (1) year and is processed in Grants Online. NAME CHECK is the Grants Specialist’s responsibility to initiate the background screening process and OIG performs the background screening. A Name Check is good for three (3) years. An OIG Clearance has a 6 month threshold and is processed in Grants Online An OIG Clearance is not required for : 1. Awards where the federal share is $100,000 or less 2. Any award, regardless of amount, to Grantees that are a unit of a State or Local Government 3. Applicants who have been recipients of financial assistance from the Department for three or more consecutive years without any adverse programmatic or audit finding OIG Clearance has a 6 month threshold and is processed through Grants Online.
139 GMD CHECKLIST CONTINUED It is a requirement for the Grants Management to complete a Cost Analysis for all new, continuations, or supplement grants or cooperative agreements Grants Online will not allow workflow to continue on awards over $100,000 until the Cost Analysis is completed in Grants Online Grants Management Specialist has to verify, evaluate and examine each budget category according to the OMB procedures, policies, and Grants manual. Budget Categories of interest are: Personnel – The title, salary and time commitment of all employees are required Travel – Domestic, foreign, and local travel, estimate mileage, cost per mile, number of travelers, lodging, per diem, etc Equipment – Any item that the unit cost is $5,000 or more and has a useful life of more than one year requires a lease vs. purchase.
140 GMD CHECKLIST CONTINUED INDIRECT COSTS - the recipient must have a current or expired Indirect Cost Rate Agreement from a cognizant federal agency.If recipient has not previously established an Indirect Cost Rate with a Federal Agency, recipient must submit within 90 days of the award start date the required proposal documentation necessary to perform the review to their cognizant agency. Further instructions are listed in the Department of Commerce Financial Assistance Standard Award Conditions.
141 OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNCIL (OGC) Office of General Council (OGC) - After specialists review and complete the GMD Checklist, prepare the CD 450, add the required Special Award Conditions, the award is forwarded to the Office of General Counsel (OGC) electronically for review and comments.Awards that go to OGC are: Competitive awards over $100,000 (unless legal review has been waived) and all Non Competitive Awards will be forwarded to OGC.
142 PROCUREMENT REQUEST AND COMMITMENT OF FUNDS (CD-435) Procurement Request - An approved Procurement Request is required with all funded awards. The CD 435 is a commitment of funds and the Federal share of funding must be available and certified.a. The amount of funding must be same amount as the P.O. Checklist and SF 424.b. The CD 435 is signed/approved by the authorized budget official that has been designated by the Line/Program Office (LO) with the authorized dollar amount threshold.
143 NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT POLICY ACT (NEPA) NEPA Environmental Review Requirements It is mandatory that the required NEPA documentation is included and approved by the designated NEPA official with the applications received in the Grants Office. Awards cannot be processed without the required NEPA documentation. There are three levels of NEPA Reviews.1. Categorical Exclusion (CE) Memo is completed and signed by the Responsible Program Manager along with related CE review checklist, as appropriate Environmental Assessment (EA) with signed Finding of No Significant Impact and concurrence by NOAA NEPA coordinator Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with signed Record of Decision (ROD).