[Federal Register: July 30, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 146)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 49264-49275]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 84

RIN 1018-AF51

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This final rule establishes the requirements for participation 
in the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program authorized 
by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (Act) 
and provides guidance for the Program's administration by the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (referred to as ``Service,'' ``we,'' and ``us'' 
within this rule). It replaces interim procedures and clarifies 
guidance for preparation, submission, and evaluation of proposed 
projects and administration of funded projects.

DATES: This rule is effective July 30, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Division of Fish 
and Wildlife Management and Habitat Restoration, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Room 840, 4401 North Fairfax 
Drive, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sally Valdes-Cogliano, Division of 
Fish and Wildlife Management and Habitat Restoration, by telephone 
(703) 358-2201; fax (703) 358-2232; e-mailsally_valdescogliano@fws.gov> 
or Gary Reinitz, Division of Federal Aid, by telephone (703) 358-2159; 
fax (703) 358-1837; e-mail:gary_reinitz@fws.gov.



What Is the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program?

    The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (16 
U.S.C. 3951-3956) authorizes the Director of the Service to make 
matching grants to coastal States for acquisition, restoration, 
enhancement, management, and preservation of coastal wetlands. Grants 
are available annually on a competitive basis to coastal States. 
Funding for this Program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration Account, 
which is supported by excise taxes on fishing equipment, and motorboat 
and small engine fuels.
    The primary goal of the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 
Grant Program is the long-term conservation of coastal wetland 
ecosystems. It accomplishes this goal by helping States in their 
efforts to protect, restore, and enhance their coastal habitats. The 
Program's accomplishments are primarily on-the-ground and measured in 

Why Protect Coastal Wetlands?

    Coastal wetlands provide essential fish and wildlife habitat. 
Coastal ecosystems comprise less than 10 percent of the Nation's land 
area, but support a much higher proportion of our living resources. 
Specifically, coastal areas support a high percentage of our threatened 
and endangered species, fishery resources, migratory songbirds, and 
migrating and wintering waterfowl.
    In addition to wildlife benefits, wetlands provide substantial 
flood and storm control values and can reduce the need to construct 
expensive flood control structures. They make an important contribution 
to water quality by recharging groundwater, filtering surface runoff, 
and treating waste, and they provide natural areas important for 
recreational and aesthetic purposes. Uplands associated with wetlands 
provide food and cover to wildlife and buffer wetlands from soil 
erosion and contaminants. In the coterminous United States, more than 
half of the estimated original 221 million acres of American wetlands 
have been destroyed since European settlement. The concentration of the 
U.S. population in coastal areas is a continuing source of development 
pressure on the remaining coastal wetlands.

What Has the Program Accomplished?

    Since the Service began awarding grants in 1992, we have awarded 
about $105 million to 25 States and 1 U.S. territory to protect and/or 
restore about 130,000 acres of coastal wetland ecosystems. The 
Program's emphasis on encouraging partnerships, supporting watershed 
planning, and leveraging ongoing projects has helped stretch program 
funds. The resource benefits of this Program have included habitat 
protection and restoration for migratory birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, 
endangered and threatened species, and fish and shellfish.

Why Do We Need This Rule?

    The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is 
currently being administered using internal interim program guidance 
and the standard grant administration policies of our Federal Aid 
Program. We believe administration of the Program could be improved 
through regulations specifically tailored to meet the needs of the 
Program. Accordingly, the rule uses a plain English style, provides 
examples to illustrate concepts, and combines current guidance in one 
place. It should result in a streamlined proposal preparation, review 
and grant administration process.
    Currently, we evaluate grant requests received from the State 
agencies on an annual schedule. In the last few years, the number of 
proposals received annually by the Service National Office has ranged 
from 29 to 36. A review panel consisting of Service personnel 
representing the coastal Regions of the Service and specific program 
areas (for example, the Fisheries and Habitat Conservation, Endangered 
Species, and Refuges Programs) reviews and ranks all proposals. Based 
on the rankings of the panel, recommendations are sent to the Director 
of the Service, who makes the final determination of which projects 
will receive grants. The basic schedule and procedures will not change 
significantly with this rule.
    The criteria for selecting proposals in this final rule have been 
modified from the interim guidance. For example, a new criterion has 
been added to give credit to projects that provide benefits to 
migratory birds. Also, we have expanded the discussion of each 
criterion to clarify project scoring. The changes were based on 
comments provided by Service personnel who have reviewed National 
Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant proposals. These criteria can be 
found in the rule portion of this document.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the proposed rule that was published August 20, 2001 (66 FR 
43555), we requested that interested parties submit any comments they 
might have. We particularly sought

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comments from the affected State agencies. The comment period was from 
August 20, 2001, to October 4, 2001.
    We received comments from nine State government agencies. These 
comment letters provided suggestions and comments on a wide range of 
topics. We have considered all the comment letters received during the 
comment period and have made minor changes to improve and clarify the 
rule in response. Summaries of the major comments or issues follow.
    Issue 1: Do we need to extend the period for the development of the 
grant agreement?
    Response: We agree that a longer period for development of the 
grant agreement is appropriate. Resolving all the compliance issues 
that need to be addressed before a grant agreement is signed can be 
difficult. We are revising Sec. 84.42 so that funds allocated for a 
grant will be held until December 31 of the following year.
    Issue 2: What is the relationship between the goals of the National 
Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant program and the Long-term and 
Annual Performance Goals of the Service?
    Response: Long-term conservation of coastal wetlands is the primary 
goal of the Program. The results can be quantified in terms of acres 
enhanced, protected, and/or restored. (See Sec. 84.10 for the goal 
statement.) When States conserve their wetlands resources using this 
program we all achieve benefits to habitat and wildlife. The discussion 
of performance measures in the rule in Sec. 84.30(a)(2)(v) has been 
clarified to explain where to find the Service's Long-term and Annual 
Performance Goals and the relationship of these goals to the Grants 
    Issue 3: Should the annual grant schedule be changed?
    Response: The schedule in the rule reflects the current operating 
schedule for the Grants Program. We examined the effects of moving 
deadlines but have decided to maintain the current schedule.
    Issue 4: Is the definition of ineligible activities too 
restrictive? Do we need to distinguish between planning activities for 
stand-alone grants, and planning as a minimal part of a grant 
    Response: The focus of this Grant Program has always been on-the-
ground accomplishments--through land acquisitions, easements, 
restoration and enhancement activities--and its accomplishments are 
measured in acres. We have modified the description of ineligible 
activities in Sec. 84.20(b) to clarify that planning activities of a 
minimal nature and necessary to complete the project could be 
    Issue 5: The definition of a ``substantial proposal'' should 
include that it is consistent with State and Regional watershed plans. 
Consistency should be encouraged and rewarded in the grant scoring 
    Response: We agree that project proposals should take into account 
watershed plans. One of the ranking criteria in Sec. 84.32 is 
specifically designed to give credit to proposals that demonstrate the 
value of the proposal in connection with wider planning efforts.
    Issue 6: For the purposes of this rule, how should we define 
maritime forests?
    Response: The current definition is not intended to include all 
kinds of maritime forests that might be included from a strictly 
biological perspective. It is, instead, focused on protection of the 
maritime forests characteristic of the southeastern United States. This 
area was considered to be, when the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act was passed, extremely beneficial in 
protecting the coast and also under severe development pressure.
    Issue 7: Should regionally threatened wetland types be given the 
same priority as nationally decreasing wetland types?
    Response: The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration 
Act states that the Director of the Service should give priority to 
coastal wetlands conservation projects that are consistent with the 
National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan developed under Section 
301 of the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (16 U.S.C. 3921). This 
Conservation Plan, which was published in 1991, categorized wetland 
types into declining, stable, and increasing. Types that were declining 
nationally do need to receive priority under the National Coastal 
Wetlands Conservation Grant Program scoring system.
    We recognize that certain important wetland types can be declining 
regionally even if they are not declining nationally. For this reason, 
we included in this rule the possibility of regionally decreasing types 
receiving credit in the scoring system if the case for regionally 
declining types is well-documented (see Sec. 84.32(a)(1)(i)).
    Issue 8: How should we define long-term conservation? Should we 
handle restoration and acquisition differently?
    Response: Long-term conservation is a requirement established by 
the Act for this program. This rule requires that projects provide 
conservation for at least 20 years. In selecting this number we looked 
at the requirements of other programs. For this one criterion, 
acquisition projects may have some advantage over restoration projects, 
but this is one criterion among many and we do not want to establish 
separate ranking criteria for acquisition and restoration.

Effective Date

    This rule is effective upon publication. In accordance with 5 
U.S.C. 553(d)(3), we believe that we have good cause for making this 
rule effective upon publication to ensure that the rule is in effect 
during the next funding cycle for the National Coastal Wetlands 
Conservation Grant Program. This rule will benefit those entities 
seeking grants under this Program. This rule provides helpful 
information to grant applicants in preparing their applications and 
will help ensure that the Service applies fair and consistent standards 
in reviewing the grant applications.

What Are the Environmental Effects of This Regulation?

    This final rule is a regulation of an administrative and financial 
nature. Therefore, the action is categorically excluded under 516 DM 2, 
Appendix 1.10 from any environmental documentation pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). However, subsequent actions 
involved with acquisition, restoration, or enhancement will require 
further compliance with NEPA on a case-by-case basis.
    Compliance with NEPA and other environmental laws and Executive 
Orders such as the Endangered Species Act, Coastal Barrier Resources 
Act, Coastal Barrier Improvement Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, 
Executive Orders on Floodplains (E.O. 11988) and Wetlands (E.O. 11990), 
other applicable executive orders on historic/cultural resources, prime 
and unique farmlands, and the Clean Water Act will be satisfied before 
we approve grant agreements for any project.

Does This Rule Have Any Information Collection Requirements?

    This rule's information collection requirements include those 
necessary to fulfill applicable requirements of 43 CFR part 12, and 
these have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et. seq.). 
This section of the Code of Federal Regulations provides the uniform 
administrative requirements for grants and cooperative agreements to 
States and local governments. The required forms include a grant 
agreement form, USFWS Form 3-1552 (OMB control number 1018-0049); an 
amendment to the grant agreement form, USFWS Form 3-1591 (OMB control

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number 1018-0049); the Federal Aid Grant Application Booklet, which was 
approved by OMB on January 18, 2001, (OMB control number 1018-0109); 
the NEPA Compliance Checklist, USFWS Form 3-2185 (OMB control number 
1018-0110); and the Summary Information for Ranking National Coastal 
Wetlands Grant Program Proposals, USFWS Form 3-2179 (OMB Control Number 
1018-0111). An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with the criteria in Executive Order 12866, this rule 
is a significant regulatory action. OMB makes the final determination 
of significance under Executive Order 12866.
    This rule will not have an annual effect of $100 million or 
adversely affect an economic sector, productivity, jobs, the 
environment, or other units of government. A cost-benefit and economic 
analysis is not required. The entities affected by this final rule are 
State natural resource agencies. The primary intended effect is to 
augment State efforts to conserve their coastal wetland resources. The 
program is completely voluntary; States choose whether to submit 
proposals for matching grants. New funds available each year are 
determined as a percentage of monies received by the Sport Fish 
Restoration Fund. However, the total receipts for a given year for this 
program are limited by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and 
Restoration Act to $15 million. Receipts for the last few years have 
been in the $10 million to $13 million range. This last grant cycle 
included $13 million in new money and $1.5 million available as 
carryover from previous years.
    This rule will not create inconsistencies with other agencies' 
actions. The Service is charged with administering the National Coastal 
Wetlands Conservation Program by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act. This Program supports and augments 
State efforts to conserve their resources. States voluntarily choose to 
participate, and no other Federal agencies have responsibilities 
associated with this Grant Program. Some Federal agencies have 
participated voluntarily on specific projects as cooperators with the 
State agencies.
    This rule will not affect entitlements, user fees, loan programs, 
or the rights and obligations of their recipients. It will affect this 
specific grant program. The Service has been giving out matching grants 
to States under the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant 
Program since 1992. If we continue to operate with interim procedures 
and general Federal Aid grant administration, the same amount of grant 
assistance will be given to coastal States. The main effect that we 
expect from this rulemaking is a streamlined proposal preparation and 
review and grant administration process.
    This rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. As stated 
above, the Service has been awarding grants to States and administering 
this Program under the authority of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act since 1992. However, the purpose of this 
new rule is to improve the process.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This final rule will not have a significant economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). By law, the only eligible 
recipients of this grant program are coastal State and territory 
government agencies. Operating with interim guidance, we have given out 
grants since 1992. This rule should not result in a major change to the 
Program. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act 
specifies an annual cap of $15 million that can be allocated to this 
program. An initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required. 
Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is also not required.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This final rule will not 
have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; will not 
cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual 
industries, Federal, State or local government agencies, or geographic 
regions; and will not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.
    As stated above, the maximum amount, by law, that can be directed 
to this Grant Program is $15 million per year. This Program is directed 
exclusively at State governments. This rule might provide some 
contracting work at a local level for restoration projects, creating a 
minor positive effect on the local economy. All land purchased under 
this Program is paid at fair market value from willing sellers. The 
land involved is a relatively small amount spread over the 10 to 15 
States and territories that typically receive grants in a given year. 
All lands acquired will be put under long-term conservation protection 
by the States. Some of the grants are for restoration work on lands 
already owned by the States.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), this final rule will not significantly or uniquely affect 
small governments and will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 
million or greater in any year, i.e., it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under the Act. A Small Government Agency Plan is 
not required. As stated above, this rule pertains to a grant program 
directed at State governments. In a few cases, local governments have 
chosen to partner in a grant project proposed by the State. 
Participation in the Program is entirely voluntary. The Program income 
is limited to $15 million per year by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act.


    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this final rule does not 
have significant takings implications. A takings implication assessment 
is not required. The rule specifies that all acquisitions under this 
Program are from willing sellers. No private property will be taken 
from unwilling owners for the furtherance of this Program, and just 
compensation will be provided to willing owners.


    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the final rule does not 
have significant Federalism effects. The rule allows eligible coastal 
States to make decisions regarding the selection of properties for 
acquisition, plan restoration projects, and take protective measures.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that this rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. To the extent of our knowledge, no legal cases have ever 
been associated with this grant

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program. The rule should actually serve to reduce the possibility of 
litigation by establishing specific requirements for participation in 
the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program and guidance 
for its administration by the Service. The rule will establish a clear 
legal standard for affected conduct.

Government-to-Government Relationship with Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and part 512, chapter 2 of the 
Department of the Interior Manual, we have evaluated potential effects 
on federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that the 
effects are minimal. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and 
Restoration Act specifies the States that can participate in this Grant 
Program. The Act does not provide for grants directly to Indian tribes. 
Tribes have, in a few cases, participated as cooperators on projects.

Energy Supply, Distribution or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    On May 18, 2001, the President issues Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this rule is a 
significant action under Executive Order 12866, it is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, and use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action and no Statement of 
Energy Effects is required.

How Does the Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs Work?

    This National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is 
covered under Executive Order (Order) 12372 ``Intergovernmental Review 
of Federal Programs'' and 43 CFR Part 9 ``Intergovernmental Review of 
Department of the Interior Programs and Activities.'' Under the Order, 
States may design their own processes for reviewing and commenting on 
proposed Federal assistance under covered programs.
    Coastal States and territories that have chosen to participate in 
the Executive Order process have established Single Points of Contact 
(SPOCs). Applicants from jurisdictions that do not participate do not 
need to take any action regarding E.O. 12372. All other applicants 
should alert their SPOCs early in the application process. This step 
will insure that applicants find out about any SPOC requirements. If 
you as an applicant are required to submit materials to the SPOC, 
indicate the date of this submittal (or the date of contact if no 
submittal is required) on the Standard Form 424.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 84

    Coastal zone-wetlands, Environmental protection-natural resources, 
Fisheries, Grant administration, Grant programs-natural resources, 
Intergovernmental relations, Marine resources, Natural resources, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, and Wildlife.
    For the reasons discussed in the supplementary information, we are 
amending subchapter F of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, by adding a new part 84, to read as follows:


Subpart A--General Background
84.10   What is the purpose and scope of this rule?
84.11   How does the Service define the terms used in this rule?
84.12   What are the information collection, record keeping, and 
reporting requirements?
Subpart B--Applying for Grants
84.20  What are the grant eligibility requirements?
84.21  How do I apply for a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 
84.22  What needs to be included in grant proposals?
Subpart C--Project Selection
84.30  How are projects selected for grants?
84.31  An overview of the ranking criteria.
84.32  What are the ranking criteria?
Subpart D--Conditions on Acceptance/Use of Federal Money
84.40  What conditions must I follow to accept Federal money?
84.41  Who prepares a grant agreement? What needs to be included?
84.42  What if a grant agreement is not signed?
84.43  How do States get the grant monies?
84.44  What is the timetable for use of grant funds?
84.45  How do I amend a proposal?
84.46  What are the cost-sharing requirements?
84.47  What are allowable costs?
84.48  What are the procedures for acquiring, maintaining, and 
disposing of real property?
84.49  What if the project costs more or less than originally 
84.50  How does a State certify compliance with Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies?

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3951-3956.

Subpart A--General Background

Sec. 84.10  What is the purpose and scope of this rule?

    The regulations in this part establish the requirements for coastal 
State participation in the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant 
Program authorized by Section 305 of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act (Pub L. 101-646, title III; 16 U.S.C. 
3954). The primary goal of the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 
Grant Program is the long-term conservation of coastal wetlands 
ecosystems. It accomplishes this by helping States protect, restore, 
and enhance their coastal habitats through a competitive grants 
program. Results are measured in acres protected, restored, and 

Sec. 84.11  How does the Service define the terms used in this rule?

    Terms used have the following meaning in this part:
    Coastal barrier. A depositional geologic feature that is subject to 
wave, tidal, and wind energies; protects landward aquatic habitats from 
direct wave attack; and includes all associated aquatic habitats such 
as adjacent wetlands, marshes, estuaries, inlets, and nearshore waters. 
These can include islands; spits of land connected to a mainland at one 
end; sand bars that connect two headlands and enclose aquatic habitat; 
broad, sandy, dune beaches; or fringing mangroves. Coastal barriers are 
found on coastlines including major embayments and the Great Lakes of 
the United States and its territories.
    Coastal Barrier Resources System. A defined set of undeveloped 
coastal areas, designated by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 
(Pub. L. 97-348) and the Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990 (Pub. 
L. 101-591). Within these defined units of the System, Federal 
expenditures are restricted to discourage development of coastal 
    Coastal States. States bordering the Great Lakes (Illinois, 
Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and 
Wisconsin); States bordering the Atlantic, Gulf (except Louisiana), and 
Pacific coasts (Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, 
Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, 
New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode 
Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington); and American 
Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto

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Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (Louisiana is not included because it has 
its own wetlands conservation program authorized by the Coastal 
Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act and implemented by 
the Corps of Engineers with assistance from the State of Louisiana, the 
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of the Interior, 
Agriculture, and Commerce.)
    Coastal wetland ecosystems. Ecosystems that consist of multiple, 
interrelated coastal land features. They include wetlands in drainage 
basins of estuaries or coastal waters that contain saline, brackish, 
and nearshore waters; coastlines and adjacent lands; adjacent 
freshwater and intermediate wetlands that interact as an ecological 
unit; and river mouths and those portions of major river systems 
affected by tidal influence--all of which interact as an integrated 
ecological unit. Shorelands, dunes, nearshore islands, barrier islands 
and associated headlands, and freshwater wetlands within estuarine 
drainages are included in the definition since these interrelated 
features are critical to coastal fish, wildlife, and their habitats.
    The definition of a coastal wetland ecosystem also applies to the 
Great Lakes and their watersheds, where freshwater plays a similar 
hydrologic role. The Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystem is made up 
of multiple interrelated coastal landscape features along the Great 
Lakes. The Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystem includes wetlands 
located adjacent to any of the Great Lakes including Lake St. Clair and 
connecting waters, and mouths of river or stream systems draining 
directly into the Great Lakes. Shorelands, dunes, offshore islands, and 
barrier islands and associated headlands are included in the definition 
since these interrelated features are critical to Great Lakes fish, 
wildlife, and their habitats.
    Coastal Wetlands Act or Act. The Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 3951-3956).
    Eligible applicant. Any agency or agencies of a coastal State 
designated by the Governor. It is usually a State natural resource or 
fish and wildlife agency.
    Enhancement. The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or 
biological characteristics of a wetland (undisturbed or degraded) site 
to heighten, intensify, or improve specific function(s) or to change 
the growth stage or composition of the vegetation present.
    Fund. A fund established and used by a coastal State for acquiring 
coastal wetlands, other natural areas, or open spaces. The fund can be 
a trust fund from which the principal is not spent, or a fund derived 
from a dedicated recurring source of monies including, but not limited 
to, real estate transfer fees or taxes, cigarette taxes, tax checkoffs, 
or motor vehicle license plate fees.
    Grant. An award of financial assistance by the Federal Government 
to an eligible applicant.
    Long-term conservation. Protecting and restoring terrestrial and 
aquatic environments for at least 20 years. This includes the 
hydrology, water quality, and fish and wildlife that depend on these 
    Maintenance. (These activities are ineligible under the program; 
the definition is included to distinguish these activities from 
acquisition, restoration, enhancement, and management.) Maintenance 
includes those activities necessary for upkeep of a facility or 
habitat. These activities include routine, recurring custodial 
maintenance such as housekeeping and minor repairs as well as the 
supplies, materials, and tools necessary to carry out the work. Also 
included is nonroutine cyclical maintenance to keep facilities or 
habitat improvements fully functional. Cyclical maintenance is major 
maintenance or renovation activities conducted at intervals normally 
greater than 1 year.
    Management. (Includes habitat management only.) Habitat management 
includes vegetation manipulation and restoration of habitat to support 
fish and wildlife populations. Creation of wetlands where they did not 
previously exist is not included in the definition of management.
    Maritime forest. Maritime forests are defined, for the purposes of 
this regulation, as broad-leaved forests that occur on barrier islands 
and along the mainland coast from Delaware to Texas. Examples are 
primarily characterized by a closed canopy of various combinations of 
live oak (Quercus virginiana), upland laurel oak (Quercus 
hemisphaerica), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), southern magnolia 
(Magnolia grandiflora), sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), and cabbage palm 
(Sabal palmetto). Shrubs and smaller trees typical of the understory 
include live oak, upland laurel oak, pignut hickory, red mulberry 
(Morus rubra), wild olive (Osmanthus americanus), American holly (Ilex 
opaca), yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), 
bumelia (Sideraxylon spp.), and small-flowered pawpaw (Asimina 
parviflora). The herb layer is generally rich and diverse, typically 
including partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), coralbean (Erythrina 
herbacea), small-leaved milk pea (Galactia microphylla), tick trefoils 
(Desmodium spp.), and spikegrass (Chasmanthium sessiliflorum). Vines 
are represented by muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia), Virginia 
creeper (Parrhenocissus quinquefolia), and various briers (Smilax 
    This natural community type becomes established on old coastal 
dunes that have been stabilized long enough to sustain forests. In 
time, the accumulation of humus contributes to moisture retention of 
soils, while the canopy minimizes temperature fluctuations by reducing 
soil warming during the day and heat loss at night. Because of the 
underlying deep sands, maritime forests are generally well-drained.
    Maritime forests have become prime resort and residential property 
because of their relatively protected locations along the coast. 
Although this community type originally occurred in virtually 
continuous strips along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, residential 
developments and infrastructure encroachments have severely fragmented 
most occurrences.
    National Wetlands Inventory. A Service program that produces 
information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's 
wetlands and deepwater habitat. The program's strongest mandates come 
from the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986 (16 U.S.C. 3901), 
which directs the Service to map wetlands, conduct wetlands status and 
trends studies, and disseminate the information produced.
    National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan. A plan developed by 
the Service for the U.S. Department of the Interior at the direction of 
Congress through the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986 (16 
U.S.C. 3901). The plan provides the criteria and guidance for 
identifying wetlands that warrant attention for Federal and State 
acquisition using Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriations.
    Operations. (These activities are ineligible under the program; the 
definition is included to distinguish these activities from 
acquisition, restoration, enhancement, and management.) Operations 
include activities necessary for the functioning of a facility or 
habitat to produce desired results. These include public use management 
and facility management.
    Program. The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. 
A program administered by the Service

[[Page 49269]]

that awards Federal grants through a competitive process to State 
agencies for projects to acquire, restore, manage, or enhance coastal 
    Project. One or more related activities necessary to fulfill a 
stated objective to provide for the long-term conservation of coastal 
wetlands including the lands and waters, hydrology, water quality, and 
wetland-dependent wildlife. These activities can include acquisition, 
restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands.
    Restoration. The manipulation of the physical, chemical, or 
biological characteristics of a site with the goal of returning 
natural/historic functions to a former or degraded wetland.

Sec. 84.12  What are the information collection, record keeping, and 
reporting requirements?

    (a) Information collection requirements include:
    (1) An Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424);
    (2) A proposal, following the guidance of OMB Circular A-102 and 
the Federal Aid Grant Application Booklet (OMB Control Number 1018-
0109), that includes statements of need and objective(s); a description 
of expected results or benefits; the approach to be used, such as 
procedures, schedules, key personnel and cooperators, location of the 
proposed action, and estimated costs to accomplish the objective(s); 
identification of any other actions that may relate to the grant; and a 
description of public involvement and interagency coordination;
    (3) Discussion of ranking criteria, including a completed summary 
information form (USFWS Form 3-2179);
    (4) Assurances of compliance with all applicable Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies (SF 424B or SF 424D); and
    (5) Documents, as appropriate, supporting the proposal; for 
example, environmental assessments (including the NEPA compliance 
checklist, USFWS Form 3-2185) and evaluations of effects on threatened 
and endangered species.
    (6) A grant agreement form if the proposal is selected for an award 
(USFWS Form 3-1552); and
    (7) A grant amendment form if the agreement is modified (USFWS Form 
    (b) Record-keeping requirements include the tracking of costs and 
accomplishments related to the grant as required by 43 CFR 12.60, 
monitoring and reporting program performance (43 CFR 12.80), and 
financial reporting (43 CFR 12.81). The project report should include 
information about the acres conserved, with a breakdown by conservation 
method (for example, acquired, restored, or both) and type of habitat 
(list habitat types and include the acreage of each). Are the results 
of the project being monitored? Is there evidence that the resources 
targeted in the proposal (for example, anadromous fish, threatened and 
endangered species, and migratory birds) have benefited?
    (c) Reporting requirements include retention and access 
requirements as specified in 43 CFR 12.82 and authorized by OMB through 
the Federal Aid Grant Application Booklet (OMB Control Number 1018-

Subpart B--Applying for Grants

Sec. 84.20  What are the grant eligibility requirements?

    (a) Eligible grant activities include:
    (1) Acquisition of a real property interest in coastal lands or 
waters from willing sellers or partners (coastal wetlands ecosystems), 
providing that the terms and conditions will ensure the real property 
will be administered for long-term conservation.
    (2) The restoration, enhancement, or management of coastal wetlands 
ecosystems, providing restoration, enhancement, or management will be 
administered for long-term conservation.
    (b) Ineligible activities include but are not limited to:
    (1) Projects that primarily benefit navigation, irrigation, flood 
control, or mariculture;
    (2) Acquisition, restoration, enhancement, or management of lands 
to mitigate recent or pending habitat losses resulting from the actions 
of agencies, organizations, companies, or individuals;
    (3) Creation of wetlands by humans where wetlands did not 
previously exist;
    (4) Enforcement of fish and wildlife laws and regulations, except 
when necessary for the accomplishment of approved project purposes;
    (5) Research;
    (6) Planning as a primary project focus (planning is allowable as a 
minimal component of project plan development);
    (7) Operations and maintenance;
    (8) Acquiring and/or restoring upper portions of watersheds where 
benefits to the coastal wetlands ecosystem are not significant and 
direct; and
    (9) Projects providing less than 20 years of conservation benefits.

Sec. 84.21  How Do I Apply for a National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 

    (a) Eligible applicants should submit their proposals to the 
appropriate Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
Proposals must be complete upon submission, and must include the 
information outlined in Sec. 84.22 to be complete.
    (1) Service Regional Federal Aid Offices' responsibilities for 
administration of this grant program include: Notifying the States of 
the program, its requirements, and any changes that occur; determining 
the State agencies designated by the Governor as eligible applicants; 
ensuring that only eligible applicants apply for grants; coordinating 
with various Service programs to ensure that sound and consistent 
guidance is communicated to the States; determining proposal 
eligibility and substantiality; and determining 75 percent match 
eligibility and notifying the States of approved and disapproved 
    (2) Service Divisions of Ecological Services in the regions and 
field and Fisheries and Habitat Conservation in the national office 
provide technical assistance and work with Federal Aid to encourage 
State participation in this process.
    (3) Send your proposals to the appropriate Regional Offices, as 

   Coastal states by service regions       Regional contact information
American Samoa, California,              Regional Director (Attention:
 Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana     Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
 Islands, Guam, Hawaii, Oregon, and       Wildlife Service, Eastside
 Washington (Region 1).                   Federal Complex, 911 NE 11th
                                          Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-
                                          4181, (503) 231-6128.
Texas (Region 2).......................  Regional Director (Attention:
                                          Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
                                          Wildlife Service, P.O. Box
                                          1306, 500 Gold Avenue, SW,
                                          Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103,
                                          (505) 248-7450.
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota,  Regional Director (Attention:
 Ohio, and Wisconsin (Region 3).          Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
                                          Wildlife Service, Bishop Henry
                                          Whipple Federal Building, 1
                                          Federal Drive, Fort Snelling,
                                          Minnesota 55111-4056, (612)

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Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi,  Regional Director (Attention:
 North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South       Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
 Carolina, and the Virgin Islands.        Wildlife Service, 1875 Century
 Louisiana is not eligible to             Boulevard, Suite 324, Atlanta,
 participate under Section 305 of 16      Georgia 30345, (404) 679-4159.
 U.S.C. 3954, because Louisiana has its
 own separate program. (Region 4).
Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland,  Regional Director (Attention:
 Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New        Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
 Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode    Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate
 Island, and Virginia (Region 5).         Center Drive, Hadley,
                                          Massachusetts 01035-9589,
                                          (413) 253-8508.
Alaska (Region 7)......................  Regional Director (Attention:
                                          Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
                                          Wildlife Service, 1011 East
                                          Tudor Road, Anchorage, Alaska
                                          99503, (907) 786-3435.

    (b) The Program operates on an annual cycle. Regional Federal Aid 
Offices request proposals from the States in early April. Proposals 
must be received by the Regional Director on or before a due date set 
in early June in order to be considered for funding in the following 
fiscal year. Check with your Regional Office each year for the exact 
due dates. Regions review proposals for eligibility and substantiality. 
Regions may rank eligible and substantial proposals and submit them to 
the national office of the Service in Washington, DC, by a date set in 
late June. A Review Panel coordinated by the Service's National Office 
of Fisheries and Habitat Conservation reviews and ranks proposals in 
early August using the criteria established in this rule. The Director 
selects the proposals and announces the grant recipients at the 
beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1).
    (c) More than one agency in a State may submit proposals to the 
Service if the Governor determines that more than one agency has 
responsibility for coastal wetlands.
    (d) A project proposal that includes several separate and distinct 
phases may be submitted in phases, but any succeeding phases must 
compete against other proposals in the year submitted. Obtaining money 
for one phase of a project will not be contingent upon acquiring money 
for another phase of that same project.
    (e) The Federal (Program) share will not exceed $1 million per 
    (f) The percentage of non-Federal match (cash or in-kind) must not 
be less than 25 percent of the total costs if the State has a 
designated fund or not less than 50 percent without a fund.

Sec. 84.22  What needs to be included in grant proposals?

    Proposals must include the following:
    (a) Application for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424);
    (b) A Statement of Assurances of compliance with applicable Federal 
laws, regulations, and policies (either Standard Form 424B or 424D); 
    (c) A project statement that identifies and describes:
    (1) The need within the purposes of the Act;
    (2) Discrete, quantifiable, and verifiable objective(s) to be 
accomplished during a specified time period;
    (3) Expected results or benefits, in terms of coastal lands and 
waters, the hydrology, water quality, or fish and wildlife dependent on 
the wetlands;
    (4) The approach to be used in meeting the objectives, including 
specific procedures, schedules, key personnel, and cooperators;
    (5) A project location, including two maps: A map of the State 
showing the general location of the proposal, and a map of the project 
    (6) Estimated costs to attain the objective(s) (the various 
activities or components of each project should be broken down by cost 
and by cooperator);
    (7) If the request is more than $100,000 (Federal share), the 
applicant must submit a Form DI-2010, certifying that the grant money 
will not be used for lobbying activities;
    (8) A concise statement, with documentation, of how the proposal 
addresses each of the 13 numeric criteria including a summary using FWS 
Form No. 3-2179 (see Sec. 84.32);
    (9) A description of the State trust fund that supports a request 
for a 75 percent Federal share in sufficient detail for the Service to 
make an eligibility determination, or a statement that eligibility has 
been previously approved and no change has occurred in the fund;
    (10) A list of other current coastal acquisition, restoration, 
enhancement, and management actions; agency(ies) involved; relationship 
to the proposed grant; and how the proposal fits into comprehensive 
natural resource plans for the area, if any; and
    (11) Public involvement or interagency coordination on coastal 
wetlands conservation projects that has occurred or is planned that 
relates to this proposal (Specify the organizations or agencies 
involved and dates of involvement.).

Subpart C--Project Selection

Sec. 84.30  How are projects selected for grants?

    Project selection is a three-step process: proposal acceptance, 
proposal ranking, and proposal selection.
    (a) Proposal acceptance. (1) The Regional Federal Aid Offices 
decide whether a proposal should be accepted for consideration by 
determining if the proposal is complete, substantial, and contains 
activities that are eligible. Proposals that do not qualify are 
immediately returned to the State. Revision and resubmission of 
returned proposals is allowable during this period, which is in June 
(check with your Regional Office for the exact dates each year). If any 
of the factors of completeness, substantiality, or eligibility are not 
met, the Regions should not forward the proposal to the Washington 
    (2) To be considered for acceptance, the proposal must be 
substantial in character and design. A substantial proposal is one 
    (i) Identifies and describes a need within the purposes of the Act;
    (ii) Identifies the objective to be accomplished based on the 
stated need;
    (iii) Uses accepted principles, sound design, and appropriate 
    (iv) Provides public conservation benefits that are cost effective 
and long-term, i.e., at least 20 years; and
    (v) Identifies obtainable, quantified performance measures (acres 
enhanced, restored, or protected) that help achieve the management 
goals and objectives of the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 
Grant Program. Through this program, the States' efforts and leadership 
will help the Service meet its Long-Term and Annual Performance Goals 
as expressed in the Service's Annual Performance Plan.\1\

    \1\ The Service's Annual Performance Plan can be found on the 
Service's homepage at http://www//.fws.gov/r9gpra. For more 
information you might also contact the Budget Office at 202-208-4596 
or the Planning and Evaluation Staff at 202-208-2549.

    (3) The grant limit is $1 million. Proposals requesting Program 

[[Page 49271]]

that exceed $1 million will be returned to the appropriate State. 
Similarly, individual projects that have clearly been divided into 
multiple proposals for submission in one grant cycle to avoid this 
limit will be returned to the appropriate State. The State can revise 
and resubmit the proposal so that the request does not exceed the $1 
million limit.
    (b) Proposal ranking. Once a proposal is accepted by the Region, 
the Regional Federal Aid Office sends the proposal to the National 
Federal Aid Office, which works with the National Office of the Fish 
and Wildlife Management and Habitat Restoration Program for 
distribution to a Review Panel. The Review Panel includes 
representation from our coastal Regions and from other Service 
Programs, for example, the Endangered Species Program. The Fisheries 
and Habitat Conservation Program is responsible for coordinating the 
review and ranking of proposals according to the established criteria, 
a process that usually involves a national meeting.
    (c) Proposal selection. The Review Panel's recommendations are 
forwarded to the Director of the Service for a final review and project 
selection. The Director announces the selection by October 1.

Sec. 84.31  An overview of the ranking criteria.

    (a) The primary objective of the proposal will be to acquire, 
restore, enhance, or manage coastal wetlands to benefit coastal 
wetlands and the hydrology, water quality, and fish and wildlife 
dependent upon them. The Program will not provide grants, for example, 
for construction or repair of boat ramps or docks for recreational 
purposes and construction or support of research facilities or 
activities. The purpose of the ranking criteria is to provide a means 
for selecting the best projects--those that produce the maximum 
benefits to coastal wetlands and the fish and wildlife that depend on 
    (b) Proposal ranking factors. (1) Ranking criteria. As explained in 
Sec. 84.32, we will evaluate proposals according to 13 ranking 
criteria. These criteria have varying point values. Proposals must 
address each of these 13 criteria.
    (2) Additional considerations. Even though the criteria provide the 
primary evaluation of proposals, we may factor additional 
considerations into the ranking decision at the national level. In case 
of a tie, we will use these additional considerations to rank proposals 
having identical scores.
    (c) The criteria in Sec. 84.32 are not listed in priority order.
    (d) Points are assigned on the basis of a completed project, rather 
than current conditions, e.g., count 50 acres of estuarine emergent 
wetlands if 50 acres of that habitat type will be restored when the 
project is completed.
    (e) A range of points rather than a set point value allows the 
reviewer to distinguish between, for example, a proposal that provides 
some foraging habitat for a threatened species versus one that provides 
critical nesting habitat of several endangered species. Scoring 
guidance is included with the individual criteria.
    (f) A total of 64 points is possible under the scoring system.
    (g) If a grant proposal is not selected, the State may resubmit it 
for reconsideration in subsequent fiscal years. Resubmission of a grant 
proposal is the responsibility of the applicant.

Sec. 84.32  What are the ranking criteria?

    (a) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will rank proposals using 
the 13 criteria listed below. In the following list, a description of 
each criterion is followed by examples and the points they would 
receive for that criterion.
    (1) Wetlands conservation. Will the project reverse coastal wetland 
loss or habitat degradation in decreasing or stable coastal wetland 
types? Will it conserve wetlands to prevent losses of decreasing or 
stable wetland types? (Maximum: 7 points)
    (i) The majority of the project area (over 50 percent) is 
nationally decreasing coastal wetland types,\2\ or the majority is 
regionally decreasing wetlands types in which the case for regionally 
decreasing is well-documented (Up to 7 points). The nationally 
decreasing types are estuarine intertidal emergent; estuarine 
intertidal forested; estuarine intertidal scrub-shrub; marine 
intertidal; palustrine emergent; palustrine forested; and palustrine 
scrub-shrub. Describe the wetlands using terms listed above. Include a 
breakdown showing the percentage of the proposal's total and wetland 
acreage in decreasing types. Provide National Wetlands Inventory codes/
information if available. Information about these can be found on the 
National Wetland Inventory's web site at http://wetlands.fws.gov.

    \2\ These designations are based on the National Wetlands 
Priority Conservation Plan. For more information about the plan, or 
to receive a copy of the document, refer to the contact information 
provided in Sec. 84.21.

    (ii) The majority of the project area (over 50 percent) is 
nationally stable coastal wetlands types \2\ (Up to 5 points). The 
nationally stable types are estuarine intertidal non-vegetated and 
estuarine subtidal. Describe the wetlands using the terms listed above. 
Include a breakdown showing the percentage of the proposal's total and 
wetland acreage in stable types. Provide National Wetlands Inventory 
codes/information if available.
    (iii) Wetlands benefited are less than 50 percent of the project 
area. (Up to 3 points)
    (iv) If the project would benefit wetlands in the upper portion of 
the coastal watershed, but does not demonstrate significant and direct 
benefits to coastal wetlands, the proposal will not receive any points. 
(0 points)
    (v) We will award a full 7 points to proposals that document that 
over 50 percent of their project area would be, upon project 
completion, decreasing coastal wetland types. A combination of 
decreasing and stable types that is over 50 percent of the project area 
could receive an intermediate score of 4, 5, or 6 points, depending on 
the balance between decreasing and stable types. If wetlands are 50 
percent or less of the project area, use the following guide for 
allocating points: 25 to 50 percent of the project area is decreasing 
or stable wetlands, 2, 3, or 4 points; 5 to 24 percent, 1 or 2 points; 
and less than 5 percent, 0 points.
    (2) Maritime forests on coastal barriers. Will the proposal 
significantly benefit maritime forests on coastal barriers? The coastal 
barrier does not need to be a unit of the Coastal Barrier Resources 
System. (Maximum: 7 points)
    (i) The proposal documents significant benefit to maritime forests 
on a coastal barrier. Describe the forest in sufficient detail so 
reviewers can determine whether it meets the definition of ``maritime 
forest.'' (Up to 7 points)
    (ii) The proposal does not benefit maritime forests on a coastal 
barrier. (0 points)
    (iii) For this criterion most scores should be either 0 or 7. If 
questions arise about the significance of the benefit or whether the 
forests meet the strict definition, an intermediate score could be 
    (3) Long-term conservation. Does the project ensure long-term 
conservation of coastal wetland functions? The project must provide at 
least 20 years of conservation benefits to be eligible. (Maximum: 7 
    (i) Once the project is complete, the project will provide 
continuing coastal wetlands benefits in perpetuity (100 years or 
longer). (7 points)

[[Page 49272]]

    (ii) Once the project is complete, the project will provide 
continuing coastal wetland benefits for 50-99 years. (3 to 6 points)
    (iii) Once the project is complete, the proposal will provide 
continuing coastal wetlands benefits for 20-49 years. (1 to 3 points)
    (iv) The proposal should show how the project will be maintained 
and the benefits sustained over time. Proposals must include adequate 
documentation of long-term conservation of coastal wetland values, such 
as a 25-year easement, to receive points for this criterion. If part of 
the project's benefits will be perpetual (owned in fee title, for 
example) and part is estimated to last 20 years, reviewers should weigh 
the different elements of the project and give an intermediate score.
    (4) Coastal watershed management. Would the completed project help 
accomplish the natural resource goals and objectives of one or more 
formal, ongoing coastal ecosystem or coastal watershed management 
plan(s) or effort(s)? Describe the management plan or effort(s). 
(Maximum: 3 points)
    (i) The project supports the natural resource goals of identified 
formal, ongoing coastal ecosystem or coastal watershed management plans 
or efforts. Describe the management plan(s) and/or effort(s) and 
explain how this project relates to its objectives. A plan that very 
specifically identifies the site will receive more points than a plan 
containing many generic references. (Up to 3 points)
    (ii) The project does not support the natural resource goals and 
objectives of a formal, ongoing coastal ecosystem or coastal watershed 
management effort. If the proposal benefits the upper portions of 
coastal watersheds, but provides no significant and direct benefits to 
the coastal wetlands ecosystems, the proposal will not receive points. 
(0 points)
    (5) Conservation of threatened and endangered species. Will the 
project benefit any federally listed endangered or threatened species, 
species proposed for Federal listing, recently delisted species, or 
designated or proposed critical habitat in coastal wetlands? Will it 
benefit State-listed threatened and endangered species? (Maximum: 5 
    (i) The project will provide, restore, or enhance important habitat 
(e.g., nesting, breeding, feeding, nursery areas) for federally listed 
or proposed endangered or threatened species that use the coastal area 
project site for at least part of their life cycle. The project will 
benefit recently delisted species and habitat conservation plans 
developed under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act. List the 
species and their status (e.g., threatened or endangered) and provide 
documentation (e.g., cite recovery plan, attach letter from species 
expert) of current or recent species occurrence in the coastal area 
project site. Describe the importance of the habitat. (Up to 5 points)
    (ii) The project will provide, restore, or enhance important 
habitat for State-listed threatened and endangered species. (Up to 2 
    (iii) The project will not provide, restore, or enhance important 
habitat for federally or State-listed or proposed endangered or 
threatened species in the coastal area project site for any part of 
their life cycle. If the proposal provides benefits to threatened and 
endangered species in the upper portion of the coastal watershed, but 
provides no significant and direct benefits to threatened and 
endangered species using coastal wetlands ecosystem habitat, the 
proposal will not receive any points. (0 points)
    (iv) The combined scores of subparagraphs (a)(5)(i) and (a)(5)(ii) 
of this section cannot exceed the 5-point maximum.
    (6) Benefits to fish. Will the project provide, restore, or enhance 
important fisheries habitat? (Maximum: 5 points)
    (i) The project will provide, restore, or enhance important habitat 
(i.e., spawning, nursery, juvenile, or foraging habitat) for specific 
species that use the coastal area project site for at least part of 
their life cycle. These species may include anadromous, 
interjurisdictional, or other important species. List species, habitat 
types, and benefits to each species. (Up to 5 points)
    (ii) The project does not document current or future benefits to 
fish species and their habitat. (0 points)
    (iii) The more specific the information is on the use of the area 
and the importance of the habitat, the greater the points. An area 
specifically identified as critical for conservation in a fisheries 
management plan will, for example, receive more points than one which 
is not.
    (7) Benefits to coastal-dependent or migratory birds. Will the 
project provide, restore, or enhance important habitat for coastal-
dependent or migratory birds?
    (i) The project will provide, restore, or enhance important habitat 
(i.e., breeding, staging, foraging, wintering/summering habitat) 
benefits for at least part of the life cycle of coastal dependent or 
migratory birds. List the species and habitat types, and describe the 
benefits to each. (Up to 5 points)
    (ii) The project will not significantly benefit coastal-dependent 
or migratory birds. (0 points)
    (iii) We will give maximum points to projects that benefit coastal-
dependent species identified in the North American Waterfowl Plan or 
listed as species of management concern.\3\ Proposals should also 
include information that demonstrates how the project will contribute 
to the regional goals developed under the U.S. Shorebird Conservation 
Plan, the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, Partners in 
Flight, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, or other bird 
conservation initiatives. Proposals that fail to do so will not receive 
maximum points. Indicate if the proposed area has been specifically 
identified by any program or agency for its migratory bird values.

    \3\ For more information about species of management concern, 
visit the website migratorybirds.fws.gov or contact the Division of 
Migratory Bird Management at 703-358-1714.

    (8) Prevent or reduce contamination. Will the project prevent or 
reduce input of contaminants to the coastal wetlands and associated 
coastal waters, or restore coastal wetlands and other associated 
coastal waters that are already contaminated? (Maximum: 5 points)
    (i) The project will prevent significant inputs of contaminants or 
will provide significant improvements to the quality of the coastal 
wetland and associated waters through protection from contaminants or 
restoration, including assimilation of nutrients and nonpersistent 
toxic substances. Describe the types and sources of possible or current 
impairment to the coastal wetland and other associated coastal waters 
(e.g., to water quality, sediments, flora, or fauna). Describe how 
contaminant inputs or residues will be prevented, reduced, or 
eliminated. Preventing contaminants by precluding residential 
development through acquisition will not normally warrant full points 
unless the applicant can be shown that significant contamination would 
have occurred otherwise. (Up to 5 points)
    (ii) The proposal will not significantly prevent impairment or 
improve the quality of the coastal wetland and associated coastal 
waters. If the proposal provides positive water quality benefits in the 
upper portions of watersheds, but provides no significant and direct 
positive water quality benefits to coastal wetland ecosystems, the 
proposal will not receive points. (0 points)
    (iii) Show direct links between contamination and wildlife and 
aquatic habitats. To receive full points, you

[[Page 49273]]

should provide documentation of the linkage. Reviewers may consider the 
extent of contaminants prevention/reduction when assigning points. 
Proposals having the potential to produce an attractive nuisance (e.g., 
acquiring and/or restoring a wetland that will be attractive to 
wildlife and that also has the potential to accumulate high levels of 
persistent toxic metals or hydrocarbon compounds) will not receive 
    (9) Catalyst for future conservation. Is the project proposal 
designed to leverage other ongoing coastal wetlands protection projects 
in the area, such as acquisition of areas to add to already acquired 
coastal lands, or provide impetus for additional restoration? (Maximum: 
4 points)
    (i) The project will be essential (e.g., key to completion or 
implementation of a greater conservation plan) to further advance or 
promote other coastal projects under way. Explain why. (Up to 4 points)
    (ii) The project proposal does not demonstrate a positive impact on 
other coastal projects. (0 points)
    (iii) To receive the maximum number of points, the proposal should 
be essential to the initiation or completion of a larger project. 
Examples may include acquisition of key in-holdings within a larger 
protected area, funds necessary to acquire fee simple interest in 
properties where a conservation easement has already been secured, and 
funds necessary to complete restoration activities to a protected area.
    (10) Partners in conservation. Will the proposal receive financial 
support, including in-kind match, from private, local, or other Federal 
interests? (Maximum: 4 points)
    (i) The proposal includes the State applicant plus one or more non-
State financial partners. (Up to 4 points)
    (ii) The proposal includes only financial support from the State 
applicant. (0 points)
    (iii) A written description of commitment of funds or in-kind match 
from the partners must accompany the proposal. (This requirement is in 
addition to signing the Assurances Form.) The purpose of this criterion 
is to promote partnerships with private, local, or other Federal 
agencies rather than to increase the dollar amount of the matching 
share. Therefore, no specific minimum amount is indicated here. At 
least two partners, in addition to the State applicant, should have 
committed money to the project to receive maximum points.
    (11) Federal share reduced. Does the proposal significantly reduce 
the Federal share by providing more than the required match amount? In 
the case of a Territory or Commonwealth that does not require match 
funds, does the proposal include financial support from sources other 
than the Territory or Commonwealth? (Maximum: 5 points)
    (i) The State, territory, or commonwealth applicant must have a 
non-Federal funding source (in-kind match does not count for this 
criterion) that reduces the Federal share. (Up to 5 points)
    (ii) The maximum Federal share is requested by the proposal. (0 
    (iii) The purpose of this criterion is to increase the amount of 
money from non-Federal sources. This increase decreases the need for 
Federal match dollars, so that Federal dollars can help more projects. 
Documentation of each partner's financial commitment must accompany the 
proposal to receive points. If the State itself provides the excess 
match, the State should receive credit for reducing the Federal share. 
Each 5 percent above the required State match would be approximately 
equal to 1 point. The following two examples, using both a 50 and 75 
percent Federal match share, define a 10 percent increase in a State's 
match amount.

(A) Example 1-50--Percent Federal Match
If the total project costs are $100,000, then the required State match 
share is $50,000.
If the State or a partner provides an additional cash contribution 
equal to 10 percent of the $50,000, $5,000. This is defined as a 10 
percent increase in the State match.\4\

    \4\ From sources other than Federal agencies. Natural Resource 
Damage Assessment funds may in some cases be defined as ``non-
Federal.'' See discussion under Sec. 84.46 on What are the cost-
sharing requirements?

(B) Example 2-75--Percent Federal Match
If the total project costs are $100,000, then the required State match 
share is $25,000.
If the State or a partner provides an additional cash contribution 
equal to 10 percent of the $25,000, $2,500. This is defined as a 10 
percent increase in the State match.\4\

    (12) Education/outreach program or wildlife-oriented recreation. Is 
the project designed to increase environmental awareness and develop 
support for coastal wetlands conservation? Does it provide recreational 
opportunities that are consistent with the conservation goals of the 
site? (Maximum: 3 points)
    (i) The proposal includes a site-specific, substantive education/
outreach or wildlife-oriented recreation program. (Up to 3 points)
    (ii) The proposal does not include a substantive education/outreach 
or wildlife-oriented recreation program. (0 points)
    (iii) The proposal must describe what makes this program 
substantive and link it closely with the specific site to receive full 
points. Programs supported by activities or funds from partners should 
be encouraged over use of project dollars. Project proposals may 
include substantive education/outreach components necessary for the 
completion of the project. However, these should be activities that 
complement or support the primary goal of the project.
    (13) Other factors. Do any other factors, not covered in the 
previous criteria, make this project or site particularly unique and 
valuable? Does the project offer important benefits that are not 
reflected in the other criteria? The following list includes examples 
of projects that provide benefits not reflected in other criteria. 
(Maximum: 4 points)
    (i) The project might provide significant benefits to, for example: 
rare or threatened habitat types; biodiverse habitats; rare and 
declining species; and the local community.
    (ii) The project would be particularly cost-effective, providing 
very significant resource benefits for the cost.
    (iii) The project would assist in the prevention or control of 
invasive species.
    (iv) The project would provide important cultural or historical 
resource benefits.
    (v) The project would provide other benefits.
    (vi) Reviewers should not assign points to resource values covered 
by other criteria. The proposal should provide a short narrative to 
support claims to Other Factors points.
    (b) Additional considerations. We will factor the following 
considerations into the ranking process if two or more proposals have 
the same point totals. The tie-breaking factors are as follows:
    (1) The project would prevent the destruction or degradation of 
habitat from pending sale of property, from adverse effects of current 
activities such as draining of wetlands, or from natural processes such 
as erosion at excessive rates;
    (2) The project would protect unique and significant biological 
    (3) The project has lower costs per acre conserved; and
    (4) In the project proposal the State or third party provides lands 
as opposed to using lands already owned by the State

[[Page 49274]]

or third party as part of the State matching share.
    (c) All proposals must include the information described in 
paragraphs (b) (1)-(4) of this section. If a tie occurs between two or 
more proposals, the reviewers need to have this information available 
immediately to decide which proposal or proposals should be recommended 
for selection.

Subpart D--Conditions on Acceptance/Use of Federal Money

Sec. 84.40  What conditions must I follow to accept Federal grant 

    (a) The audit requirements for State and local governments (43 CFR 
part 12), and
    (b) The uniform administrative requirements for grants and 
cooperative agreements with State and local governments (43 CFR part 

Sec. 84.41  Who prepares a grant agreement? What needs to be included?

    The coastal State and the Fish and Wildlife Service work together 
to develop a Grant Agreement (Form 3-1552) upon completion of the 
review by the Regional Director to determine compliance with applicable 
Federal laws and regulations. The Grant Agreement includes the grant 
title, the grant cost distribution, the agreement period, other grant 
provisions, and special grant conditions. If a Coastal Barrier Unit is 
affected, the Service must conduct internal consultations pursuant to 
Section 6 of the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, as amended by the 
Coastal Barrier Improvement Act, prior to providing any grant monies to 
that State.

Sec. 84.42  What if a grant agreement is not signed?

    Monies that have been allocated for a grant will be held until 
December 31 of the following year. If a grant agreement has not been 
signed by the State and the Service and, therefore, the money has not 
been obligated for the approved grant by that date, the funds 
automatically are returned to the Program account in Washington.

Sec. 84.43  How do States get the grant monies?

    Funding to States is provided on a reimbursable basis. See 
Sec. 84.47 for information on what costs can be reimbursed. The Service 
may reimburse the State for projects completed, or make payments as the 
project progresses. For construction work and labor, the Service and 
the State may jointly determine, on a case-by-case basis, that payments 
may be made in advance. We will minimize the time elapsing between the 
transfer to the State and the State's need for the funds, and the time 
period will be subject to a specific determined need for the funds in 
advance. Except for extenuating circumstances, a reasonable time period 
to advance funds to a State is up to 3 days. OMB Circular A-102, Parts 
II and III, 43 CFR part 12, and 31 CFR part 205 provide specific 
information on methods and procedures for transferring funds.

Sec. 84.44  What is the timetable for the use of grant money?

    Once money is granted to the coastal States, the money is available 
to those States for the time designated in the grant agreement. If a 
State needs more time, the State must apply for an extension of time by 
amending the grant agreement. If the Service does not extend the time, 
the unobligated monies return to the Service for expenditure on future 
grants. Also, if a State cannot spend the money on the approved 
project, the State must notify the appropriate Regional Director as 
soon as possible so that the money can revert back to the Service for 
future grants.

Sec. 84.45  How do I amend a proposal?

    Following procedures in 43 CFR 12.70, you must submit a signed 
original and two copies of the revised SF 424, the revised portion of 
the project statement if appropriate, and an explanation of the reason 
for the revision to the Regional Director (Federal Aid).

Sec. 84.46  What are the cost-sharing requirements?

    (a) Except for certain insular areas, the Federal share of an 
approved grant will not exceed 50 percent of approved costs incurred. 
However, the Federal share may be increased to 75 percent for coastal 
States that have established and are using a fund as defined in 
Sec. 84.11. The Regions must certify the eligibility of the fund in 
order for the State to qualify for the 75 percent matching share.
    (b) The following insular areas: American Samoa, Guam, the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin 
Islands, have been exempted from the matching share, as provided in 
Pub. L. 95-134, amended by Pub. L. 95-348, Pub. L. 96-205, Pub. L. 98-
213, and Pub. L. 98-454 (48 U.S.C. 1469a). Puerto Rico is not exempt 
from the match requirements of this Program.
    (c) The State may provide materials (e.g., heavy equipment) or 
other services as a noncash match for portions of the State's matching 
share. The State may also provide the value of land, including the land 
proposed for restoration, enhancement, or management as a noncash 
match, provided that the land is necessary and reasonable for 
completing the project. For example, if a State proposes to manage a 
contiguous wetland of 100 acres, and already owns 10 of the 100 acres, 
the State can apply the current value of the 10 acres, provided that 
the 10 acres are necessary to manage the entire 100 acres. If the 10-
acre wetland were not contiguous and no connection could be made that 
the 10 acres were needed to manage the proposed wetland, the State 
could not use the 10 acres as a noncash match. Review 43 CFR 12.64 for 
determining the value of in-kind contributions.
    (d) The requirements in 43 CFR 12.64 and Service Manual Part 522 FW 
1.13 \5\ apply to in-kind matches or cost-sharing involving third 
parties. Third party in-kind contributions must represent the current 
market value of noncash contributions furnished as part of the grant by 
another public agency, private organization, or individual. In-kind 
matches must be necessary and reasonable to accomplish grant 

    \5\ From the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, available on-line 
at http://www.fws.gov/directives/index.html.

    (e) Coastal States must commit to their matching share of the total 
costs by signing the Application for Federal Assistance (SF 424), the 
Assurances (SF 424B or SF 424D), and the Grant Agreement (Form 3-1552).
    (f) No Federal monies, non-Federal monies, in-kind contributions, 
or National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant program monies that will 
be or have been previously used to satisfy the matching requirement of 
another Federal grant can be used as part of the coastal State's 
matching share.
    (g) The coastal State is responsible for ensuring the full amount 
of that State's matching requirement, either with State funds or from 
contributions toward the proposal from other agencies, groups, or 
individuals. Sources other than State applicant funds must be 
documented and approved as eligible.
    (h) Total Federal contributions (including all Federal sources 
outside of the Program) may not exceed the maximum eligible Federal 
share under the Program. This includes monies provided to the State by 
other Federal programs. If the amount of Federal money available to the 
project is more than the maximum allowed, we will reduce the Program 
contribution by the amount in excess.

[[Page 49275]]

    (i) Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds that are managed by a 
non-Federal trustee are considered to be non-Federal, even if these 
monies were once deposited in the Department of the Interior's Natural 
Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Fund, provided the following 
criteria are met:
    (1) The monies were deposited pursuant to a joint and indivisible 
recovery by the Department of the Interior and non-Federal trustees 
under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and 
Liability Act (CERCLA) or the Oil Pollution Act (OPA);
    (2) The non-Federal trustee has joint and binding control over the 
    (3) The co-trustees agree that monies from the fund should be 
available to the non-Federal trustee and can be used as a non-Federal 
match to support a project consistent with the settlement agreement, 
CERCLA, and OPA; and
    (4) The monies have been transferred to the non-Federal trustee.

Sec. 84.47  What are allowable costs?

    (a) Allowable grant costs are limited to costs necessary and 
reasonable to achieve approved grant objectives and meet the applicable 
Federal cost principles in 43 CFR 12.62 (b).
    (b) If a project or facility is designed to include purposes other 
than those eligible under the Act, the costs must be prorated among the 
various purposes.
    (c) If you incur costs before the effective date of the grant, they 
cannot be reimbursed, with the exception that we can allow preliminary 
costs, but only with the approval of the appropriate Regional Director. 
Preliminary costs may include costs necessary for preparing the grant 
proposal, such as feasibility surveys, engineering design, biological 
reconnaissance, appraisals, or preparation of grant documents such as 
environmental assessments for compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act.

Sec. 84.48  What are the procedures for acquiring, maintaining, and 
disposing of real property?

    (a) Acquisition, maintenance, and disposal of real property must 
follow the rules established in 43 CFR 12.71 and 50 CFR 80.14.
    (1) Title to real property acquired under a grant or subgrant must 
be vested in the State or subgrantee, including local governments and 
nonprofit organizations. States must submit documentation (e.g., 
appraisals and appraisal reviews) to the Regional Director who must 
approve it before the State becomes legally obligated for the purchase. 
States will provide title vesting evidence and summary of land costs 
upon completion of the acquisition. The grant agreement and any deed to 
third parties (e.g., conservation easement or other lien on a third-
party property) must include appropriate language to ensure that the 
lands and/or interests would revert back to the State or Federal 
Government if the conditions of the grant were no longer being 
    (2) In cases where the interest obtained is less than fee simple 
title, the interest must be sufficient for long-term conservation of 
the specified wetlands resources.
    (3) Real property acquired with National Coastal Wetlands 
Conservation Grant funds must continue to serve the purpose for which 
it was acquired. If acquired property is used for reasons inconsistent 
with the purpose(s) for which acquired, such activities must cease and 
any adverse effects on the property must be corrected by the State or 
subgrantee with non-Federal monies in accordance with 50 CFR 80.14.
    (4) The State or subgrantee may not dispose of or encumber its 
title or other interest in real property without prior approval of the 
appropriate Regional Director of the Service. Real property includes, 
but is not limited to, lands, buildings, minerals, energy resources, 
timber, grazing, and animal products. If real property is sold, the 
State or subgrantee must compensate the Service in accordance with 43 
CFR 12.71(c)(2).
    (5) If rights or interests obtained with the acquisition of coastal 
wetlands generate revenue during the Grant Agreement period, the State 
will treat the revenue as program income and use it to manage the 
acquired properties. If the State sells or leases real property, the 
State must treat the proceeds as program income and return the money to 
the Federal Aid program regardless of the grant period.
    (6) Inconsistent use that is not corrected can be grounds for 
denying a State future grants under this Program.
    (b) A coastal State is responsible for design, supervision, and 
inspection of all major construction projects in accordance with 
accepted engineering standards.
    (1) The coastal State must have adequate rights to lands or waters 
where restoration or enhancement projects are planned to ensure 
protection and use of the facilities or structures throughout their 
useful life.
    (2) The construction, enlargement, or rehabilitation of dams are 
subject to Federal standards for dam design. If requested, the State 
must provide to the Regional Office written certification that any 
proposed changes to a dam meet Federal standards.
    (3) The coastal State must operate and maintain facilities, 
structures, or related assets to ensure their use for the stated 
project purpose and that they are adequately protected.
    (c) Acquisition, property records, maintenance, and disposal of 
equipment must be made in accordance with 43 CFR 12.72.

Sec. 84.49  What if the project costs more or less than originally 

    All requests for additional monies for approved coastal wetland 
grants will be subject to the entire review process along with new 
grants. Any monies left over after the project is complete, or if the 
project is not completed, should be returned to the Washington Office 
for use in following years. If a State has lands it wishes to acquire, 
restore, or enhance in close proximity to the original project, and the 
Region deems that spending project monies in these areas would provide 
similar benefits, the Region may use unspent balances to pay for these 
projects with prior approval from the Washington Office. States must 
provide adequate justification and documentation to the Regions that 
the lands acquired, restored, or enhanced are similar to those in the 
original proposal and provide similar benefits to fish and wildlife.

Sec. 84.50  How does a State certify compliance with Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies?

    (a) In accepting Federal money, coastal State representatives must 
agree to and certify compliance with all applicable Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies. The applicant will need to submit a 
Statement of Assurances (either SF 424B or SF 424D) signed and dated by 
an authorized agency representative as part of the proposal.
    (b) Compliance with environmental and other laws, as defined in the 
Service Manual 523 FW Chapter 1,\6\ may require additional 
documentation. Consult with Regional Offices for how this applies to a 
specific project.

    \6\ The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, see footnote 3 for 

    Dated: March 29, 2002.
Paul Hoffman,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-19065 Filed 7-29-02; 8:45 am]