Challenge Cost Share

055 FW 6
FWM Number
Originating Office
Division of Visitor Services and Communication

6.1 Program Description. Challenge Cost Share Funds are appropriated funds that may be used to pay for no more than 50% of the cost of Challenge Cost Share (CCS) projects on Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) or private lands. The matching 50% cost share is provided by non-Federal sources, state/local governments, private individuals/organizations, business enterprises, and philanthropic and charitable groups. The cooperator share may be a non-monetary contribution.

6.2 Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to prescribe policy and procedures for proposing CCS projects; tracking project funds; reporting project accomplishments for agency, congressional, and private interests; and insuring project completion. In addition, it will establish the framework for a Director's Award program that overall will build a cooperator constituency and support for the program. The objective of the program is to encourage partnerships with non-Federal governments, private individuals and organizations, educational institutions, and businesses to support the mission of the Service.

6.3 Policy. These procedures apply to all Service budget activities. It is the policy of the Service to encourage the use of CCS arrangements and agreements to complete projects on and off Service lands. The Service shall expend no more than 50% of the cost to complete projects through CCS agreements. To support this effort, the Director has designated the Assistant Director - Refuges and Wildlife as the lead to coordinate and support all CCS program functions for all Service activities; each Regional Office shall concurrently designate no less than one person to coordinate their activities with Headquarters.
6.4 Responsibility.

A. Assistant Director - Refuges and Wildlife (ARW). It is the responsibility of the ARW to systematically track projects, prepare congressional reports, and develop and institute a Director's Award program (DA). Overall, the ARW will insure that the program is implemented and accomplishments are consistent with policy. Additionally, the ARW will insure that Federal funds are not co-mingled and coordinate CCS program activities with existing and developing Federal cost share programs such as those managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies and departments.

B. Assistant Director - Policy, Budget and Administration (APBA). It is the responsibility of the APBA to provide services that facilitate the implementation of CCS agreements. The Division of Finance will record, account, and report the costs of all projects approved for funding in the financial system.

C. Regional Offices (ARD-RW). It is the responsibility of the ARD-RW to promote, implement, and support the program. Specifically, they will prioritize projects in cooperation with other divisions, certify the receipt of non-Federal project cost shares, track project proposals and funding, report accomplishments, and maintain CCS project information in cooperation with the ARW. Regional Offices will coordinate the assignment of cost accounting codes with their respective Budget and Finance Offices.

D. Field Offices. The primary role is to plan and implement projects as well as perpetuate and coordinate cooperator interest or involvement. Field offices are recognized as the first point of contact with cooperators; therefore, they are principally responsible for initiating, promoting, and securing project cost sharing.

6.5 Authority. Distinct authority for the Service to fund a CCS program has been cited annually in the House Report that accompanies the annual Appropriations Legislation. Since FY-1991, funding has been requested as part of the Administration's budget request to Congress. Explicit funding has been authorized by Congress for this purpose since 1988. In addition to this distinct authority, the following laws establish a legal framework for the Service to implement CCS program activities within the Resource Management Appropriation.

A. Cooperative Authority. Title 16 U.S.C., Section 661, authorizes the Secretary to cooperate with Federal, State, public and private agencies and organizations regarding the protection and conservation of wildlife.

B. Gift Authority.

(1) The Secretary is authorized under 16 U.S.C., Section 742f(b), to accept gifts for the benefit of the Service.

(2) Title 16 U.S.C., Section 668dd(b), under the Refuge System Administration Act, authorizes the Secretary to accept donations of funds and to use these funds to acquire or manage lands or interests therein.

C. Acceptance of Volunteer Services. The Secretary is authorized to accept volunteer services in aid of the programs of the Service--16 U.S.C., Section 742f(c) and Section 1105 of the Take Pride in America Act (H.R.2570-34).

D. Fundraising. Specific authority that permits the Secretary to engage in fundraising activities is stipulated under the Take Pride in America Act or the TPIA Program. The Secretary is authorized under Section 1103 of this program to solicit, accept, hold, administer, invest in government securities, and use gifts and bequests of money and other personal property to aid or facilitate the purposes of the TPIA program. The Service has no general authority to supplement its appropriation by actively soliciting for private funds or materials and the authority to solicit funds has not been delegated. In special circumstances, where either the magnitude, focus, or public support of a project determine it to be a candidate for TPIA support, the Regional Directors may request authority from the Department to institute fundraising activities that will benefit the project and the TPIA initiative.

E. Promotional Authority. Title 16 U.S.C., Section 742f(a)(4), serves as the Secretary's authority to promote the development, advancement, management, conservation, and protection of fish and wildlife resources.

6.6 Definitions. The following definitions are applicable to the administration of CCS projects.

A. Appropriation. A statute, under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, that generally provides authority for Federal agencies to incur obligations and to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes.

B. Cooperator. Any state/local government, private individual or organization, business enterprise and philanthropic or charitable group that provides any tangible consideration for the benefit of the Service and the public.

C. Challenge Cost Share Agreement (CCSA). A written agreement between the Service and a cooperator(s) in which there is an equal partnership between the Federal government and the cooperator(s) that produces or provides a tangible product which mutually benefits Service objectives and the public. A monetary expenditure by the cooperator need not be involved.

D. Challenge Cost Share Management Information System (CCSMIS). An automated database used to inventory and track project financial, land management, organizational/institutional data for all budget activities of the Service. Project cost structures will be consistent with those assigned in the Service's financial system.

E. Certification Addendum. A document that provides basic assurance to the Service that a cooperator, or group of cooperators, has contributed no less than 50% of the total cost of each project. Cost share value can be derived from labor, material, equipment, land and water, and cash. The addendum must also certify that no portion of the cooperator contribution is of Federal origin. This document is part of the overall CCSA.

F. Director's Award (DA). Consists of no less than 25% of all funding appropriated for the CCS program. The DA will be awarded competitively to the Regions by a select committee of government, organization, and industry representatives. These funds can be used on Service or private lands.

G. Private Lands. All lands that are not protected by any provision of Federal law that governs the ownership and use of Service land.

H. Regional Allocation (RA). The CCS funds allocated to each Regional Office. With few exceptions, the RA will be equally distributed after the DA funds have been reserved.

6.7 Requirements.

A. Challenge Cost Share Agreements. All CCS projects will be supported by a documented CCSA and Certification Addendum. These agreements will be maintained by the Regional Offices.

(1) At a minimum, each agreement will contain the following elements approved for contracts.

     (a) Authority to enter into the agreement.

     (b) Purpose.

     (c) Scope of the work detailing the government's and cooperator's responsibility.

     (d) Period of performance and delivery schedule, if appropriate.

     (e) Designation of a project officer, if appropriate.

     (f) Statement of special provisions.

     (g) Termination information.

     (h) Certification Addendum.

     (i) Signature blocks for all approving officials and cooperators and the appropriate Regional Director.

(2) The Certification Addendum will include a statement and/or accounting documentation that declares the value of the matching cost share and attests to the nonuse of Federal funds in the cooperator's share.

(3) The CCSA's approved for physical and structural improvement projects completed on private lands will remain in effect for a period of not less than 10 years. This is to insure long term maintenance and accrual of the intended benefit. Non-structural projects that accrue short term benefits should clearly identify the expected period of performance within the CCSA.

(4) Regional Contracting and General Services offices will review CCSA's for contractual sufficiency.

(5) Cooperator arranged procurements and third party construction contracts must comply with the intent of applicable labor laws; Davis-Bacon and Federal Acquisition Regulations must be adhered to when the project is to be completed on or the benefit applied to Service lands.

B. Financing. Contributed funds received for the express purpose of supporting CCS projects shall be available until the project(s) are completed and the funds disbursed. Funds deposited in the contributed funds account will be subject to a less than 1% assessment levied for centralized administrative support services.

C. Solicitation of Proposals. The Service will (1) identify projects or objects for which cost sharing may be sought, (2) solicit project proposals from cooperators, (3) approve all printed and other informational materials distributed to the public by cooperators, and (4) insure accountability for all contributions.

Neither appropriated funds nor contributions deposited to a Service account may be used to fund or reimburse the costs of professional consultations or services related to the solicitation of proposals, purchase of mailing lists, postage for mass mailings, or phone book expenses or similar activities.

D. Project Information Management. Headquarters and the Regional Offices will develop and maintain equivalent/standardized information systems to prioritize, allocate and track funds, account for project proposals, and monitor accomplishment. All projects selected by the Regions for funding with the RA and those nominated for the reserved DA funds will be collaterally maintained in the CCSMIS by the Regional and Headquarters Offices.

E. Director's Awards. Funds will be reserved from the CCS appropriation in an amount not less than 25% of the total congressional appropriation. A review panel of representatives from the fish and wildlife management, conservation, private industry, and philanthropic communities will rank and recommend projects for the Director. Projects will be nominated by each Region at the beginning of the fiscal year. Limitations on the number of proposals accepted from each Region and their cost will be determined at the beginning of each fiscal year. Basic information provided through the CCSMIS will be used to prepare documentation for the review committee. In addition to this information, each submittal may include one letter size map and chart. All unfunded projects will be referred back to the Regions for disposition.

F. Certification of Completion. Each Region will certify that all CCS projects funded for each fiscal year were completed and provide Headquarters with a summary report noting project accomplishment. Additionally, 25% of all projects funded in each Region will be reviewed for progress or completion.

6.8 Standards. A systematic and standardized database structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

Learn more about structure
applicable to all administrative units will form the framework for the CCSMIS. Data fields which identify or describe the station, project, state, rank, benefit/activity, cost, year, cooperator's contribution, name, type, project type, land classification, and demographics will collectively represent the CCSMIS. The database will be developed to easily merge with other systems.