The DEC is now accepting applications for the Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in-Aid program for 2020. Application materials can be found at https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/lakes-ponds/aquatic-invasives/funding under the “Application Information” section. Please note that all application materials are due by February 14th, 2020. This year, it is expected that at least $400,000 will be available through this program for projects aimed at managing or preventing the proliferation of aquatic invasive species in Vermont. In 2019, we received a total request for $2.1 million and $435,000 was awarded. As we have done so in the past, we anticipate funding a portion of all the requests, rather than choosing select projects for awards. Knowing this, please plan projects accordingly.
Each applicant is expected to fill out a single Application Cover Sheet, Project Sheet, and Budget for each specific project within the overall program. There are project sheets available for 3 distinct categories, each with a short set of questions. Those looking to start or maintain a Public Access Greeter Program should use the Greeter Program Project Sheet, while those planning to conduct aquatic vegetation management should use the Management Project Sheet. Other projects, including outreach or monitoring projects, should use the Education, Outreach, or Survey Project Sheet.
Each complete application will consist of one Application Cover Sheet, Project Sheet, and Budget although some applications are expected to contain several Project Sheets and Budgets (a Greeter Program and a Management Harvesting Project on Lake Elmore, for example). We do ask that those that have multiple projects provide one Cover Sheet, and a Project Sheet and Budget for each project category. Please be sure to indicate the value of the in-kind/match respective to each project. Each project is reviewed and evaluated in comparison to others within the same category. We also anticipate that different funding sources may target specific categories.
As we are attempting to target federal funds to cover some of the costs of the program, we will be adhering to federal guidelines for eligible in-kind/match requirements. Ineligible expenses include fundraising events and/or fundraising supplies, grant writing, expenses incurred outside of the award duration, fees associated to secure permits, office supplies, and food/beverage/event space costs. In addition, please include in-kind services occurring for the intended project but not for the administrative duties of an association. Budgets that contain ineligible expenses will be considered at a reduced Total Project Cost.
The application is to be completed electronically on fillable pdfs. We hope that everyone can take advantage of the many free pdf programs that are available to upload to computers to be able to fill out the form. For those unable to do so please contact me for a Word document. Assistance in filling out the application materials is provided in the Application Manual, and I encourage you to consult this document before filling out the application. As noted on the last page of the Manual, applications should be submitted electronically to Lindsay Carey, email@example.com, by February 14, 2020.
We also encourage potential applicants (towns, lake associations) to partner with regional groups, such as Conservation Districts and regional watershed associations, when submitting applications. To alleviate the administrative burden on some municipalities, Towns and lake associations may file their project sheets with a regional applicant that will be able to provide administrative and technical support, and can work directly with the State to meet project deliverables, invoice for funds, etc. The individual sub-projects are still evaluated independently and scored/funded as such, but the Regional Partner is responsible for invoicing and administrative paperwork. Basically, the resources spent on administration of this grant program statewide, both at the State level and the municipal level, will be substantially reduced. This will allow all of us to put more time, energy, and money into the implementation of our spread prevention and management projects. There are no drawbacks for Towns/lake associations to applying through a regional partner.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the grant program as a whole, the application materials, or potential regional partners, please do not hesitate to contact me, Kim Jensen at Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal is make the Grant-in-Aid application process as easy as possible so that we can all focus on protecting the aquatic resources of Vermont.