Sustain Our Great Lakes Grant Program

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

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Grant amount: US $100,000 - US $1,000,000

Deadline: Apr 18, 2019 8:59pm PDT (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit College / University Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Research, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Canada, Michigan, Lake County, Illinois, Counties in Indiana: Adams County, Allen County Expand all

Location of residency: Canada, United States

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About this funder:

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Overview:

Overview

The Sustain Our Great Lakes (SOGL) program is soliciting proposals to benefit fish, wildlife, habitat and water quality in the Great Lakes basin. The program will award grants in 2019 to improve and enhance: 1) stream and riparian habitat; 2) coastal wetland habitat; and 3) water quality in the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Approximately $8.2 million is expected to be available for grant awards in 2019. The program is administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in partnership with ArcelorMittal, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. Significant program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem.   

Geographic Focus

To be eligible for funding, projects must occur in the current or historic Great Lakes basin. Most of the available funding will be directed to projects in the United States. Approximately $100,000–$200,000 may be directed to projects in Canada with preference given to projects in the western Lake Ontario region, particularly near Hamilton, Ontario.

Program Priorities

In 2019, grant funding will be awarded in four categories:

  • Restoring and Enhancing Stream and Riparian Habitat
  • Restoring and Enhancing Coastal Wetland Habitat
  • Expanding Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Great Lakes Communities
  • New Funding Opportunity: Maintaining and Enhancing Benefits of Habitat Restoration through Invasive Species Control

Funding Category 1: Restoring and Enhancing Stream and Riparian Habitat

This category will direct up to $1.5 million to projects that improve the quality and connectivity of stream and riparian habitat. Preference will be given to projects designed to improve populations of species of conservation concern, with an emphasis on brook trout and lake sturgeon. Preference will also be given to projects that reduce sediment and nutrient loading to streams and other waters. Funding will primarily support the following four strategies.​

  • Restore aquatic connectivity: barrier removal, bridge and culvert replacement, and fish passage structure installation to facilitate movements of fish and other aquatic organisms
  • Naturalize stream channel configuration: channel realignment and excavation to restore stream meander, floodplain connections, and other geomorphological processes
  • Improve in-stream habitat: installation of in-stream structures to improve geomorphological processes and habitat complexity for fish and other aquatic organisms
  • Improve riparian habitat: bank stabilization , and native plant restoration along streambanks and riparian wetlands to improve habitat and water quality 
    • Invasive species control: Invasive species control activities, particularly early detection and rapid response (EDRR), initial treatments and subsequent retreatments, are eligible for funding in this category. Invasive species control must be included as a component of broader habitat restoration activities proposed. Applicants must demonstrate that proposed invasive control activities are necessary to ensure the success of the broader habitat restoration effort requesting funding. If the majority of project activities and budget are directed toward species control, see Funding Category 4.

Applicants proposing work in coldwater streams are encouraged to demonstrate strategic value of selected stream sites based on existing regional or organizational strategies and indicate anticipated benefit to brook trout. In addition, applicants proposing aquatic barrier removals are encouraged to use the FishWerks tool to help describe expected connectivity improvements relative to other potential barrier removal scenarios in the project watershed (see the Consultation with Sea Lamprey Control Program section below for more information pertinent to barrier removals). Applicants proposing projects to benefit lake sturgeon are encouraged to indicate how the proposed scope of work relates to and builds upon existing lake sturgeon restoration efforts in the watershed, such as a supplementation program or population-based plan. 

Funding Category 2: Restoring and Enhancing Coastal Wetland Habitat

This category will direct up to $1.6 million to projects that improve the quality and connectivity of coastal wetlands (defined as existing or historical wetlands with a current, previous or potential surface or subsurface hydrologic connection to a Great Lake or connecting channel such that wetland water levels are influenced by Great Lakes water levels). Priority will be given to projects designed to improve populations of species of conservation concern, with an emphasis on migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, marsh-nesting birds, and marsh-spawning fish. Additional preference will be given to projects located within wetlands (on non-federal lands) monitored by the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program. More information on priority wetlands can be found by clicking here. Funding will primarily support the following three strategies.

  • Restore aquatic connectivity: installation of passage structures, and removal of sediment and hard structures to improve hydrology and access by fish and other aquatic organisms
  • Improve hydrology: water control techniques to manage water levels, and restore habitat for target species
  • Improve habitat structure: Invasive species control and native plant restoration to improve hydrology and habitat complexity
    • Invasive species control: Invasive species control activities, particularly EDRR, initial treatments and subsequent retreatments, are eligible for funding in this category. Invasive species control must be included as a component of broader habitat restoration activities proposed. Applicants must demonstrate that proposed invasive control activities are necessary to ensure the success of the broader habitat restoration effort requesting funding. If the majority of project activities and budget are directed toward species control, see Funding Category 4.

All applications must include a breakdown of the acres of wetland habitat types represented within the project area (e.g. dry mudflat, wet mudflat, shallow open water etc.; please refer to additional grantee guidance document available here) and estimates for how restoration and enhancement activities will impact these habitat type acreages. As applicable, applicants are encouraged to use new coastal wetland decision support tools such as the Tool and wetland restoration assessment decision support tools for projects located in the Saginaw Bay/western Lake Erie and Green Bay geographies to help plan and demonstrate the value of proposed projects. If the proposed project includes phragmites control, applicants should demonstrate how the project will utilize the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) to inform control practices and long term operation and maintenance plans.

Funding Category 3: Expanding Green Stormwater Infrastructure in Great Lakes Communities

The green stormwater infrastructure category will direct up to $3.2 million to green infrastructure projects that slow, store and filter stormwater. Priority will be given to green infrastructure projects in shoreline cities that add more than 100,000 gallons per year of stormwater storage capacity and directly benefit Great Lakes water quality. (Applicants proposing green stormwater infrastructure work in the Chicago and Calumet or Southeast Michigan regions are encouraged to apply to the Chi-Cal Rivers Fund in the spring of 2019 or Southeast Michigan Resilience Fund in the fall of 2019.) Competitive projects will occur in close proximity or otherwise demonstrate water-quality benefits to the Great Lakes or connecting channels. Preference will be given to projects of sufficient size and scope to significantly reduce runoff into sewer systems and contaminant discharge to local waterways. Additional preference will be given to projects using native plant and tree species designed to improve habitat for native pollinators and improve habitat for migratory birds. Small, isolated projects (e.g., a single, small parking lot) without a connection to a larger green infrastructure plan or other strategic plan will not be competitive. Projects that are legally required under existing consent decrees or regulations are not eligible for funding. Funding will primarily support the following three strategies.

  • Create and enhance urban wetlands: construction/improvement of wetlands in urban areas to slow, store and filter storm water while improving habitat
  • Install green infrastructure: installation of rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, pervious surfaces, and other green infrastructure solutions to increase storm water storage and capture
  • Restore urban forests: strategic planting of diverse native tree species along riparian zones and other flood-prone areas to slow and retain storm water runoff, moderate water temperatures, improve habitat, and increase ecosystem resiliency

All applications must report anticipated outcomes in terms of gallons of storm water storage capacity added (design retention capacity) and provide a projection for the volume of stormwater runoff captured and infiltrated per year (gallons/year) due to project activities. Applicants are encouraged to use the EPA storm water calculator tool to estimate storm water to be retained by green infrastructure projects and/or i-Tree  to calculate gallons of storm water to be treated or intercepted by tree planting projects (utilize a 10- year tree age for measuring stormwater benefits in i-Tree).

Funding Category 4: Maintaining and Enhancing Benefits of Habitat Restoration through Invasive Species Control

The invasive species control category will direct up to $1.9 million to support invasive species control efforts needed to sustain or enhance the benefits of previous habitat restorations. Funding in this category will be limited to control efforts focused on terrestrial, coastal, and aquatic invasive plants. Proposed projects should be of sufficient size, scope, or unique ecological value to necessitate a strategic re-investment in invasive species control. Projects proposing invasive control on a small acreage or on multiple isolated sites that lack strategic or geographic connection will not be competitive. Preference will be given to projects that demonstrate how proposed invasive control work directly protects, reinforces or enhances the value of habitat restoration projects previously funded by the GLRI or SOGL. Funding will primarily support the following two strategies.​

  • Re-treat or manage acres to control invasive species: retreatment of acres that have received initial treatment to further control primary invasive species target(s) and management of secondary invasives appearing post-initial treatment
  • Expand existing invasive control efforts: treat or manage invasive species on new/previously untreated acres adjacent or strategically connected to existing control efforts to reduce the threat of future encroachment by invasive species and increase restored habitat quality and scope

Projects will not be competitive if they propose: 1) new or untested technologies that have not passed the proof of concept phase; 2) exclusive focus on early detection and rapid response (EDRR) activities (EDRR activities may be incorporated into projects proposed under Funding Categories 1 and 2); 3) control of invasive fish or other animals; or 4) one-off efforts to treat new acres that are not connected to previously funded habitat restorations. Projects that focus on initial invasive species control treatments only, on sites where habitat restoration has not yet occurred, or on a combination of habitat restoration and invasive control should apply via Funding Categories 1 or 2.

All applicants must include an operation and maintenance plan that details project site operation and management for at least five (5) years after project completion. The plans should describe anticipated actions needed (maintenance schedules and tasks to be completed at scheduled intervals), access to or ownership of equipment needed to maintain project sites, cost estimates, sources of funding to support long-term maintenance plan, long-term partners, parties responsible for implementation and oversight, training needs, and the applicant’s and partners’ capacity for long-term stewardship of the project site. If applicable, the plan should also describe long term invasive species management and early detection rapid response (EDRR) protocol if applicable. If the proposed project includes phragmites control, applicants should demonstrate how the project will utilize the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) to inform control practices and long term operation and maintenance plans.

All applicants will be required to provide a description of the original habitat restoration project that will benefit from the proposed invasive species control activities. This description must include information on the objectives of the original project and whether the completed project met those objectives in terms of acres restored and species or habitats benefitted. The description must also include total funds invested in the restoration (noting specifically GLRI and SOGL funds), and a description of the current status of invasive species control and project maintenance. Other useful information includes potential impacts associated with habitat threats and invasive species control efforts immediately beyond the project perimeter (e.g., invasive species buffer/seed zones that could repopulate invasives).​

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

Eligibility:

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • To be eligible for funding, projects must occur in the current or historic Great Lakes basin.

Preferences:

  • The ratio of matching contributions offered to grant funding requested is one criterion considered during the review process, and projects that meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive. 

Ineligibility:

  • Ineligible applicants include federal government agencies, unincorporated individuals, and private for-profit businesses.
  • Grant funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • Grant funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements.
    • However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.