[Federal Register: August 20, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 161)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 43555-43567]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 84

RIN 10l8-AF51

National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: This proposed rule establishes the requirements for 
participation in the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant 
Program authorized by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and 
Restoration Act and provides guidance for the program's administration 
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (referred to as ``Service'' 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: Comments on this proposed rule must be submitted on or before 
October 4, 2001.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by 
mail, hand delivery, fax, or email. To submit comments on the proposed 
rule for the grant Program:
    (1) Mail: You may mail comments on the proposed rule to Sally 
Valdes-Cogliano, Division of Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance 
and Habitat Restoration, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of 
the Interior, Room 840, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 

[[Page 43556]]

    (2) Hand delivery: You may hand-deliver comments to us at the above 
    (3) Fax: Fax comments to Sally Valdes-Cogliano, Division of Fish 
and Wildlife Management Assistance and Habitat Restoration, (703) 358-
    (4) Email: Please submit email comments to 
sally__valdescogliano@fws.gov.> Please include your name and return 
address in your email message. If you do not receive confirmation that 
we have received your email message, contact us directly at (703) 358-
    If you wish to comment on the information collection aspects of 
this proposed rule, please send your comments to the attention: Desk 
Officer for the Department of the Interior, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 
20503. A copy of these comments should also be sent to the Service.

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



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 U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
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.

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 $90 million to 25 States and 1 U.S. territory to protect and/or 
restore about 105,000 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 proposed rule uses a plain English style, 
provides examples to illustrate concepts, and combines current guidance 
in one place. It should result in a stream-lined proposal preparation 
and review and grant administration process.
    Currently, grant requests received from the State agencies are 
evaluated on an annual schedule. In the last few years the number of 
proposals received annually by the 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 Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance and Habitat Restoration, 
Endangered Species, and Refuges Programs) review and rank all 
proposals. Based on the rankings of the panel, recommendations are sent 
to the Director of the Service. The basic schedule and procedures will 
not change significantly with the proposed rule.
    The criteria for selecting proposals in this proposed 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. These proposed changes are 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.

What Are the Environmental Effects of This Regulation?

    This proposed 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 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 an application 
for Federal Assistance (Standard Form 424); assurances of compliance 
with Federal laws, regulations and policies (SF 424B or SF424D); a 
grant agreement

[[Page 43557]]

form, USFWS Form 3-1552 (OMB approval 1018-0049); an amendment to the 
grant agreement form, USFWS Form 1591 (OMB approval 1018-0049); a 
Federal Aid Grant Application Booklet (OMB approval 1018-0109), which 
was submitted to OMB for review and approval December 6, 2000 (see 65 
FR 53737, September 15, 2000); and the NEPA Compliance Checklist, USFWS 
Form 3-2185 (OMB approval 1018-0110, 65 FR 55032, September 12, 2000).
    This proposed rule also contains new information collection, and we 
have submitted the information collection requirements to OMB for 
review and approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This new 
information collection is a form titled: Summary Information for 
Ranking National Coastal Wetlands Grant Program Proposals (USFWS Form 
3-2179). The purpose of this form is to summarize information contained 
in the grant proposal in a way that allows a fair comparison and 
ranking of different grant proposals.
    If you have any comments on the information collection 
requirements, please send these comments to OMB at the address 
indicated in the ADDRESSES section of the preamble. Please also send a 
copy of your comments to the Service.
    Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of information 
is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the 
accuracy of the agency's estimates of burden of the collection of 
information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of 
the information to be collected; and, (4) ways to minimize the burden 
of collection of information on respondents, including through the use 
of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other 
technological collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology. The form may be viewed at the National Coastal Wetlands 
Conservation Grant Program web site at: http://www.fws.gov/cep/
cwgcover.html or you may request a copy of the form using the contact 
information in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.
    Frequency: The form will generally be used once a year.
    Description of respondents: States, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the 
Virgin Islands, and American Samoa will use the form if they wish to 
apply for grants under this program.
    Completion time and annual response and burden estimate:

                                                          Completion time
                       Form name                              per form       Annual response     Annual burden
Summary Information for Ranking National Coastal                \1/2\ Hour           34 Forms           17 Hours
 Wetlands Conservation Grant Program Proposals.........

    While the summary form is five pages long, the \1/2\ hour burden is 
accurate. Agencies applying for grants will have all of the information 
readily available in the proposals they have prepared.
    A notice of this information collection and request for comments 
was previously published in the Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 180, 
Friday, September 15, 2000. No comments were received.
    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 
proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action. OMB makes the 
final determination under Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed 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 proposed 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 $12 million range. This last grant cycle included $11 
million in new money and $4.1 million available as carryover from 
previous years.
    This proposed 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 proposed rule will not affect entitlements, user fees, loan 
programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. It will 
have a limited effect on 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 
    This proposed 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. The purpose of 
this rule is to improve the process.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This proposed 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 proposed 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

[[Page 43558]]

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 proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This proposed 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 
    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 proposed 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 proposed 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 proposed rule pertains to a grant 
program directed at State governments. In a few cases, local 
governments have chosen to partner in a grant program 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, the proposed rule does 
not have significant takings implications. A takings implication 
assessment is not required. The proposed 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 proposed 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 

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the proposed 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 program. The proposed 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 proposed 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.
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.

Clarity of this Regulation

    Executive Order 12866 requires that each agency write regulations 
that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to make 
this regulation easier to understand, including answers to questions 
like the following:
    (a) Are the requirements in the regulation clearly stated?
    (b) Does the regulation contain technical language or jargon that 
interferes with its clarity?
    (c) Does the format of the regulation (e.g., grouping and order of 
sections, use of headings, and paragraphing) make it easier or harder 
to understand?
    (d) Would the regulation be easier to understand if we divided it 
into more (but shorter) sections?
    (e) Does the description of the regulation in the ``Summary'' 
section of the preamble do a good job of explaining the regulation? 
    (f) What else could we do to make the regulation easier to 
    We will take into consideration public comments and any additional 
information received during the 45-day comment period. When completed, 
this regulation will be incorporated into Title 50 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (50 CFR), Part 84.
    Our practice is to make comments, including in most cases names and 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual commenters may ask that we withhold their 
home address from the rule-making record, which we will honor to the 
extent allowable by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and 
address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comments. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We

[[Page 43559]]

will make all submissions from organizations or businesses available 
for public inspection.

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

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

    Terms used have the following meaning:
    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 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; 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. 3951-56).
    Eligible applicant. Any agency of a coastal State designated by the 
Governor. It is usually a State natural resource or fish and wildlife 
    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.

[[Page 43560]]

    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, 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 Fish and Wildlife 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 
    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 that awards Federal grants 
through a competitive process to State agencies for projects to 
acquire, restore, manage, or enhance coastal wetlands.
    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, that 
includes statements of need and objective(s), description of expected 
results or benefits, approach to be used, such as procedures, 
schedules, key personnel and cooperators, location of the proposed 
action, 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 (SF 424B or SF 424D);
    (5) Documents, as appropriate, supporting the proposal; for 
example, environmental assessments (including the NEPA compliance 
checklist, USFWS 3-2185) and evaluations of effects on threatened and 
endangered species;
    (6) A grant agreement form if the proposal is funded (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 benefitted?
    (c) Reporting requirements include retention and access 
requirements as specified in 43 CFR 12.82.

[[Page 43561]]

Subpart B--Applying for Grants

Sec. 84.20  What are the grant eligibility requirements?

    (a) Eligible grant activities include:
    (1) Obtaining a real property interest in coastal lands or waters 
(coastal wetlands ecosystems), providing that the terms and conditions 
will ensure the real property will be administered for long-term 
    (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 or planning;
    (6) Operations and maintenance;
    (7) Acquiring and/or restoring upper portions of watersheds where 
benefits to the coastal wetlands ecosystem are not significant and 
direct; and
    (8) Projects providing less than 20 years of 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. 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 grant funds; 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 proposals. 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. Send your proposals to the 
appropriate Regional Offices, as follows:

   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,           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 Regional Wisconsin (Region     Federal Aid), U.S. Fish and
 3).                                      Wildlife Service, Bishop Henry
                                          Whipple Federal Building, 1
                                          Federal Drive, Fort Snelling,
                                          Minnesota 55111-4056, (612)
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 240, 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) 253-8200.
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) This grant 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, D.C., 
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) Proposals from more than one State agency may be submitted 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. Funding for one 
phase of a project will not be contingent upon acquiring funding 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 (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, or verifiable objective(s) to be 
accomplished during a specified time period;

[[Page 43562]]

    (3) Expected results or benefits, in terms of coastal lands and 
waters, and the hydrology, water quality, and 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 funds will 
not be used for lobbying activities;
    (8) A concise statement, with documentation, of how the proposal 
addresses each of the 13 numeric criteria (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 publics 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 Office.
    (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 benefits that are cost effective and long-
term, i.e., at least 20 years; and
    (v) Identifies obtainable, quantified performance measures that 
help achieve the management goals and objectives of the National 
Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program and the Service's Long-Term 
and Annual Performance Goals.
    (3) The grant limit is $1 million. Proposals requesting Program 
funds 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 Fish and 
Wildlife Management Assistance and Habitat Restoration Program for 
distribution to a Review Panel. The Review Panel includes 
representation from our coastal Regions and from our Programs, for 
example, the Endangered Species Program. The Fish and Wildlife 
Management Assistance and Habitat Restoration Program is responsible 
for coordinating the review and ranking of proposals according to the 
established criteria, a process that usually involves a national 
    (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 fund, for example, 
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 them.
    (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, additional considerations may be 
factored into the ranking decision at the national level. In case of a 
tie, these additional considerations will be used 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) If a grant proposal is not selected for funding, it may be 
resubmitted for reconsideration in subsequent fiscal years. 
Resubmission of a grant proposal is the responsibility of the 

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 types1 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; 

[[Page 43563]]

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.
    (ii) The majority of the project area (over 50 percent) is 
nationally stable coastal wetlands types \1\ (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.

    \1\ 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.

    (iii) Wetlands benefitted 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) A full 7 points would be awarded 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 
there are questions 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 benefits to be eligible. (Maximum: 7 points)
    (i) Once the project is complete, the project will provide 
continuing coastal wetlands benefits in perpetuity (100 years or 
longer). (7 points)
    (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 should receive more points than 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/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, 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. (0 to 5 points)
    (ii) The project will provide, restore, or enhance important 
habitat for State-listed threatened and endangered species. (0-2 
    (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 fish 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)

[[Page 43564]]

    (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 should, 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 critical migratory pathways or 
wintering or summering grounds specifically identified in a management 
effort. Proposals should also include information about the size of 
populations and the diversity of species; 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 
    (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 it 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 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 points.
    (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 on an otherwise 
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 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 
funds 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 
dollars 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.\2\

    \2\ 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.\2\

    (12) Education/outreach program or wildlife-oriented recreation. Is 
the project designed to increase environmental awareness and develop 
support for coastal wetlands

[[Page 43565]]

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 funds. 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. The following considerations will be 
factored 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 or third party as 
part of the State matching share.
    (5) All proposals must include this information. 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 funding.

Subpart D--Conditions on Acceptance/Use of Funds

Sec. 84.40  What conditions must I follow to accept Federal funds?

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

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?

    Funds that have been allocated for a grant will be held until 
December 31. If a grant agreement has not been signed by the State and 
the Service and thus the funds have not been obligated for the approved 
grant by that date, the funds automatically are returned to the Program 
fund in Washington.

Sec. 84.43  How do States get the grant monies?

    Funding to States is provided on a reimbursable basis. 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. The time elapsing between the transfer to the 
State and the State's need for the funds will be minimized and 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 should all be reviewed for specific 
information on methods and procedures for transferring funds.

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

    Once funds are granted to the coastal States, the funds are 
available to those States for the time designated in the grant 
agreement. If a State needs more time, that State must apply for an 
extension of time by amending the grant agreement. If the Service does 
not extend the time, the unobligated funds return to the Service for 
expenditure on future grants. Also, if a State cannot spend the funds 
on the approved project, that State must notify the appropriate 
Regional Director as soon as possible so that the funds 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, for the purpose of 
acquiring coastal wetlands, other natural areas, or open spaces, either 
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. 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,

[[Page 43566]]

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 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 non-cash 
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 \3\ 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 

    \3\ 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 (SF424B or SF424D), and the Grant Agreement (USFWS Form 3-
    (f) No Federal funds, non-Federal funds, in-kind contributions, or 
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant program funds 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 funding (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 funds available to the 
project is more than the maximum allowed, we will reduce the Program 
funds by the amount in excess.
    (i) Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds that are managed by a 
non-Federal trustee are considered to be non-Federal, even if these 
damages 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 preliminary costs can be 
allowed, 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.
    (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. Appraisals and review appraisals must be 
submitted and approved by the Regional Director before the State 
becomes legally obligated for the purchase. Title vesting evidence and 
summary of land costs will be provided upon completion of the 
acquisition. 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. Appropriate language in the grant 
agreement and any deed to third parties (e.g., conservation easement or 
other lien on a third-party property) must be included 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) 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 with non-Federal 
    (4) Coastal wetland property must continue to serve the purposes 
for which it was acquired. If property that is acquired as a coastal 
wetland is no longer needed or useful for the intended purpose, the 
coastal State will request disposition instructions from the 
appropriate Regional Director.
    (5) If rights or interests obtained with the acquisition of coastal 
wetlands generate revenue, the revenue will be treated as program 
income and used to manage the acquired properties. If real property is 
sold or leased, the proceeds must be treated as program income and 
returned to the Federal Aid program regardless of the grant period.
    (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, written 
certification that the proposed dam meets Federal standards will be 
provided to the Regional Office by the coastal State.

[[Page 43567]]

    (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 following the regulations in 43 CFR 12.72.

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

    All requests for additional funding for approved coastal wetland 
grants will be subject to the entire review process along with new 
grants. Any funds 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 funds in these areas would provide 
similar benefits, the Region may use unspent balances to fund 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 should the States certify compliance with Federal laws, 
regulations, and policies?

    (a) In accepting Federal funds, 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 (SF424B or SF424D) 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,\4\ may require additional 
documentation. Consult with Regional Offices for how this applies to a 
specific project.

    \4\ The Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, see footnote 3 for 

    Dated: February 23, 2001.
Joseph E. Doddridge,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 01-20908 Filed 8-17-01; 8:45 am]