National Wildlife Refuge System
Northeast Region
 

Cooperative Agreements

 

When planning to enter into a NEW cooperative agreement, start the process a minimum of 3 months ahead of time.  This includes, posting of funding availability on Grants.gov, review of applications from interested parties via grants.gov, processing of associated paperwork, and processing your “complete agreement package” through CGS.

For MODIFICATIONS to agreements...after printing the NEW CHECKLIST, scroll to the bottom of the page. The following steps MUST be completed before a new award is released by the Agreements Officer in the FBMS FA/Contract Management System (PRISM). 

Click Here for the NEW CHECKLIST.

Click here for FAPO Guidance for Issuing a New Financial Assistance Award.

PRE-AWARD STAGE


1. Evaluate funding tool and determine the award instrument (Items 1 and 2 on Checklist):

In accordance with 505 DM 2, Section 2.9, the program office must evaluate if the activity to be funded is an acquisition, an interagency agreement, or financial assistance award.

The principal purpose of financial assistance is to transfer funds, services, or property from the Service to an eligible, non-Federal recipient to carry out a public purpose.  This does not include goods or services obtained by the Service.  Refer to the Selection of Instrument Type Decision Diagram (Click here for the Diagram) to assist in determining the appropriate funding tool. 

Cooperative Agreement: A cooperative agreement award should only be used when substantial Federal involvement is expected.  According to 505 DM 2, Section 2.9 substantial involvement is expected when the Service: 

(A) participates and collaborates jointly with the recipient partner, volunteer, scientist, technician or other personnel, in carrying out the scope of work, training recipient personnel, or detailing Federal personnel to work on the project effort;

(B) reviews and approves one stage of work before the next stage can begin;

(C) reviews and approves proposed modifications or sub-grants, prior to award;

(D) helps select project staff or trainees;

(E) directs or redirects the work because of interrelationships with other projects;

(F) has power to immediately halt an activity if detailed performance specifications are not met; and

(G) limits recipient discretion with respect to scope of work, organizational structure, staffing, mode of operations and other management processes, coupled with close monitoring or operational involvement during performance under the award.  

The following are NOT considered substantial involvement: 

(A)  Service staff approval of recipient plans prior to award;

(B) normal exercise of Federal stewardship responsibilities during the performance period such as site visits, performance reporting, financial reporting, and review to ensure that the objectives, terms and conditions of the award are accomplished;

(C) unanticipated Service  staff involvement to correct deficiencies in project or financial performance from the terms of the award;

(D) general statutory requirements understood in advance of the award such as civil rights, environmental protection, and provisions for the handicapped;

(E) Service staff review of performance after completion of the assisted activity; and

(F) general administrative requirements, such as those included in OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-102, A-110, A-133, and applicable implementing regulations.  

For cooperative agreements, you must include a detailed description of the expected Service involvement in the project activities in both the Grants.gov funding opportunity description and the Notice of Award letter.  

2. Identify the Funding Program by Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:

The CFDA is a U.S. Government publication of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the public.  The primary purpose of the CFDA is to help the public obtain general information on Federal assistance programs.  The program office must identify the Service CFDA program under which the award is being funded.  Select the CFDA most appropriate to the funding source and/or the activity to be funded.

To view the Service’s CFDA program descriptions online, go to http://www.cfda.gov and click on the Agencies tab.  Locate Department of the Interior on the list (page 2), click on the numbered Offices link, locate Fish and Wildlife Service on the list, and click on the numbered link under the Programs column. 

For your convenience, the most commonly used CFDAs for the Service and additional information regarding the authorities related to the CFDAs have been developed for you.  ( Click here for the compiled CFDA information ).

If you cant find a specifc CFDA that applies, you may use the general Service CFDA program that most closely matches the award activities.  The general Service CFDA programs are: 

  • 15.649 for training and technical assistance projects 
  • 15.650 for research projects 
  • 15.664 for Congressionally mandated or directed (earmarked) awards
  • 15.677 Hurricane Sandy

Document the CFDA number and CFDA program title to be assigned to the award in the corresponding fields on the top of the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award. 

 
3. Justify single source award (Items 3 and 4B on the Checklist):

Make sure that all discretionary financial assistance awards that will be issued without competition (also known as single source awards) are justified according to the Department policy (505 DM 2, Section 2.14) and FWS Directive 516 FW6 (January 2014).  A single source award justification is not required for awards made under mandatory formula programs.  Refer to the CFDA website (www.cfda.gov) for a list of the Service’s mandatory formula grant programs.

Indicate under Item 3 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award if the discretionary award will or will not be issued without competition.  For discretionary awards to be issued without competition, the program office must document in writing all single source determinations regardless of award amount, and post funding opportunities for single source awards for $25,000 or more on Grants.gov. 

For each single source award, you must complete the Determination for Issuing a Singe Source Financial Assistance Award (FWS 3-2452) form and place the form in the official award file. This will be sufficient documentation if the award is under $25,000 and you can proceed with having your partner fillout the bulleted items in 4D below and proceed with the process. 

If your award is over $25, 000, you will need to provide to the Grants Specialist the Determination for Issuing a Single Source Financial Assistance Award (FWS 3-2452) form and a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) form. Once your Grants Specialist has these two forms, they will coordinate your post on Grants.gov.. The Grants Specialist will alert you of your posting and then you may proceed with having your partner fill out the bulleted items in 4D below, provide a print screen of the Grants.gov announcement, and proceed with the process.

For Hurricane Sandy specific projects, use the Sandy specific NOFA. Click here for Sandy specific single source wording.

4. Post Funding Opportunity on Grants.gov: 

NOTE:  Most refuge agreements will be utilizing Discretionary Programs and will need to post to Grants.gov, therefore B,C, and D below are applicable and your Grants Specialist will post the funding opportunity for you once you provide the needed information.

A. Mandatory Programs: Mandatory formula programs are not required to post funding opportunities on Grants.gov.    To verify if the program is a mandatory formula program, go to http://www.cfda.gov and enter the program’s CFDA number in the Find Programs search tool.  The program type will be listed in the CFDA profile under section 060: Types of Assistance.  Although not required, mandatory formula programs may still choose to post funding opportunities to Grants.gov. 
If the mandatory formula program does not choose to post a funding opportunity on Grants.gov, mark NO under Item 4A and YES under Item 4B(1) on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.

B. Discretionary Programs: 505 DM 2 provides the following justifications for not posting a funding opportunity on Grants.gov for a discretionary award/program:

  • The funding opportunity is for awards less than $25,000 for which 100 percent of eligible applicants live outside of the United States  
  • The funding opportunity is for a single source award less than $25,000    
  • The funding opportunity is for an award made under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (P.L. 93-638, 88 Stat. 2204)     
  • Because of a compelling and unusual urgency, or substantial danger to health or safety, there is not enough time to follow adequate competitive procedures.

Document any applicable exemption from posting a discretionary funding opportunity to Grants.gov under Item 4B on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award. 

Exemption (1) does not apply to discretionary awards/programs.

C. Cooperative Agreements: For cooperative agreements, the funding opportunity synopsis description field must include a description of the expected substantial Service involvement as follows:

    “Substantial involvement on the part of the USFWS is anticipated for the successful completion of the activities to be funded.  In particular, the USFWS will be responsible for the following: [insert a description of the specific activities/responsibilities to be performed by USFWS staff]”.  

D. Application Package and Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)/Application Instructions:
ALL funding opportunities must include a complete application package and a complete notice of funding availability/application instructions document.  

Field Offices will need to draft the NOFA and Application Instructions Template when updating their program-specific notice of funding availability and application instructions document. For Hurricane Sandy, use the Hurrican Sandy-specific NOFA

The NOFA and Application Instructions Template MUST request from their applicants the following documents:

  • A complete, signed and dated Application for Federal Assistance SF-424 
  • A project narrative that, at a minimum, describes the goals, objectives, activities, and anticipated products and outputs of the proposed project and provides enough detail so that reviewers can clearly connect the proposed activities with the proposed project costs
  • A complete Budget Information SF-424A Non-Construction or SF-424C Construction form.
  • If indirect costs are included in budget proposal, a copy of the organization’s current approved indirect cost rate agreement or pending proposal 
  • A signed and dated Assurances SF-424B Non-Construction or  SF-424D Construction form
  • As applicable, a signed and dated SF-LLL, Disclosure of Lobbying Activities form (required only if the applicant has lobbying activities to disclose)
  • A statement regarding applicability of and compliance with OMB Circular A-133 Single Audit Reporting
  • Depending on the program/project type, applicants may also be required to submit pre-award documentation related to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), applicable regulations stipulated in program’s authorizing legislation, or other project-dependent compliances that must be documented by the applicant.
  • Tribal consultation procedures can be found here

Once the NOFA and Application Instructions Template are uploaded to Grants.gov,  the Grants Specialist will provide to you the Funding Opportunity Information.

You will need to navigate to the Grants.gov site, search for the Funding Opportunity, and make a print screen of the: 1) Grants.gov synopsis as posted on Grants.gov;  2) the Grant Opportunity Properties screen showing the required and optional application package documents; and 3) the Manage Synopsis Attachments screen showing that application instructions were attached.  A copy of these Grants.gov prints screens must be maintained in the official award file.   ITEM 4 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.

AWARDING YOUR FUNDING


5. Review and approve proposal:
The Field Office must review and approve the proposed project scope of work, project objectives, and project costs.  Per the Office of Management and Budget’s final policy directive on financial assistance program announcements (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/omb/fedreg/062303policy_directive.pdf), discretionary programs are required to publicize their application review criteria and detail their review and selection process in the Grants.gov funding opportunity.  This may include describing how reviewers are selected and the way that conflicts of interest are avoided.   Proposal documents are routinely incorporated into awards by reference and so the proposed activities and budget must parallel the total award amount and activities approved under the award.  Your Grants Specialist will download applications once the Funding Opportunity closes and will provide to you all the applicant packages.

Following review, applicants may need to revise the proposed project period of performance, scope of work and/or budget, or may need to provide additional justification for requesting reimbursement of any pre-award costs.   The program office must verify the amount requested from the Service on both the final approved SF-424 and proposed budget are the same as the amount to be awarded.  

 
A. Indirect Costs:
If indirect costs are included in the proposed budget, the applicant must submit copy of their most recently submitted/approved indirect cost rate agreement.  A recipient without an established indirect cost rate agreement with a Federal agency may not charge indirect costs to Federal financial assistance awards (all costs must be charged directly).  Individuals applying for/receiving funding as a natural person (not affiliated with any organization i.e., unrelated to any business or nonprofit organization they may own or operate in their own name) must charge all costs directly.  Refer to the Indirect Cost Rate Agreement Requirements for Financial Assistance Recipients (Click here for a copy of the Indirect cost Rate Agreement Requirements) for details on this requirement.  Indicate under Item 6 of the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award if indirect costs are included on the final approved budget and, if so, confirm that a copy of the applicant’s most recently submitted/approved indirect cost rate agreement was received.  A copy of this document must be maintained in the official award or centralized program file.

B. Cost Principles:
Financial assistance recipients are subject to Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations (OMB Circular A-122), Cost Principles for Educational Institutions (OMB Circular A-21), Cost Principles for States and Local Governments (OMB Circular A-87) and the Federal Acquisition Regulation for cost principles to for-profit/commercial organizations (48 CFR Part 31.2), as applicable to the recipient organization type. These OMB circulars can be found online at http://www.doi.gov/pam/financialassistance/resources/index.html.   The program office should be familiar with these cost principles and incorporate them into the proposal review and selection process.

C. Federally Purchased Equipment:
Applicants cannot attribute equipment paid for by the U.S. Federal Government under another award as matching or in-kind contributions.  Applicants should provide in their proposal a separate list/accounting of any equipment paid for by the U.S. Federal Government that will be used for the project, including the name of the Federal agency that paid for the equipment.

D. Pre-award Costs:

If the program office finds that an applicant has demonstrated in their proposal that pre-award activities/costs were necessary and reasonable for accomplishing the overall project objectives and would have been approved had they occurred within the award period, the program office may approve the recipient to be reimbursed for those costs as part of the approved award.  If the pre-award costs are not well detailed in the proposal, the program office should request additional information in writing from the applicant, including the reason(s) why recipient has begun work, a description of the activities underway, the associated costs (categories and amounts) being incurred, and the date on which costs were first incurred.   Maintain a copy of any additional pre-award cost information provided by the recipient in the official award file.  Indicate if pre-award costs are approved as part of the award under Item 6 of the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.

E. Legal Review:

Refer to 505 DM 2, Section 2.8 D and E (5) for description of legal review responsibilities.  There is no dollar threshold or any other pre-defined criteria requiring a legal review of a grant or cooperative agreement.  For grants and cooperative agreements a legal review is optional, and is only necessary when the program office determines the proposed project is of such complexity/novelty or exhibits intellectual property issues or potential conflicts of interest, or other such concerns that the program feels would warrant legal review.  Indicate if a legal review was requested under Item 11 of the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  If legal review from the Office of the Solicitor was requested and a response was received, maintain a copy of the request and the response in the official award file.

F. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance: 
For all projects occurring within the United States, programs must comply with Service review responsibilities under NEPA.  The purpose of the NEPA review process is to consider detailed information concerning every significant environmental impact on the human environment, which is defined as the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people to that environment.  A NEPA review requires an evaluation of several factors before approving a project.  These factors are the project scope, the potential for significant impact on the human environment, and the level of public interest and/or controversy generated by the proposed project.   Indicate the NEPA review outcome under Item 8 of the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.   

If all of the proposed project activities will be conducted outside the United States, select YES under Item 8A on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  NEPA review is not required.  

If any of the proposed project activities will be conducted within the United States and is completely covered by a Categorical Exclusion under 516 DM 2, Appendix 1 or 516 DM 8.5 and NO Extraordinary Circumstance under 516 DM 2, Appendix 2 applies to the project, then select YES under Item 8B on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  No further NEPA documentation is required.   Please utilize this letter to document the exceptions that apply on your letterhead---> NEPA Template letter.

Additional NEPA documentation is required for any proposed project activity to be conducted within the United States and:

  • Is not completely covered by a Categorical Exclusion under 516 DM 2, Appendix 1 or 516 DM 8.5; 
  • Does not meet the criteria for any Categorical Exclusion under 516 DM 2, Appendix 1 or 516 DM 8.5; OR 
  • An Extraordinary Circumstance under 516 DM 2, Appendix 2 applies to the project.

If any of these conditions apply, an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement and related documentation is required before the award can be approved.  For Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of the Interior NEPA guidance and procedures, go to the Service's NEPA Reference Handbook (http://www.fws.gov/r9esnepa/index.html).

Indicate if any of the conditions requiring additional NEPA documentation apply to the project under Item 8C on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  Program must maintain a copy of all NEPA documentation in the official award or centralized program file.

G. Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Compliance: 
Section 7(a)(2) directs all Federal agencies to insure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry-out does not jeopardize the continued existence of an listed, proposed or candidate endangered or threatened species or a designated or proposed critical habitat. Under the implementing regulations (50 CFR 402), Federal agencies must review financial assistance proposals for all actions to be conducted within the United States and on the high seas to determine whether the actions proposed may affect Federally listed and proposed species or proposed or designated critical habitat. 

Select YES under Item 9A on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award if all of the project activities fall under any of the following categories:

  • To be conducted outside the United States and the high seas;  
  • No listed, proposed or candidate endangered or threatened species or designated or proposed critical habitat exists in the project area; or
  • Have no potential to affect species or their designated critical habitats (e.g., meeting or travel support ,education/outreach activities with no species or habitat focus, etc.).

A Section 7 ESA determination is not required.  

Select YES under Item 9B on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award if any of the project activities are to be conducted within the United States or on the high seas and listed, proposed or candidate endangered or threatened species or designated or proposed critical habitat exists in the project area and the program can determine that none of the proposed project activities  will directly, indirectly, or cumulatively impact, either positively or negatively, any listed, proposed, candidate species or designated/proposed critical habitat. Selecting YES under Item 9B means that the program has made a determination that the proposed project activities will have NO EFFECT and that documentation supporting this determination will be maintained in the official award or centralized program file.

Select YES under Item 9C on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award if any listed, proposed or candidate endangered or threatened species or designated or proposed critical habitat exists in the project area and the proposed project activities may affect the species or habitat.  Selecting YES under Item 9C means that the program has submitted to the appropriate Endangered Species field office either a finding of not likely to adversely affect (NA) for concurrence or a finding of likely to adversely affect (AA) for a formal consultation through the intra-Service consultation process, that a final determination has been made, and that all related documentation will be maintained in the official award or centralized program file.   Contact your regional Endangered Species office for additional information on the intra-Service Section 7 consultation process.

H. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Compliance: 
Any project, activity, or program funded in whole or in part by a Federal agency, including projects carried out with Federal financial assistance, is required to comply with NHPA. Under Sec. 106 of NHPA, consideration is given to potential effects on significant cultural resources (including archaeological sites and historic buildings). The Sec. 106 process includes consultation with Federally recognized Tribes, as needed.  Programs must consult with their Regional Historic Preservation Officer (RHPO) on all projects carried out with financial assistance.  The RHPO will provide guidance to the program as to which projects require additional documentation and review to ensure compliance with NHPA (Sec. 106).  The Acting RHPO for Region 5 is Eugene Marino, USFWS Archaeologist (703-358-2173,  Eugene_Marino@fws.gov). 

Select YES under Item 10 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award to indicate compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA. All related documentation (Click here for National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Evaluation Form/FWS Form 3-2445) must be maintained in the official award or centralized program file. Tribal consultation procedures can be found here.   

I. Single Audits:
Domestic recipients who spent $500K or more in Federal award funds in a fiscal year (FY) must submit A-133 Single Audit reports to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse.  For all applicants reporting that they were required to submit an A-133 Single Audit report last year, the program office must search the applicant’s reports in the Federal Audit Clearinghouse-Single Audit Database (http://harvester.census.gov/sac) and make a print screen showing the search results.  A copy of this print screen must be maintained in the official award file.  Document that the applicant provided a statement regarding their A-133 status and, if applicable, that a print screen of the query results from the Federal Audit Clearinghouse-Single Audit Database will be maintained in the official award file under Item 11 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.

When a proposal is approved for funding, all of the documentation submitted by the applicant and otherwise unique to the project must be maintained in the official award file.  If the program makes multiple awards each year/over the course of several years to the same recipient, the program may choose to centralize its official recordkeeping for documents such as Negotiated Indirect Cost Rate Agreements, A-133 Single Audit Reports, Assurances (SF-424 B/D), Lobbying Disclosures (SF-LLL), NEPA reviews, Section 7 ESA reviews, and Section 106 NHPA reviews.

7. Verify applicant eligibility:

The program office must verify applicant eligibility to receive Federal financial assistance.  

A. Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and System for Award Management (SAM):
Unless exempt, all applicants must have a valid DUNS number and have an active registration in the SAM. 
Individuals applying for funding as a natural person (not affiliated with any organization i.e., unrelated to any business or nonprofit organization they may own or operate in their own name), and foreign entities not already registered and applying for or receiving an award for less than $25,000 for activities to be performed outside the United States, are exempt from registering in DUNS and SAM.  Document any DUNS/SAM exemptions under Item 12C on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.

Refer to the NOFA and Application Instructions Template v5-11-12 for detailed DUNS and SAM registration instructions.  Recipients must renew and revalidate their SAM information every twelve months from the date of registration.   Go to the SAM Search page (https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/) and click Search Records.  Enter the applicant’s DUNS number in the first search field.  Click on View Details and print this page. A User ID and password are not needed to search for and view public CCR data through the new portal.  If the CCR registration is found to be inactive, the applicant must renew and revalidate the registration before the award can be released/funds obligated in FBMS.  If the applicant is required to register in SAM, make a print screen of the SAM search results showing that the applicant is actively registered in SAM and maintain a copy of the print screen in the official award file.  Indicate if the applicant is required to/is registered in SAM under Item 13A and, if required to register, document their SAM registration validity end date under Item 13B on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  If the applicant’s SAM registration is set to expire within the expected award period of performance, the program office must notify the recipient in writing in the Notice of Award of their responsibility to maintain an active registration throughout the entire award period of performance.   

B. Excluded Parties List:
You must verify that the recipient is not ineligible to receive Federal awards by performing  an exclusion related search.  Please click on the PDF below to see what you should be looking for during the SAM inquiry.

Excluded Party List System search on SAM -->SAM Exclusion

If the recipient is on the list, we will not be able to issue an award to that recipient.  Make a print screen of the query results from the EPLS showing that the applicant is not found in the database and maintain a copy of in the official award file.  Document that the EPLS was done and that a print screen of the query results will be maintained in the official award file under Item 14 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.


8. Establish a payment method for the expected recipient: 
A payment method must be established for the expected recipient BEFORE obligating funds for a new grant or cooperative agreement to that recipient in FBMS.  Establishing a payment method means that the expected recipient must either complete the process for enrollment in U.S. Treasury’s Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) system or, if eligible, work with the program office to obtain approval from the Department of the Interior (Department) to be waived from using ASAP. 

Completed ASAP enrollments and approved ASAP waivers are documented on the recipient’s vendor record in FBMS.  Releasing an award before payment method data is documented on the recipient’s FBMS vendor record will cause system errors and create payment delays!  

To establish a recipient’s payment method, follow all applicable steps of the Establishing a Recipient’s Payment Method before Obligating Funds for a New Grant or Cooperative Agreement Award in FBMS. Document that all applicable steps of the guidance were followed under Item 15 on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award. See the guidance below.

9. Complete a Notice of Award (NOA):
Draft the Notice of Award using the attached Notice of Award Letter TemplateItem 20 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.  Hurricane Sandy specific projects, use the Hurricane Sandy NOA. Below are instructions for using the notice:

The Notice of Award Letter Template:
Use the Notice of Award Letter Template to generate a project-specific notice of award to the recipient.   The template includes instructions and notes highlighted in yellow or in blue text on what and when to include suggested text in each section.  The template also includes suggested text highlighted in yellow.  Be sure to remove all instructions, notes, and not-applicable text when finalizing a notice of award.  Black text not highlighted in yellow should remain.

Notices of award should be unique to the recipient/project.  Not all the suggested special terms and conditions in the Notice of Award template will apply to every award.  Do not include standard or special terms/conditions if they do not apply to the particular award being issued.  Use the template notes to determine what text to remove. Click here for guidance on determining project start and end dates.  

Follow Service policies 516 FW 1, Financial Reporting for Grant and Cooperative Agreement Awards (http://www.fws.gov/policy/516fw1.html) and 516 FW 2, Performance Reporting for Grant and Cooperative Agreement Awards (http://www.fws.gov/policy/516fw2.html) when completing the reporting requirements section of the template.  If the recipient is being paid manually and is therefore submitting SF-270/SF-271 payment requests, the program has the option to waive interim financial reporting.

Notices of Financial Assistance Award letters require the signature of an authorized Service representative only.  A redelegation memo from the program's Assistant Director (Region 9) or the Regional Director (Regions 1 through 8) identifying the authorized Service representatives who can sign grant and cooperative agreement award letters must be kept on file in the program office for audit and management review purposes.  

Recipients are NOT required to sign the Notice of Financial Assistance Award letter or any other award document.  As per DOI standard award terms and conditions, the recipient's acceptance of a financial assistance award is defined as the start of work, drawing down funds, or accepting the award via electronic means.  Awards are based on the signed application documents submitted to and approved by the Service. 

10. Compile required documents and send package to your Program’s Grant Specialist: 
The following documents must be maintained in the official award or centralized program file:

  • Completed Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award with signature and date.
  • If single source award, completed Determination for Issuing a Single Source Financial Assistance Award Form.  Item 3 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Print screens of the: Grants.gov synopsis as posted on Grants.gov, the Grant Opportunity Properties screen, and the Management Synopsis Attachment screen.   Item 4 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form
  • If indirect costs are included on the proposed budget, a copy of the applicant’s most recently submitted/approved indirect cost rate agreement.   Item 6 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • If legal review from the Office of the Solicitor was requested/a response received, documentation of the request and the response.  Item 11 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • If applicable, evidence that all program-specific pre-award compliance requirements including National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), or other applicable regulations as required were met. Items 8, 9, and 10 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • If applicable, a print screen of the query results from the Federal Audit Clearinghouse-Single Audit Database.  Item 12 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • If the applicant is required to register in SAM, a print screen of the SAM search results showing the applicant’s active SAM profile.    Item 13 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Print screen(s) of Excluded Parties List query/queries showing that the applicant is not found in the database, as evidence that the applicant has not been debarred or suspended and is eligible to receive Federal funds.  Item 14 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Provide signed Program Purchase Request paperwork (Click here for the PPR) (Click here Instructions for Modification PPR) The Agreements Coordinator will notify the Administrative Officer responsible for Requisitioning to enter the information into FBMS – Please do not enter this information into FMBS until notified to do so. We will ask you to enter Purchase Requests into FBMS, just before we are going to send the package to CGS for final approval. Use UPC 411G0000 for Grant (no property) or use 411C0000 for Cooperative Agreement (no property). (Click here for Cooperative/Grant Agreement PPR Tip Sheet).  Item 16 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form. VERY IMPORTANT: On July 10, 2012 - Headquarters hosted a WebEX and informed us that all WBS's associated with Cooperative or Grant Agreements should have a WBS that begins with FG - not FX.  Please touch base with the appropriate POC to ensure that you have the necessary WBS Cost Structures to use with your cooperative or grant agreement.
  • Project officer for the agreement will need to address questions within the file – Click here for Project Officers Questionnaire.  Item 17 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form. The following is further information pertaining to the numbers found on the Questionnaire:
    • The Grants.gov announcement will be documented here. This will be either a Regional or an Agreement-specific Grants.gov announcement. Provided the Funding Opportunity Number and the date the announcement was posted.
    • Provide reasoning for selection of grantee/cooperator.
    • Provide information related to the FWS involvement related to the agreement. What will FWS do in regards to the Cooperative Agreement that demonstrates substantial Federal involvement?
    • Provide information related to justifying the need for a cooperative/grant agreement. Read Number 4 within the Questionnaire for additional guidance.
    • Provide information to document the public benefit of the project.
    • Provide information provided to you in the CFDA Handout (Click here for the CFDA Handout). Look for the CFDA number associated with your agreement and provide the authorizations that are listed based on the type of work they cover.
    • Provide information to document accurate costs are reflected. Read Number 7 within the Questionnaire for additional guidance.
  • This document (Click here for the Project Officers Designation Of Authority) designates the project officer of the agreement and spells out the responsibilities of the project officer. This is a Memorandum. In the To: field, denote the name and title of who the project officer will be for the agreement. In the From: field, denote the name and title of the project officer’s supervisor. Please be sure to obtain the necessary signatures and include this with your packet.  Item 18 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Final, signed and approved application forms and attachments (incorporating any additional pre-award application revisions or clarifications received).  Item 19 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Draft Notice of Award LetterItem 20 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form. Click here for Hurricane Sandy NOA.
  • For Hurricane Sandy construction projects or if authorized by statute; you must Print and provide with your agreement package, the Davis-Bacon Wage Determination for your appropriate County/ Counties.   Item 21 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.   (http://www.wdol.gov/). You can use this website to search for and attain your Determinations. To use this website, Please follow these steps:
    • Under Davis-Bacon Act……..
    • Click “Selecting DBA WDs”
    • Select your State
    • Select the appropriate County
    • Select the appropriate Construction Type
    • Click the Search Button and your Wage Determination will appear in a scrollable window. 
    • Select the “Printer Friendly Version” at the bottom of the wage determination box and it will display a printable version for you. Please print and include with your package.
  • If your agreement is over $100k, your cooperator must fill out this form. (Click here for a copy of the Certification Regarding Lobbying).  Item 26 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.
  • Is an acknowledgement by the project officer that the Cooperator(s) has the ability to achieve the results necessary for the project. (Click Here for a copy of the Business Evaluation/Budget Analysis Form).  Item 22 on the Checklist for a Financial Assistance Awards Form.

11. Complete the Grants Purchase Request and PRISM Award processes in FBMS:
The Agreements Coordinator will notify the Administrative Officer responsible for Requisitioning to enter the information into FBMS – Please do not enter this information into FMBS until notified to do so. We will ask you to enter Purchase Requests into FBMS, just before we are going to send the package to CGS for final approval. Use UPC 411G0000 for Grant (no property) or use 411C0000 for Cooperative Agreement (no property). (Click here for Cooperative/Grant Agreement PPR Tip Sheet).

Further Explanation on Scopes of Work and Tasks:

  • In your agreement, you must list the costs associated with each task that the cooperator is performing for you under the Description of Work. If the information is not provided on the agreement, it will be sent back for revision. 
  • The expectation is that most agreements will be one-year agreements.
  • Multi-year agreements are allowable only if you are funding each year at the time of the initial agreement, your scope of work or tasks should outline what will happen in each of the years and the costs associated for each year of the project. 

Example 1:

A.        The Recipient will:

    1. Building upon methodology employed during the refuge’s 2002 survey, resurvey refuge invasive plant species. Total cost of this task is $44,000.  Service is currently providing $22,000 to be used towards survey.
    2. Populate existing geo database with most up-to-date information on this changing, expanding subject. Total cost of this task is $10,000. Service is currently providing $5,000 to be used towards geo-database.
    3. Develop quality control quality assurance and prioritize procedures. Total cost of this task is $6,000.  Service is currently providing $3,000 to be used towards geo-database.

Funding by year:        
Year 1             Year 2             Year 3            
$10,000          $10,000           $10,000                         

 

Example 2: 

Another way, if you have a research project, in which each year may have different tasks, you can just have a section in the SOW for each year or select it in a table similar to below.

Description of Work:

  1. The Recipient will:
  • Implement Adaptive Management for Control of Phragmites australis on National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeast Region.

Phragmites australis is a tall grass that aggressively invades wetland habitats, extirpating native plants and degrading habitat value for wildlife.  National Wildlife Refuges have expended considerable time and cost in controlling this plant.  However, no method has been found to be effective in the long term; without constant vigilance, the Phragmites almost always grows back.   There is obviously much that is not understood about this plant and how to manage it in a sustainable manner.  One method for addressing uncertainties while control activities are underway is through adaptive management.  This process involves constructing a set of competing models to characterize the uncertainty that confronts management and using information available through repeated monitoring of conditions following management action to assess evidence for or against models in the set.  Eventually, models that gain credibility also gain increased influence in the decision process.  A key step in the adaptive management process is defining a set of competing, predictive models of the decision outcome, with initial measures of confidence in each model.  Software is needed to capture key elements of the models, accept monitoring information as input, and update the measures of confidence in the competing models as output.  These updated confidence metrics inform managers about the underlying nature of the managed system and provide guidance about future management decisions.


ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT DELIVERABLES AND MILESTONES

Task

Date of
completion

Percent of
Budget

Budget    

1. Develop web-based centralization method of data entry, model weight updating, and decision selection for a related refuge management (Native Prairie Adaptive Management), to serve as proof-of-concept: to be treated separate from the rest of the budget.

August 2011

 

$28,200

2. Develop provisional monitoring design and data management system, with vegetation and management data collected under a first pilot season

March 2012

20

$43,031

3. Make first adjustments of monitoring design and data management system for second pilot season of monitoring

November 2012

15

$32,273

4. Provide complete first draft of model set

February 2013

10

$21,515

5. Make final refinements of monitoring design and data management system

April 2013

10

$21,515

6. Provide complete final draft of model set; updating of model weights based on monitoring data; provision of management recommendations based on state measurements in 2014 growing season

August 2013

10

$21,515

7. Provide full adaptive decision support framework, including set of spatial predictive models, monitoring design, database and web-based data entry platform, software to evaluate decision alternatives and deliver management recommendations

 

August 2013

15

$32,273

8. Provide document of protocols for operating and updating the decision models; and final project report and manuscripts on the overall decision product

August 2013

20

$43,031

BUDGET

 

Cooperator 1

Cooperator 2

Total

Base Salary

$80,429

$89,664

 

% Effort

50%

34%

 

Year 1

$40,620

$22,871

 

Year 2

$41,416

$23,319

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salary Total

$82,037

$46,190

$128,227

 

 

 

 

Fringe (26% of salary)                  

         $21,329                      

           $12,009                

         $ 33,339

 

 

 

 

Subtotal

 

 

        $161,566

 

 

 

 

Travel                                          

        $  6,000

           $ 6,000            

        $ 12,000

 

 

 

 

Native Prairie (Proof-of-
Concept)

     

        

        $  22,560

 

 

 

 

Total

     

        

       $196,126

 

 

 

      

Indirect (25%)

                                                 

                                         

       $  49,031

 

 

 

 

TOTAL         

 

                    

        $245,158

Example 3: 

If you are working with an individual who will be doing all of the work for you and you are paying a salary, this may work better for you. The total amount currently being provided in the tasks must equal the total amount being funding in project costs below.

Description of Work:

A.        The Recipient will conduct the following work at four (4) coastal refuges in Region 5:

  • Collect soil cores from restored and natural (reference) marshes to characterize standing stocks of soil organic carbon.  Approximately 10 cores will be collected in a stratified fashion (marsh levee, marsh platform) to capture the spatial variability with each site. Total cost of this task is $xxxxx.  Service is currently providing $xxxxx to be used towards this task.
  • Soils will be analyzed at Indiana University for bulk density, soil moisture and organic carbon content. Total cost of this task is $xxxxx.  Service is currently providing $xxxxx to be used towards this task.
  • Carbon sequestration rates on restored/managed sites will be compared to natural/reference sites through the collection of one core from each site at the four (4) refuges.  Lead 210 and 137Cs (cesium) will be used to date core layers and establish sequestration rates. Total cost of this task is $xxxxx.  Service is currently providing $xxxxx to be used towards this task.

Project Costs:
Direct Costs:
Personnel
Dr. John Doe . . . . . . . . . . . .               $  2,671
Hourly Student                                    $  6,346
Fringe (Craft, 26.7%)                           $     702

Total Salaries and Benefits               $  9,719
Travel                                                  $  4,200
Laboratory Supplies                             $  1,400

Total Direct Costs                              $15,319
Indirect Costs
17.5% rate                                           $  2,681

Total Amount                                     $18,000

 

Modifications (MOD) to Cooperative Agreements

In order to process a modification to a cooperative agreement, the steps have changed slightly.  (Please follow the Agreement Checklist and provide the following). 

  • Submit the Agreement Checklist
  • Complete and submit for review a draft Modification Notice of Award Letter
  • Signed PPR (Do NOT enter into FBMS until instructed to do so)
  • Revised budget and narrarative, if adding new funds
  • SAM print Screen:
    Go to the SAM Search page (https://www.sam.gov/portal/public/SAM/) and click Search Records.  Enter the applicant’s DUNS number in the first search field.  Click on View Details and print this page  A User ID and password are not needed to search for and view public CCR data through the new portal.  If the CCR registration is found to be inactive, the applicant must renew and revalidate the registration before the award can be released/funds obligated in FBMS.  If the applicant is required to register in SAM, make a print screen of the SAM search results showing that the applicant is actively registered in SAM and maintain a copy of the print screen in the official award file.  Indicate if the applicant is required to/is registered in SAM under Item 13A and, if required to register, document their SAM registration validity end date under Item 13B on the Checklist for a New Financial Assistance Award.  If the applicant’s SAM registration is set to expire within the expected award period of performance, the program office must notify the recipient in writing in the Notice of Award of their responsibility to maintain an active registration throughout the entire award period of performance.   
  • Certification Regarding Lobbying, only needed if the modification in question takes the agreement over $100k. Not required if the Certification was included in the Notification of Funding Availability (NOFA).

**Monitoring and reporting requirements for New agreements also apply to modifications.

 

If you have any questions about this process, please contact your programs designated grants specialist.

 

Please follow the links below the other Agreement Process pages:

Click Here for ===> Main Page

Click Here for ===> Intragovernmental Agreements

Click Here for ===> Reimbursable Agreements

 

 

Last updated: April 2, 2014