NH Wetland Mitigation Grant Program - Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services


Grant amount: US $8,000 - US $400,000

Next deadline: Aug 31, 2018 1:00pm PDT (Full proposal)

Later deadlines: Apr 30, 2019 1:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: New Hampshire

Location of residency: New Hampshire

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Overview:

Background

Land development and other human activities that require dredging, filling, and construction in wetland and surface water resources can result in significant impacts on the environment. These impacts affect the functions and values of wetlands and surface waters, such as wildlife habitat, water quality renovation, or flood storage and desynchronization, among others.

The purpose of mitigation is to achieve no net loss of wetland functions and values from development projects. A functional assessment is an evaluation of a wetland to determine the functions and values it performs within the context of the broader landscape needs to be completed by a qualified professional.

Once the functions and values to be lost are identified, compensatory mitigation can be provided to achieve the replacement or protection of similar functions and values lost through a project.

When the impacts are significant, the permittee is required to compensate for the loss of the functions and values. DES requires that certain projects mitigate for the impacts by conducting one (or more) of the following activities:

  • Restoring a previously existing wetland
  • Creating a new wetland, or
  • Preserving land (at least 50 % upland) to protect the values of the adjacent wetlands or water resource.

Eligible Projects

Although all projects within project types below are technically eligible for an ARM Fund application submittal, some projects may not be competitive based on established ranking criteria

Because the ARM committee is responsible for selecting projects that are likely to be sustainable long-term, projects should propose methodologies based on success elsewhere and where a monitoring plan will be implemented long-term. The project budget needs to provide for five years of monitoring for restoration, enhancement or creation projects. We recommend that you maximize potential rank points by considering the following guidance and contact the NHDES mitigation coordinator for early input.  

Land/Wetland Acquisition/Legal Protection 

  • A rare resource (natural community, threatened/endangered plant/wildlife, or vernal pool complex) will benefit.
  • Area was identified in NH Wildlife Action Plan as being of statewide or regional significance. 
  • Project is adjacent to other conservation lands or provides linkage to other protected parcels. 
  • Aquatic resources and their associated buffers will be protected. 
  • Easement language will ensure permanent protection of resources. 
  • Wetland and/or stream restoration is not required; however, applicants can increase potential points by including it with the understanding that appropriate monitoring is required up to five years post construction

Wetland Restoration/Creation 

Projects may include but are not limited to removing fill, restoring hydrology, removing invasive species, restoring native plant communities, closing roadways, restoring wetland crossings, reducing impervious surfaces or installing upland stormwater treatment.

  • Wetland restoration efforts will enhance/restore/create wetland types and/or wetland functions & values lost in the same watershed.  
  • Projects will result in an increase in ecological/hydrologic integrity and/or wildlife habitat through a specific activity. The applicant shall demonstrate the increase in functional value within the project narrative and (preferably) through a numerical assessment of pre- versus post-construction condition.
  • Include a land protection component as part of the project, or project occurs on a property that is permanently protected. To receive maximum points, a land protection component must be part of the project proposal.
  • The wetland proposed for restoration/enhancement is identified as a priority in a regional or statewide plan. 
  • A rare resource (natural community or threatened/endangered plant/wildlife) will benefit.
  • Restoration plans should be detailed and illustrate a clear link to improving the ecological integrity, water quality and/or wildlife habitat associated with the wetland.
  • Project will demonstrate sustainability of restoration/enhancement effort by including a provision for monitoring and associated performance standards to demonstrate project success.

Stream Restoration 

Projects may include, but are not limited to: culvert and dam removal, in-stream habitat enhancement, buffer and riparian enhancement, floodplain enhancement/reconnection, upland stormwater treatment, and upgrading deficient stream crossings.

  • Stream restoration will enhance/restore/create functions lost in the same HUC 10 watershed.  
  • Include a land protection component as part of the project or the project occurs on a property that is permanently protected. To receive the most points, a land protection component must be part of the proposal.
  • The stream restoration project location is identified as a priority in a local, regional or statewide plan. 
  • A rare resource (natural community or threatened/endangered plant/wildlife) will benefit. 
  • Aquatic organism passage and natural sediment transport processes are improved.
  • Bank stabilization projects must include a vegetative or bioengineering solution and improve the system ecologically. 
  • Restoration plans should be detailed and illustrate a clear link to improving aquatic functions. Wildlife habitat (especially fish) is often the primary function enhanced or restored, but other functions may be enhanced.
  • Project will improve hydraulic capacity of a stream crossing that lies within a flood-prone area.
  • Project will demonstrate sustainability of restoration/enhancement effort by including a provision for monitoring and associated performance standards to demonstrate project success.
  • Stream miles connected are maximized. For example, a project that opens up 50 miles of barrier free river is likely to be more competitive than a project site that has additional barriers just up and down river. 

Other Considerations

Invasive species management projects are not likely to be funded as a stand-alone project but should be considered in any restoration project. Potential areas could also be targeted as part of restoration on a land preservation parcel in the management/stewardship program.  

Because culvert and dam removal/replacements are often expensive, there are numerous culverts/dams needing replacement/removal statewide, and there are limited funds in the ARM Fund, the ARM committee is unlikely to recommend full funding for these types of projects unless applicants demonstrate the project is exceptional and has numerous and significant ecological benefits.

Eligible Activities

The following categories of project elements are eligible for consideration. Other categories may be considered and should be discussed with the DES Coordinator. See full details here.

  • Wetland and Other Aquatic Resource Restoration
  • Land Preservation
  • Aquatic Resource/Stream Passage Improvements
  • Wetland Creation

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants: 
    • Any of New Hampshire's communities wholly or partially located within the service areas are eligible to apply.
    • Other eligible organizations include County governments, Regional Planning Commissions, County Conservation Districts, Watershed/River Associations, state agencies, departments within the University of New Hampshire and other institutions of higher education, community public school districts, and nonprofit organizations.
  • Eligible activities: 
    • To be eligible, every project must be aimed at restoring or protecting wetlands and other aquatic resource functions and values in the service area announced in the application cycle.
    • Projects may also address potential opportunities that improve or protect habitats identified through the Compensation Planning Framework contained in the Final In-Lieu Fee Program Instrument (hereinafter “Instrument”).

Preferences:

  • Projects submitted for funding will score higher if they have the support of the host municipality and this should be clearly documented in a letter of support or in minutes of a meeting where a vote was taken to proceed with the proposal.
  • Partnerships among agencies are encouraged and we acknowledge that consultants (i.e. wetland scientists, engineers, fluvial geomorphologists and other areas of expertise) may be needed to complete the application and ultimately a funded project
  • Although all projects within project types above  are technically eligible for an ARM Fund application submittal, some projects may not  be competitive based on established ranking criteria.
    • The ranking can be found in the NHDES administrative rules here.