Section 205(j) Project Management Guidance
Eligibility for Grants
- Project must be sponsored by: municipal governments; county governments; regional planning commissions; or other government agencies.
- Projects must be working on water quality management planning and design. Funds are to be used to determine the nature, extent and causes of point and nonpoint source pollution problems and to develop plans to resolve these problems. The program provides for projects that gather and map information on nonpoint and point source water pollution, develop recommendations for increasing the involvement of environmental and civic organizations in watershed planning activities, and develop watershed management plans.
- Traditionally, local watershed projects have been funded up to $80,000, but statewide or larger scale projects may be funded.
- Projects are usually one to two years in length.
- Projects that are primarily to meet permit requirements, enforcement action or agreed orders are not eligible for funding.
The U.S.EPA and the State of Indiana have many initiatives and program goals to alleviate pollution. Projects that will help facilitate these initiatives and meet program goals will be more competitive in the review process. The following are two priorities for 205(j) funds:
- Projects Developing a Watershed Management Plan
- Watershed Management Plans must meet IDEM's checklist for "What Needs to be in a Watershed Management Plan", and must follow watershed rather than political boundaries.
- Watershed Management Plans for a 303(d) listed waterbody will be a priority for funding.
- Watershed Management Plans can incorporate any other water quality planning programs that exist in the watershed, such as Storm Water Management Plans, Wellhead Protection Plans, Total Maximum Daily Loads, Source Water Assessments, long term planning for septic or combined sewer overflows, etc. A Watershed Management Plan should be the over-arching planning document for the watershed.
- Plans to Protect and Restore Ecosystems Critical to Water Quality
- Assessing the State's ecosystems and identifying problems and measures to protect and restore these natural areas are priorities.
- Pilot projects at distinct locations in the State incorporating an ecosystem restoration approach into existing programs, or addressing ongoing or emerging issues that are impairing the States ecological health, are encouraged.
Section 205(j) funds are intended to be start-up funds, not a continuous funding source. Sponsors may seek funding for two phases of a large project; however, sponsors are generally not funded more than two times for similar efforts.
Payment of 205(j) funds is made in arrears upon receipt of an invoice and other applicable documentation. Payment can be expected 4-6 weeks after IDEM receives the Invoice.
Section 205(j) projects are normally contracted for one to two years. The sponsor's application package is used to develop a contract between IDEM and the sponsor. Grant recipients must adhere to all guidelines for spending federal funds and state contract requirements.
Approved projects are assigned to a specific Project Manager who works closely with the sponsoring group by meeting with them at least quarterly, providing technical assistance or referrals to others as needed, and reviewing all financial and reporting work submitted by the project. This oversight is concluded when the project's Final Report and final Invoice have been submitted and the contract has been closed.
Any project subcontracts need to be approved in writing by the IDEM Project Manager prior to being signed (executed). This review is to ensure that the scope of services, budget, and schedule coincide with the overall contractual agreement between IDEM and the project sponsor. IDEM does not perform a legal review of project subcontracts.
Solicitations for project subcontractors must follow and document the six affirmative steps of the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) requirements. These steps include:
- Place the MBE/WBE vendors on your solicitation list.
- Assure that MBE/WBE vendors are solicited whenever they are potential sources.
- Divide the total requirements, when economically feasible, into smaller tasks or quantities to permit maximum participation by MBE/WBEs.
- Establish delivery schedules, where the requirements of work will permit and encourage participation by MBE/WBEs.
- Use the services of the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
- Require your subcontractors to use these steps if additional subcontracts are awarded.
Additional information on minority business development can be found at the Indiana Department of Administration Minority Business Development website.
If a project will have GIS/GPS data as a product, the data must meet the standards found in the following documents. All geographic information system data developed for delivery to the State shall meet the Indiana State Agencies Arc/Info Data Collection Standards [PDF]. All global positioning system data collected by the Contractor for delivery to the State shall include the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) standard called the Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata. These guidance documents are also available through the NPS/TMDL Section.
Monitoring and Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Section 205(j) grant projects are required to include appropriate measures to gauge the effectiveness of the project. In many cases, this involves water quality, biological, and/or habitat monitoring, modeling or GIS work. When environmental data is being collected during the course of a Section 205(j) project, a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) must be developed, submitted, and approved prior to monitoring, and followed throughout the project. The QAPP should be developed in accordance with the Guidelines for Preparing Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) for Section 319 and 205(j) Projects. The QAPP is reviewed by the NPS/TMDL Section's Quality Assurance Manager to ensure that the data collected will be of known and suitable quality and quantity and that it meets U.S. EPA requirements and the project's goals.
Depending upon the type of project and the goals of the project, environmental monitoring may not be appropriate to determine the effectiveness and success of a project. Additional types of activities include: before and after pictures of restoration work; conducting surveys of stakeholder knowledge; or other types of monitoring specific to the goals of the project.