State’s Clean Water Grant Update

Neil,Reading through the State’s Clean Water Grant Agreement Highlights it say’s we should have a final grant agreement by April 15th. There are multiple approval steps required and we cannot solicit applications till after we receive a signed grant contract from the State. We DO have tentative approval of the grant application from the State. I have submitted an updated work plan outlining the procedures that we would follow in expending the funds, the State must approve this work plan prior to actually producing the grant contract which then must be signed by multiple agencies. Once all is signed and approved the State will release the funds to the SWCD and we can then solicit applications from partnering community groups such as Loon Lake Assn. Loon Lake Assn would be applying for funds for your project as the Community Partner, which is required for this new grant category Community Partners Conservation Program Grants. The Assn would have to take several organizational steps prior to being able to apply for funds such as establishing a Conflict of Interest policy for Board members and likely a criteria by which applications would be scored. So the Assn requests a pool of funds and then accepts applications from residents interested in projects and disburses those funds accordingly.  The Community Partner group, lake assn, would also be responsible for all the standard grant associated procedures. Apparently the State would like to shift the burden of accepting, ranking, approving, tracking, installing, reimbursing, monitoring, and reporting projects away from Agencies and onto our Community Partners. This would free up the Agencies to do the strategic planning, water body assessment, grant application, oversight, partner communication, and other details necessary to move these projects forward. At this time I think everyone involved is quite confused since this hasn’t been done before. The other Counties I have discussed this with are not as far along in the process. The work plan reviewers called today and they are coming to my office on Friday to sit down and go over this.  Thanks,Steve HenryOtter Tail County Shoreland Specialist(218)-346-4260 x111