[Federal Register: July 28, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 144)]
[Page 44423-44434]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 44423]]


Part V

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


Fiscal Year 2003 Tribal Landowner Incentive Program and Tribal Wildlife 
Grants; Request for Grant Proposals and Final Policy and Implementation 
Guidelines; Notice

[[Page 44424]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

RIN 1018-AI59

Fiscal Year 2003 Tribal Landowner Incentive Program; Request for 
Grant Proposals and Final Policy and Implementation Guidelines

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of request for proposals; final policy, and 
implementation guidelines.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) are soliciting 
project proposals for Federal assistance under the Tribal Landowner 
Incentive Program (TLIP). This document describes how you can apply for 
funding under the TLIP and how we will determine which project 
proposals will be funded. The Department of the Interior and Related 
Agencies Appropriations Act of 2002 allocated $39,740,000 from the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund for conservation grants to States, the 
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the United States Virgin 
Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Tribes under 
a Landowner Incentive Program. This notice sets forth guidance for the 
dissemination of $3,974,000 which is the amount designated for TLIP.

DATES: Project proposals must be received by the appropriate Regional 
Office (see Table 1 in ADDRESSES) no later than September 11, 2003.

ADDRESSES: For information regarding collection requirements, 
applicants should contact the Native American Liaison in the Service's 
Regional Office for the State in which the proposed project would 
occur. The contact information for each Regional Office is listed in 
Table 1 below. Information on the TLIP is also available from the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of the Native American Liaison, 1849 
C Street, NW., Mail Stop 3251, Washington, DC 20240, and electronically 
at http://grants.fws.gov/tribal.html.
    Project proposals should be submitted to the Service's Regional 
Office for the State in which the proposed project would occur (see 
Table 1 under this section). You must submit one original and two 
copies of the complete proposal. We will not accept facsimile project 

                     Table 1.--Where to Send Project Proposals and List of Regional Contacts
                                                                                              Regional Native
        Service region           States where the project     Where to send your project   American liaison and
                                        will occur                     proposal                  phone No.
Region 1.....................  Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon,        Regional Director, U.S.      Scott L. Aikin (503)
                                Washington, Nevada, and       Fish and Wildlife Service,   231-6123.
                                California.                   Eastside Federal Complex,
                                                              911 N.E. 11th Avenue,
                                                              Portland, OR 97232-4181.
Region 2.....................  Arizona, New Mexico,          Regional Director, U.S.      John Antonio (505) 248-
                                Oklahoma, and Texas.          Fish and Wildlife Service,   6810.
                                                              500 Gold Avenue, SW, P.O.
                                                              Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM
Region 3.....................  Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,      Regional Director, U.S.      John Leonard (612) 713-
                                Michigan, Minnesota,          Fish and Wildlife Service,   5108.
                                Missouri, Ohio, and           1 Federal Drive, Fort
                                Wisconsin.                    Snelling, MN 55111.
Region 4.....................  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,   Regional Director, U.S.      James D. Brown (404)
                                Georgia, Kentucky,            Fish and Wildlife Service,   679-7125.
                                Louisiana, Mississippi,       1875 Century Boulevard,
                                North Carolina, South         Rm. 410, Atlanta, GA 30345.
                                Carolina, and Tennessee.
Region 5.....................  Connecticut, Delaware,        Regional Director, U.S.      D.J. Monette (413) 253-
                                District of Columbia,         Fish and Wildlife Service,   8662.
                                Maine, Maryland,              300 Westgate Center Drive,
                                Massachusetts, New            Hadley, MA 01035-9589.
                                Hampshire, New Jersey, New
                                York, Pennsylvania, Rhode
                                Island, Vermont, Virginia,
                                and West Virginia.
Region 6.....................  Colorado, Kansas, Montana,    Regional Director, U.S.      David Redhorse (303)
                                Nebraska, North Dakota,       Fish and Wildlife Service,   236-7905.
                                South Dakota, Utah, and       PO Box 25486, Denver
                                Wyoming.                      Federal Center, Denver, CO
Region 7.....................  Alaska......................  Regional Director, U.S.      Tony DeGange (907) 786-
                                                              Fish and Wildlife Service,   3492.
                                                              1011 East Tudor Road,
                                                              Anchorage, AK 99503-6199.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, contact the 
Native American Liaison in the appropriate Regional Office (see Table 1 
under ADDRESSES) or Patrick Durham, Office of the Native American 
Liaison, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street, Mail Stop 3012 
MIB, Washington, DC 20240, 202/208-4133.


I. Request for Proposals

    The Service invites submission of grant proposals from federally 
recognized Indian tribal governments (including Alaska Native Villages) 
for the protection and management of habitat to benefit federally 
listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk species. This 
program supports the efforts of tribal governments in programs that 
develop or augment the capacity to manage, conserve, or protect fish 
and wildlife species of concern through the provision of funding and 
technical support.

II. Definitions

    The following definitions apply:
    1. At-Risk Species--Any plant or animal species recognized as a 
species of conservation concern, such as species listed or identified 
by a State or a tribe.
    2. Biological Opinion--Any document that includes: (1) The opinion 
of the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries 
Service as to whether or not a Federal action is likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of listed species, or result in the destruction 
or adverse modification of designated critical habitat; (2) a summary 
of the information on which the opinion is based; and (3) a detailed 
discussion of the effects of the action on listed species or designated 
critical habitat under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act.
    3. Candidate Species--Plant and animal taxa considered for possible 
addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Species.
    4. Conservation Recommendation--The Fish and Wildlife Service's 
non-binding suggestions resulting from

[[Page 44425]]

formal or informal consultation, under the Endangered Species Act, 
that: (1) Identify discretionary measures a Federal agency can take to 
minimize or avoid the adverse effects of a proposed action on listed or 
candidate species, or designated critical habitat; (2) identify 
studies, monitoring, or research to develop new information on listed 
or candidate species, or designated critical habitat; and (3) include 
suggestions on how an agency can assist species conservation as part of 
their action and in furtherance of its authorities under section 
7(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act.
    5. Habitat--The area that provides direct support for a given 
species, population, or community. It includes all environmental 
features that comprise an area such as air quality, water quality, 
vegetation and soil characteristics, and water supply.
    6. Listed Species--Any species of fish, wildlife, or plant that has 
been determined to be endangered or threatened under section 4 of the 
Endangered Species Act.
    7. Mitigation--Activities carried out under National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations, for the purpose of moderating, reducing, or 
alleviating the impacts of a proposed activity, including (a) avoiding 
the impact by not taking a certain action; (b) minimizing impacts by 
limiting the degree or magnitude of the action; (c) rectifying the 
impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected 
environment; (d) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by 
undertaking preservation and maintenance operations during the life of 
the action; and (e) compensating for the impact by replacing or 
providing substitute resources or environments.
    8. Proposed Species--Any species of fish, wildlife, or plant that 
is proposed in the Federal Register to be listed under Section 4 of the 
Endangered Species Act.
    9. Tribal Lands--Lands held by the United States in trust for a 
tribe or an individual Indian; or lands legally owned in fee simple by 
a tribe or an individual Indian that are subject to Federal 
restrictions against alienation or encumbrance. Also lands for which a 
tribe or an individual Indian retained specific right-of-way or uses as 
defined by treaty or other binding agreement (including Alaska Native 
Corporation lands).

III. Background

    The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Act of 2002 allocated $39,740,000 from the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund for conservation grants to States, the District of Columbia, 
Puerto Rico, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern 
Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Tribes under the Landowner 
Incentive Program. The Service herein provides the implementation 
guidance for the tribal component of the program.
    In recent years, natural resource managers have increasingly 
recognized that private lands play a pivotal role in linking or 
providing important habitats for fish, wildlife, and plant species. To 
protect and enhance these habitats through incentives for private 
landowners, Congress appropriated $39,740,000 for the Service to 
administer a new Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) for States and 
tribes. The Service will award grants for actions and activities that 
protect and restore habitats that benefit federally listed, proposed, 
or candidate species, or other at-risk species on private lands. A 
primary objective of LIP is to establish, or supplement existing, 
landowner incentive programs that provide technical and financial 
assistance, including habitat protection and restoration, to private 
landowners for the protection and management of habitat to benefit 
federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk 
species on private lands as stated in the appropriations language. LIP 
complements other Federal private lands conservation programs that 
focus on conservation of habitat.
    The Service is providing guidance to the public and, particularly, 
to federally recognized tribes, in the administration of the $3,974,000 
allocated for TLIP. This program will provide conservation monies to 
federally recognized tribes for actions and activities that protect and 
restore habitats that benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate 
species, or other at-risk species on tribal lands. TLIP was created 
because of the unique relationship between the Federal Government and 
tribes and because tribal lands are not private lands and would not be 
eligible for funding under a State-administered LIP with a private 
lands grant distribution system. Because the tribes directly administer 
the funds rather than distribute them further to individual landowners, 
the criteria used in evaluating program proposals differ to some extent 
from those used in the LIP. The results of both the LIP and TLIP would 
be similar in effect, because both encourage voluntary conservation of 
natural resources. A series of questions and answers follows and 
describes the guidelines in some detail.

IV. Implementation Guidelines

A. Eligibility

1. Who May Participate in the TLIP?
    Federally recognized tribes in all parts of the United States, 
including: federally recognized tribes, pueblos, rancherias, and Alaska 
native villages or traditional councils as defined by the Alaska Native 
Claims Settlement Act.
2. Are State-Recognized Tribes or Petitioning Tribes Eligible To 
Receive Grants Under This Program?
    No. Only federally recognized tribes are eligible to receive grants 
under this program. Federally recognized tribes are listed in the 
Federal Register (67 FR 46238; July 12, 2002).
3. Can Tribal Organizations or Other Entities (Including Individual 
Indian Allottees) Receive Grants Under This Program?
    No. However, organizations or entities may participate as 
subgrantees or contractors to federally recognized tribes.
4. What Process Will the Service Use To Solicit and Receive Proposals 
for Funding?
    The Service will request proposals through a Federal Register 
notice, direct contact, and other forms of outreach to eligible 
applicants. The Service's Regional Directors will receive all 
5. Who Will Coordinate the Scoring of Grant Application Submissions?
    The Regional Native American Liaisons of the Service will 
coordinate the process to screen proposals to ensure that they are 
complete and to score them according to nationally uniform criteria. 
Tribes are encouraged to contact the Native American Liaison in the 
appropriate Regional Office identified in Table 1 under ADDRESSES for 
additional assistance in submitting proposals.
6. How Will the Various Grant Application Submissions Be Reviewed for 
    A national panel will review regionally ranked proposals for 
recommendations to the Director of the Service (Director).
7. Who Will Serve as the National Review Panel?
    The Regional Native American Liaisons will serve on the panel in 
addition to other Service and other Federal agency personnel, as 
appropriate, and as may be identified by the Director.

[[Page 44426]]

8. Will Tribal Representatives Be Involved in Reviewing or Ranking 
    No, only Federal employees will review and rank proposals in this 
initial year.
9. Who Will Make the Final Determination for Grant Approval?
    The Director will make the final determination for grant award.
10. How Will the Tribes Be Notified Whether or Not They Have Been 
Awarded Grants?
    Applicants will be notified by the Director through the Regional 
Native American Liaison as to whether or not they have been awarded 

B. Application Requirements

1. Is TLIP Exempt From Federal Grant Program Compliance?
    No, the TLIP program must comply with all Federal grant program 
compliance requirements as specified in 43 CFR part 12; OMB Circulars 
A-133, A-102, and A-87; and Service Manual Chapters 522 FW1 and 523 
FW1, except where specifically exempted. Tribal grantees are 
responsible for ensuring that subgrantees and contractors adhere to 
these requirements.
2. What Must Proposals Include for Participation in TLIP?
    Proposals must include a cover letter, program summary, program 
narrative, budget narrative, a completed Standard Form 424 Application 
for Federal Assistance (SF-424), and tribal resolution of support as 
described herein.

--A cover letter briefly states the main features of the proposed 
--A program summary describes, in one-half page, the type of activity 
that would take place if the Service funds the proposal.
--A program narrative clearly identifies the problems that the proposal 
will correct or help solve for the protection and management of habitat 
to benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other 
at-risk species on tribal lands, and the expected results or benefits. 
It must contain a needs assessment, objectives, timeline, methodology, 
geographic location (with maps), monitoring plan, and identification of 
clear, obtainable, and quantifiable goals and performance measures that 
will help achieve the management goals and objectives of the TLIP and 
relevant Service and tribal performance goals. The relevant Service 
goals are Goal 1 Sustainability of Fish and Wildlife Populations, 
including Migratory Bird Conservation (Goal 1.1), Imperiled Species 
(Goal 1.2), Interjurisdictional Fish (Goal 1.3), Marine Mammal 
Management (Goal 1.4), Species of International Concern (Goal 1.5), and 
Invasive Species (Goal 1.6); Goal 2, Habitat Conservation including; 
Habitat Conservation of Service Lands (Goal 2.3); and Mission Goal 4, 
Partnerships in Natural Resources, including Tribal Governments (Goal 
4.1) all of which can be found in the Service's Long-Term Strategic 
Plan for 2000 to 2005 at http://planning.fws.gov/USFWStrategicPlanv3.pdf.
 Related Service planning and results can be 
found at http://planning.fws.gov/.
--A budget narrative clearly justifies all proposed costs and indicates 
that the grantee will provide adequate management systems for fiscal 
and contractual accountability, including annual monitoring and 
evaluation of progress toward desired project objectives, goals, and 
performance measures. It should include discussion of direct cost items 
such as salaries, equipment, consultant services, subcontracts, and 
travel, as well as program matching or cost sharing information. If 
some partners will provide in-kind matching, they must be listed in the 
grant proposal with a letter of commitment from each. Applicants may 
cover new project administrative costs and the Tribal Indirect Cost 
Rate, but they cannot include pre-existing administrative costs.
--An SF-424 form will be included with the Grant Application Package 
and is available on the internet at http://training.fws.gov/fedaid/toolkit/sf424-f.pdf
--A resolution of support from the appropriate tribal governing body or 
from an individual with delegated tribal authority stating support for 
the proposal. If a resolution of support is not submitted with the 
proposal, one will be required prior to awarding the grant.
3. Where Can Applicants Obtain a Grant Proposal Package?
    Applicants can obtain a grant proposal package from the Native 
American Liaison in the appropriate Regional Office (see Table 1 under 
ADDRESSES) or at the Service's Grants Web site http://grants.fws.gov/tribal.html
4. Are Matching Funds Required?
    Yes, the Service requires a minimum of 25 percent non-Federal 
matching funds for participation in this program. This is the same 
matching contribution requirement States must make under the LIP.
5. Are In-Kind Contributions Eligible as Matching Funds?
    Yes, in-kind contributions provided by the tribe or a third party 
may be counted towards the required 25 percent non-federal matching 
requirement. Any in-kind contributions in excess of the required 25 
percent may be used as a match to improve the potential ranking of a 
proposal. The Federal Government has defined ``in-kind'' as non-cash 
contributions made by the tribe. In-kind contributions must be 
necessary and reasonable for carrying out the project, and must 
represent the same value that the Service would have paid for similar 
services or property if purchased on the open market. Allowable in-kind 
contributions are defined in 43 CFR 12.64. Additional information can 
be found at http://training.fws.gov/fedaid/toolkit/inkind.pdf.
6. Can a Tribe Submit More Than One Grant Proposal?
    Tribes are encouraged to submit a single comprehensive grant 
proposal but multiple proposals are allowable.
7. What Maximum Level of Project Funding Will Be Considered Under TLIP?
    The Service will award grants up to a maximum of $200,000. If more 
than one proposal is submitted by any one tribe, no more than $200,000 
total can be awarded to that tribe. This amount is approximately 5 
percent of the annual appropriation, and it allows for grants that are 
large enough to make a significant impact and be widely distributed.
8. What Minimum Level of Project Funding Will Be Considered Under TLIP?
    There is no proposal or grant award minimum, but the Service is 
concerned that an excess number of small grants could result in an 
undue administrative burden.

C. Ranking Criteria

What Ranking Criteria Will the Service Use?
    The Service will score proposals based on the following criteria: 
the Proposed Guidelines we assigned (67 FR 79131; December 27, 2002), 
specific point values to these criteria for the purpose of gaining 
public comment. Based on public comments and our understanding of 
Congressional intent in creating this program, the following

[[Page 44427]]

criteria were assigned relative values from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest).
    Benefit: What are the probable significant outcomes to protect and 
restore habitats that benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate 
species, or other at-risk species on tribal lands if this program is 
successfully completed? The Service requires that the tribe articulate 
how the benefits of its proposal support the goals and objectives of 
the TLIP and Service and tribal Performance Goals in its proposal 
narratives. Relative Value: 5.
    Performance Measures: To what extent does the proposal provide 
obtainable and quantifiable performance measures and means to monitor, 
evaluate, and report on these measures compared to an initial baseline? 
The measures should be specific and clear and should provide 
demonstrable benefits to the target species of the action. These 
actions must support the goals and objectives of the TLIP, the Service, 
and the tribe. Relative Value: 4.
    Work Plan: Are the program activities and objectives well-designed 
and achievable? Relative Value: 3.
    Budget: Are all major budget items justified in relation to the 
program objectives and clearly explained in the narrative description? 
Relative Value: 3.
    Capacity Building: To what extent does the program increase the 
grantee's capacity to implement actions and activities that protect and 
restore habitats that benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate 
species, or other at-risk species on tribal lands? Relative Value: 3.
    Contributions and Partnerships: To what extent does the applicant 
display commitment to the project proposal through in-kind contribution 
or matching funds and to what extent does it incorporate contributions 
from other non-Federal partners in the form of either cash or in-kind 
services? Relative Value: 3.

D. TLIP Operations and Management

1. Can Grantees Use TLIP Funds To Cover Costs of Environmental Review, 
Habitat Evaluation, Permit Review (e.g., Section 404), and Other 
Environmental Compliance Activities Associated With a TLIP Project or 
    Yes, the TLIP funds can cover these activities, provided they are 
directly related to the TLIP project or program being funded and are 
included in the budget and discussed in the program and budget 
2. What Activities Are Eligible Under TLIP?
    Eligible programs include those that improve, preserve, or maintain 
habitat for endangered, threatened, candidate, or other at-risk 
species. Examples of the types of projects within identified tribal 
programs that the Service may fund include using prescribed burning to 
restore grasslands that support imperiled species, fencing to exclude 
animals from sensitive habitats, or planting native vegetation to 
restore degraded habitat. Tribes may implement TLIP projects on a 
variety of lands, including reservations, individual allotments, fee-
lands, and village corporation and regional corporation lands in 
Alaska. Only activities that result in the protection and management of 
habitat that benefit listed, proposed, candidate, or other at-risk 
species are eligible for funding.
3. Are Any Specific Activities Not Allowable Under the Guidance of 
    A proposal cannot include activities required to comply with a 
Biological Opinion under the Endangered Species Act or include 
activities required to comply with a permit (e.g., mitigation 
responsibilities). However, a proposal can include activities that 
implement conservation recommendations or to cover the costs of 
environmental review, habitat evaluation, permit review, and other 
environmental compliance activities that are required because of the 
TLIP project, provided they are included in the budget and discussed in 
the Program and Budget Narratives. Research projects or archeological 
projects are not eligible.
4. What Species Are Considered Endangered, Threatened, Candidate, or 
    Those species federally listed as endangered or threatened under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, or species proposed or 
candidates for such listing, or at-risk species (e.g., species 
recognized as a species of conservation concern, such as species listed 
or identified by a State or a tribe).
5. Does the Term ``Private Lands'' in the Landowner Incentive Program 
Appropriation Language Exclude Tribal Trust Lands From Participation in 
    No, tribal trust lands are not ``public lands.'' For the purposes 
of inclusion under TLIP, federally recognized tribes are considered 
landowners and are eligible.
6. Is the TLIP Program a Continuous Revenue Source for Tribal Wildlife 
    No, there is no authorization for appropriation of funds beyond FY 
2003. Funds appropriated in FY 2003 are available until spent.
7. Can the Grantee Hold TLIP Funds in an Interest-Bearing Account?
    Funds can be held in an interest-bearing account, although any 
interest earned in excess of $100 must be returned to the fiscally 
responsible Federal agency (43 CFR 12.64).

E. Grant Award Procedures

1. What Additional Information Must Be Provided to the Service by the 
Grantees Once Awards Are Announced?
    Once the Director notifies grantees that their proposal was 
selected for funding, the recipient must submit a grant agreement and 
attachments as required by Federal regulations. As with our other 
Federal programs, TLIP agreements must comply with 43 CFR part 12, the 
National Environmental Policy Act, Section 7 of the Endangered Species 
Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, and all other applicable 
Federal laws and regulations. This grant program is also subject to 
provisions of Office of Management and Budget Circulars No. A-87, A-
102, and A-133 (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars).
2. Once Grants Are Awarded, Who Should the Grantee Consider as the Lead 
Contact Person?
    Once grants have been awarded, the grantee should consider the 
appropriate Regional Native American Liaison as the lead contact person 
for all matters pertaining to the particular award. Financial matters 
will be delegated to the Division of Federal Aid through the Native 
American Liaison.
3. When Will the Service Award TLIP Grants?
    Once the Service has reviewed and ranked all eligible TLIP grant 
proposals, the Director will make his final decision within 30 days of 
receiving the recommendations of the national review panel.
4. How Will Funds Be Disbursed Once the Service Has Awarded TLIP 
    Subsequent to funding approval, grant funds are electronically 
provided through the Department of Health and Human Services' SMARTLINK 
payment management system. Through this electronic funds transfer 
(EFT), grantees will be able to receive funds as needed. Some of the 
tribal grantees may not be EFT compliant. In order for us to ensure 
optimal service to potential grantees within the current Federal Aid 
process, grantees will need to obtain EFT capabilities compatible with 

[[Page 44428]]

SMARTLINK payment management system. Grantees may request an advance of 
no more than 25 percent of the total grant if the advance is documented 
in the grant agreement.
5. What Reporting Requirements Must Tribes Meet Once Funds Are 
Obligated Under a TLIP Grant Agreement?
    Quarterly Financial Status Reports (SF-272) which can be found at 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/sf272.pdf, must be submitted 
electronically. A final Financial Status Report (SF-269) which can be 
found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants/sf269.pdf, will be due to 
the Regional Office within 90 days of the grant agreement ending date. 
An annual performance report--including a list of project 
accomplishments relative to those which were planned in the grant 
agreement--will also be required within 90 days of the end of each 12-
month period. The effectiveness of each tribe's program, as reported in 
the annual performance reports, will be an important factor considered 
during the grant award selection process in subsequent years.
6. Is There a Limitation on the Amount of Funds That May Be Used for 
Administrative Costs?
    Yes, no more than 12 percent of program funds can be used for staff 
and related administrative costs. If more than 12 percent is necessary 
to properly and efficiently operate the program, a waiver of this 
limitation may be provided by the Regional Director based on a written 
justification explaining why such a waiver is necessary.

V. Procedural Requirements

A. Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    This policy document identifies proposed eligibility criteria and 
selection factors that may be used to award grants under TLIP. The 
Service developed this policy to ensure consistent and adequate 
evaluation of grant proposals that are voluntarily submitted and to 
help prospective applicants understand how the Service will award 
grants. According to Executive Order 12866, this policy document is 
significant and has been reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) in accordance with the four criteria discussed below.
    1. TLIP will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a 
sector of the economy, productivity, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or State or local communities. The Department of the 
Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 
2002 allowed the Secretary to create TLIP. In addition, grants that are 
funded will generate other, secondary benefits, including benefits to 
natural systems (e.g., air, water) and local economies. All of these 
benefits are widely distributed and are not likely to be significant in 
any single location. It is likely that some residents where projects 
are initiated will experience some level of benefit, but quantifying 
these effects at this time is not possible. We do not expect the sum of 
all the benefits from this program, however, to have an annual effect 
on the economy of $100 million or more.
    2. We do not believe the TLIP would create inconsistencies with 
other agencies' actions. Congress has given the Service the 
responsibility to administer this program.
    3. As a new grant program, the TLIP would not materially alter the 
budgetary impact of entitlements, user fees, loan programs, or the 
rights and obligations of their recipients. This policy document 
establishes a new grant program, authorized by Pub. L. 107-63, which 
should make greater resources available to applicants. The submission 
of grant proposals is completely voluntary, but necessary to receive 
benefits. When an applicant decides to submit a grant proposal, the 
proposed eligibility criteria and selection factors identified in this 
policy can be construed as requirements placed on the awarding of the 
grants. Additionally, we will place further requirements on grantees 
who are selected to receive funding under the TLIP program in order to 
obtain and retain the benefit they are seeking. These requirements 
include specific Federal financial management and reporting 
requirements as well as specific habitat improvements or other 
management activities described in the applicant's grant proposal.
    4. OMB has determined that this policy raises novel legal or policy 
issues, and, as a result, this document has undergone OMB review.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended, whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of 
rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effects of the rule on small entities (e.g., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
Indian tribes are not considered to be small entities for purposes of 
the Act and, consequently, no regulatory flexibility analysis has been 

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996

    This implementation guidance is not considered a major rule under 
the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996 
(5 U.S.C. 804(2)) because it does not have an annual effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more. The yearly amount of TLIP program 
funds is limited to $3,974,000.
    This implementation guidance will not cause a major increase in 
costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, 
or local government agencies, or geographic regions. Actions under this 
implementation guidance will distribute Federal funds to Indian tribal 
governments and tribal entities for purposes consistent with activities 
similar to other Service programs designed to enable landowners to 
protect and conserve species as may be protected under the Endangered 
Species Act and the habitat that supports such species.
    This implementation guidance does not have significant adverse 
effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or the ability of United States-based enterprises to 
compete with foreign-based enterprises.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    This implementation guidance would not impose unfunded mandates as 
defined by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4, 
March 22, 1995, 109 Stat. 48). This guidance will not result in the 
expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year (2 
U.S.C. 1532).

E. Takings Implication Assessment (Executive Order 12630)

    This implementation guidance does not have significant ``takings'' 
implications. This implementation guidance does not pertain to 
``taking'' of private property interests, and its impact on private 
property would be an incentive that is totally landowner driven.

F. Executive Order 13211--Energy Effects

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211, which 
speaks to regulations that significantly affect

[[Page 44429]]

energy supply, distribution, and use. The Executive Order requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. This implementation guidance is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
no Statement of Energy Effects has been prepared.

G. Executive Order 13132--Federalism

    This implementation guidance does not have significant Federalism 
effects because it pertains solely to Federal-tribal relations and will 
not interfere with the roles, rights, and responsibilities of States.

H. Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    This implementation guidance does not unduly burden the judicial 
system and meets the applicable standards provided in sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Executive Order 12988.

I. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    This implementation guidance does not constitute a Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The 
Service has determined that the issuance of the implementation guidance 
is categorically excluded under the Department of the Interior's NEPA 
procedures in 516 DM 2, Appendix 1, and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1. The 
Service will be responsible for ensuring that grants funded through 
TLIP are in compliance with NEPA.

J. Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments 
(Executive Order 13175)

    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000, 
``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,'' we 
have committed to consulting with tribal representatives in the 
finalization of the implementation guidance for the TLIP. We have 
evaluated any potential effects on federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that there are no potential adverse effects. This 
guidance expands tribal participation in Service programs and allows 
for opportunities for tribal wildlife management and conservation 
initiatives across Indian Country. We will continue to consult with 
tribal governments and tribal entities as a part of the policymaking 
process, and beyond in furthering our mutual goals for the TLIP.

K. Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501)

    The information collection requirements of this program will be 
largely met through the Federal Aid Grants Application Booklet. Federal 
Aid has OMB approval for this information collection under Control 
Number 1018-1019. This approval applies to grants managed by the 
Division of Federal Aid, even if these grants are for other Divisions 
of the Service. We are collecting this information relevant to the 
eligibility, substantiality, relative value, and budget information 
from applicants in order to make awards of grants under these programs. 
We are collecting financial and performance information to track costs 
and accomplishments of these grant programs. 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.

VI. Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    On December 27, 2002, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
published the proposed guidelines for the Tribal Wildlife Grant program 
(TLIP) with an open comment period of 1 month (67 FR 79133). On January 
27, 2003, the Service had received a total of 41 comment submissions. 
Thirty tribes, 4 tribal organizations, 2 private enterprises, 1 
organization, and 4 Federal entities provided suggestions for these 
proposed guidelines. These comments are addressed below.
    In part I,. Background, we asked several questions of particular 
concern to the Service regarding a limit on the amount of funding to be 
made available to any one tribe, our adherence to Congressional intent 
in the proposed guidelines, and what type of entities were eligible to 
participate in the TLIP. The responses for comments are summarized in 
the corresponding sections below.
    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section A., 
Eligibility (1-3), we proposed a competitive program in which only 
federally recognized tribes would be able to apply for funding, but 
stipulated that tribal organizations and other non-Federal entities may 
enter into grant agreements as contractors or subgrantees to federally 
recognized tribes. It was also proposed that non-federally recognized 
tribes be excluded from submitting proposals.
    Seven comments specifically stated that only federally recognized 
tribes should be eligible to enter into grant agreements, with one 
asking that the term, ``federally recognized tribe'' be fully explained 
by incorporating the inclusion of federally recognized tribes; pueblos; 
rancherias; Alaska native villages or traditional councils as defined 
by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; and tribal governing bodies 
as recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), such as Indian 
Reorganization Act councils or tribal entities that have received Self 
Governance status under the Self Governance Act. No comments advocated 
for the inclusion of tribes that are not recognized by the Federal 
Government, although nine noted their agreement with their exclusion 
from participating in TLIP. Two comments advocated for the inclusion of 
individual Indian trust land allotment owners as eligible direct 
    Five comments agreed that tribal organizations may participate as 
contractors or subgrantees but not as direct applicants to TLIP. Two 
stated that only federally recognized tribes should be eligible. Three 
comments advocated for the inclusion of consortia of federally 
recognized tribes as eligible participants in TLIP as direct 
    Response: Congress specified the TLIP is only for federally 
recognized Indian tribes, which includes Alaskan Native Villages, but 
Congress did not include tribal organizations or consortia. Tribal 
organizations, consortia, commissions, or other non-tribal entities are 
not directly eligible to receive grants, but may participate as 
subgrantees or contractors to federally recognized Indian tribes. 
Individual Indian allottees are not eligible grantees through TLIP but 
are encouraged to work with States and tribes as subgrantees or 
    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section A., 
Eligibility (4), it was proposed that the Service would request 
proposals through a Federal Register notice and other forms of outreach 
and that proposals be received by the respective Regional Directors. 
One comment suggested that proposals should be ranked and selected for 
approval at the Regional level, and two others simply agreed with the 
proposed system.
    Response: The delivery of TLIP will be conducted by the Regional 
Native American Liaisons at the Regional level. The submission of 
proposals to the Regional Directors is consistent with the Regional 
delivery process. However, because this is a national program, the 
national review and screening of proposals is appropriate. The 
authority to make final decisions on proposals to be funded lies with 
the Director of the Service.

[[Page 44430]]

    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section A., 
Eligibility (5-9), the Service proposed that the Native American 
Liaisons in each Regional Office coordinate the screening and ranking 
of project proposals on the basis of nationally uniform criteria. A 
national panel would then review the Regionally-ranked proposals for 
recommendation to the Director for selection. The proposed panels would 
be made up of Service and other Federal personnel. The Director will 
make the final proposal selections on the basis of these 
    Four respondents noted their agreement with nationally uniform 
ranking criteria, and two favored regional ranking. Three advocated for 
a geographic or population based component to the selection of 
    Response: TLIP is a competitive program for federally recognized 
Indian tribes regardless of geographic, land, or population based 
components. All tribes are equally eligible to submit proposals. 
Therefore, the use of nationally uniform criteria is appropriate for 
ranking proposals at both the Regional and National levels.
    The Service will screen and score proposals in the Regional 
Offices. A national panel will then make recommendations to the 
Director based on these outcomes.
    The Service examined various possible formulas for selecting 
proposals based on land area and other factors but was unable to 
identify any formula that adequately considered the wide variability 
among tribes, including their land base, population, and distribution 
across the United States.
    Of the comments received on the proposed makeup of the panel, 21 
agreed and provided suggestions as to which other Service or other 
Federal personnel should be involved. One respondent stated that the 
Regional Native American Liaisons should act in an advisory capacity to 
the ranking team, and one stated that Regional Native American Liaisons 
should be excused from ranking Regional proposals. Fourteen submissions 
advocated for the inclusion of tribal representation in the ranking 
process; of these, two specifically identified the Native American Fish 
and Wildlife Society as an appropriate resource to serve this purpose.
    Response: The Regional and National panels will consist of Service 
fish and wildlife professionals and other Federal agency personnel 
knowledgeable of Native American natural resource issues. The comments 
received will be considered in the selection of panel members. Regional 
Native American Liaisons will coordinate the screening and scoring of 
proposals and will act in an advisory capacity to the Regional panels. 
They will not participate in the actual screening or scoring of 
proposals. The Regional Native American Liaisons will serve on the 
national review panel along with other Service personnel to make 
recommendations to the Director for selection.
    TLIP Proposed Guidelines state that ``the Director will make the 
final determination for grant approval.'' Six respondents stated their 
agreement with this language. Three suggested that the national review 
team be capable of making the final decision on accepting proposals 
through consensus, and one stated that the Regional Native American 
Liaisons should rank and award proposals in their respective Regions. 
In addition to these comments, it was suggested that an appeal process 
should be included for proposals that are not selected.
    Response: Because this is a nationally competitive program, the 
Secretary's authority is delegated solely to the Director, who will 
review recommendations and make final selections. Proposals which are 
not selected will receive information to improve their chances of 
future selection.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (1), states that TLIP is not exempt from any 
of the Federal grant program compliance requirements as specified in 43 
CFR part 12, OMB Circulars A-102 and A-87, and Service Manual Chapters 
522 FW1 and 523 FW1. Two comments addressed this issue, both in 
agreement, but one called for the inclusion of language that identified 
the tribe's fiduciary responsibility over contractees.
    Response: The language in the proposed notice will be amended to 
indicate Tribal grantees' responsibility for ensuring that subgrantees 
and contractors adhere to these requirements.
    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B,. 
Application Requirements (2), general inclusions for proposals in the 
TLIP program are addressed. They include a Cover Letter, Program 
Summary, Program Narrative, Budget Narrative, and Resolution of 
Support. Two general comments on this section were received; one stated 
approval of the proposed components of the grant proposal, and another 
noted the necessity of keeping the process as simple as possible to 
alleviate the administrative burden on the applicant.
    Response: Comments noted.
    No comments were received on the requirement of a Cover Letter or 
Program Summary.
    Nine respondents commented on the requirement of a Program 
Narrative. Eight advocated for the inclusion and/or prioritization of 
tribal goals rather than ``relevant Service Performance Goals.'' Two 
asked that Service Goals, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and Mission Goal in 
Partnerships 4.1 be included, and one respondent stated that the 
Service should delete this criterion or incorporate tribal goals.
    Response: TLIP funding is to establish, or supplement existing, 
landowner incentive programs that provide technical and financial 
assistance, including habitat protection and restoration, to private 
landowners for the protection and management of habitat to benefit 
federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk 
species on private lands as stated in the appropriations language. The 
care and maintenance of the nation's fish and wildlife resources is 
dependent on cooperative efforts of partners. The Service's performance 
goals articulate the importance of tribal partnerships in Mission Goal 
4.1 and the broad range of mutually beneficial resource accomplishments 
that can result from partnership actions. The final guidance has been 
modified to include Mission Goal 4.1 Tribal Partnerships, and resource-
related goals, including 1.1; 1.2; 1.3; 1.4; 1.5; 1.6, Sustainability 
of Fish and Wildlife Populations http://planning.fws.gov/tableofcon.html
    No comments were received on the material under the heading Budget 
    Seven comments were submitted regarding the requirement of a 
Resolution of Support from the appropriate tribal governing body that 
supports the proposed project. One expressly opposed this requirement. 
Six said that often it is not reasonable to expect a tribal governing 
body to meet during the open period for submitting grant proposals. 
Several comments proposed remedies that would allow for a letter of 
support from the ``duly elected leader of the tribe'' or the ``tribal 
Chair or Councilperson.''
    Response: The requirement for a Resolution of Support is an 
assurance that the tribal governing body supports the proposed project 
and the actions necessary to realize the natural resource benefits 
identified in the proposal. The Service recognizes that there could be 
times when a tribal resolution of support for a proposal may not be 
logistically possible. The Service will amend the requirement to accept 
a letter or signed endorsement from an

[[Page 44431]]

individual with delegated tribal authority. If a resolution of support 
is not submitted with the proposal, one will be required from the 
tribal governing body prior to the Service's awarding of the grant.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (3), states that the proposal package will be 
made available through the Service's Regional Native American Liaisons. 
Two comments pointed out that they would like to be able to download 
the proposal package from the Internet and one comment noted support 
for the proposed process.
    Response: The Service is required to provide access to application 
packages through as many sources as available. Therefore, application 
guidelines and packages for this grant program can be obtained through 
Regional Native American Liaisons as well as through the Service's Web 
site at http://grants.fws.gov/tribal.html.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (4), states that matching funds are required 
in the amount of 25 percent derived from non-Federal sources. One 
respondent stated that tribal support is nonenforceable and could be 
used as a tool by applicants to unfairly weight their proposals (either 
unwittingly or intentionally) and that this criterion is not meaningful 
and should be waived. Fourteen comments asked that the Service 
eliminate or decrease matching funds requirement and cited the Service 
Policy on Waivers for tribal governments as justification for doing so. 
One asked that we implement a provision to waive this criterion for 
tribes with demonstrated hardship, and three agreed with the 25 percent 
    Response: The Service has identified those costs that are 
considered allowable as in-kind contributions or matching funds in 
Service Manual 522 FW 1 and in 43 CFR 12.64. A grantee can provide 
materials, equipment, or other services as a noncash match for portions 
of the grantee's matching share. The value of land may be provided, 
including the land proposed for restoration, enhancement, or management 
as a non-cash match, provided that the land or associated costs are 
necessary and reasonable for completing the project. We will keep the 
match requirement to encourage partnerships and leverage funds whenever 
    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (5), the Service outlines the proposed 
allowance for in-kind contributions as meeting a matching funds 
requirement and provides additional information as to how it defines 
in-kind Contributions. One respondent agreed, and one disagreed, 
stating that doing so would add no value to a proposal. Three asked 
that funds derived from Pub. L. 93-638 be considered as allowable for 
matching funds, in accordance with established BIA protocol.
    Response: The Service, recognizes the benefits of partnering with 
private, local, or State agencies, and wishes to encourage the efforts 
of those that do provide partnership opportunities for the benefit of 
fish and wildlife resources. Funds derived from Pub. L. 93-638 can be 
identified to meet the matching funds requirement.
    In part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (6), the Service indicated that tribes are 
encouraged to submit a single proposal but may submit additional 
proposals if all of the funds are not expended. Three comments agreed 
that one proposal is sufficient long as the tribe can bundle, several 
projects, with the understanding that portions may be rejected. One 
stated that a single proposal is a good target but should not exclude 
multiple proposals outright. Two advocated for multiple proposals and 
one asked the Service to definitively state whether one or multiple 
proposals are allowable. A final comment noted that one proposal is 
reasonable but should not preclude a tribe from participating if it is 
part of a consortium (if allowed) that has been awarded funds as a 
subgrantee or contractor.
    Response: Tribes are encouraged to submit one proposal, but 
multiple proposals are allowable.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section B., 
Application Requirements (7 and 8), recommends no minimum and that a 
maximum of approximately 5 percent of available funds ($200,000) be 
implemented. Depending upon the number of proposals submitted and the 
relative merit of each, some applicants may receive greater amounts. 
One recommendation stated that a $5,000 minimum be placed on proposals 
to relieve administrative burden on the Service. Sixteen comments 
supported 5 percent as a nonbinding target but not as a strict cap. 
Other comments suggested a 1, 2 or 2.5 percent or a $75,000 cap on 
proposals. One comment advocated for a cap based on the land base of 
projects, but did not offer any further explanation. Three disagreed 
with the proposed 5 percent and advocated for no cap at all. It was 
also suggested that the Service state clearly if a limit is an actual 
cap or simply a target. Another agreed that a maximum needs to be 
established but offered no recommendation.
    Response: The Service will award grants up to a maximum of $200,000 
per proposal with no more than $200,000 total awarded to any one tribe. 
There is no proposal or grant award minimum but the Service is 
concerned that an excess number of small grants could result in an 
undue administrative burden.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section C., Ranking 
Criteria offers a proposed weighting system by which the Service can 
determine a relative score for proposals, including Benefit, 
Performance Measures, Work Plan, Budget, Capacity Building, Commitment, 
Partnerships, and Administrative Costs. One general comment on the 
Ranking Criteria was to make them as close as possible to those of the 
Service's Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). An additional comment asks 
that the Service better define what this program's priorities are.
    Response: TLIP funds are handled differently from LIP funds because 
tribal lands are not predominantly private lands and because tribes are 
inherently different from States. Congress included tribes in the LIP 
program but did not provide further guidance in accounting for these 
inherent differences. TLIP accommodates these differences as necessary 
but is similar to LIP where possible. Ranking criteria will be more 
clearly defined in the TLIP guidance.
    Regarding the Benefit of proposals, 13 comments advocated adding 
emphasis to this criterion. Two agreed, provided tribes are permitted 
to set their own goals and priorities to determine which species are to 
benefit. Two respondents stated that tribal priorities should take 
precedence over the Service's. One comment favored increasing the 
emphasis on federally listed endangered species (as identified in the 
Endangered Species Act), and another specifically suggested that no 
special preference be placed upon them. A final comment stated that 
preference should be given to tribes with Integrated Resource 
Management Plans or Natural Resource Management Plans.
    Response: The cumulative maximum of 25 points for Benefit (0-25) 
and 20 points for Performance Measures (0-20) already places high value 
on the extent to which the project will benefit fish and wildlife 
resources. Together these criteria measure value or benefit, for a 
total score of 30 points. The Service agrees that benefits will be 
measured against tribal fish and wildlife goals. The Service requires 
that tribes

[[Page 44432]]

articulate how their proposals help support the goals and objectives of 
the TLIP and Service Performance Goals in their proposal narratives.
    By including ``activities that protect and restore habitats that 
benefit federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-
risk species'' tribes are provided with discretion to implement 
projects that benefit species of conservation concern and species of 
cultural importance. Special emphasis will not be placed on federally 
listed endangered species as this is not the focus of this grant 
    Under the heading Performance Measures, five comments called for an 
emphasis to this criterion. Two suggested that the Service de-emphasize 
it. Three comments suggested that tribal goals be included, and three 
others called for the inclusion of Service Goals, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, and 
Mission Goal in Partnerships 4.1.
    Response: The Service believes that quantifiable performance 
measures are an important ranking criterion. This criterion is weighted 
adequately in the ranking process. Tribes are required to articulate 
how their proposals help support the goals and objectives of the TLIP 
and Service and tribal Performance Goals in their proposal narratives 
in the Benefit criterion. Four comments suggested an added emphasis to 
the Work Plan criterion, and one supported the proposed emphasis on the 
Budget criterion.
    Response: The Service believes these criteria are adequately 
emphasized in the ranking process.
    Six respondents felt that emphasis should be added to the Capacity 
Building criterion, and one stated further that such projects should be 
favored in future funding periods. Two asked that the Service remove or 
de-emphasize this criterion, and two agreed with it as proposed.
    Response: The Service believes that this criterion is adequately 
emphasized. Many tribes have limited capacity to develop and implement 
programs for the protection and management of habitat to benefit 
federally listed, proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk 
species, and TLIP provides an excellent opportunity to increase their 
capacity. The Service believes that TLIP can enhance the capacity for 
all tribes to implement programs for the benefit of fish and wildlife, 
even tribes with relatively sophisticated fish and wildlife 
    Under the heading Commitment, 17 respondents asked that the Service 
remove or de-emphasize this criterion, 1 agreed with it and 1 advocated 
for further emphasis. One final respondent suggested that if this match 
is a ``requirement,'' we should consider lessening the commitment or 
waiving it in cases of demonstrated hardship.
    Response: The Service is sensitive to the concerns expressed by 
many of those commenting on the matching requirements for TLIP. 
However, Congress specifically requires that tribes make a commitment 
to their projects and provide a match for these funds in order to 
leverage Federal dollars. The Service specifically set a low match 
requirement (25 percent) relative to other Federal grant programs to 
address this. Many grant programs now require a 100 percent match. In 
addition, the Service will accept a variety of forms of support from 
the tribes to meet the match requirement, including cash, in-kind 
support, equipment, and materials.
    Eighteen comments on the Partnerships criterion ask that the 
Service remove or de-emphasize this criterion as proposed. One 
suggested that letters of support should be considered if funds for a 
match are not available, and one advocated for an allowance for 
``partnerships'' that include non-Federal partners.
    Response: Partnerships are an increasingly essential tool in the 
management of natural resources. The Service believes that tribes 
developing partnerships with other organizations to implement projects 
under TLIP should be rewarded in the proposal ranking process. The 
Service agrees that this criterion should be de-emphasized and has 
reduced the relative value of this criterion. Tribes are especially 
encouraged to partner with non-Federal entities in order to better 
leverage Federal dollars and provide greater benefit to Federal 
taxpayers. In the final guidance Partnerships and Commitment criteria 
have been combined into a new category, Contributions and Partnerships.
    Five comments asked that the Service remove or de-emphasize the 
proposed Administrative Costs criterion, and two agreed with this 
criterion as proposed. Four comments advocated for not considering the 
tribal indirect cost rate as administrative cost, and one suggested 
that the Service specify an allowable amount for indirect cost rates. 
One comment suggested a limit on allowable administrative costs. Nine 
comments advocated for making an allowance for staff or seasonal 
employees by removing the word ``staff'' from the proposed language. 
Two agreed with the proposed emphasis on Administrative Costs.
    Response: Administrative Costs is eliminated from the ranking 
criteria. We have, however, limited the total amount of the grant that 
can be used for administrative costs to 12 percent unless a waiver is 
granted by the Regional Director.
    Under Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., 
TLIP Operations and Management (1), proposes that TLIP funds can be 
used to cover the costs of environmental review, habitat evaluation, 
permit review, and other environmental compliance activities associated 
with a TLIP project, provided they are included in the budget and 
discussed in the Program and Budget Narratives. Two comments agreed 
with this language, and one asked that the allowable activities further 
specify that TLIP funds may be used to address the costs of adhering to 
tribal environmental compliance activities.
    The Service concurs and does not specify at what level of 
environmental compliance (Federal, State, tribal, etc.) TLIP funds can 
be used, so long as they are directly related to the TLIP project or 
program being funded and are included in the budget and discussed in 
the program and budget narratives.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 
Operations and Management (2), broadly defines the activities that are 
eligible for funding under TLIP. Three comments called for greater 
detail in definitions and explanation of the intent of TLIP and 
provided suggested language to better define tribal lands, wildlife, 
conservation, Tribal Fish and Game department or Tribal Fish and 
Wildlife department and wildlife restoration project. One other comment 
called for the allowance of research projects, and another advocated 
for the inclusion of archeological surveys by Tribal Historic 
Preservation Officers.
    Response: Congress specified that TLIP grants are to be used to 
establish or supplement programs that provide technical and financial 
assistance, including habitat protection and restoration, to tribes for 
the protection and management of habitat to benefit federally listed, 
proposed, or candidate species, or other at-risk species on private 
lands. The Service believes that tribes may implement TLIP projects on 
a variety of lands in ``Indian Country,'' including reservations, 
individual allotments, fee-lands, and village corporation and regional 
corporation lands in Alaska. Only activities that result in the 
protection and management of habitat and benefit listed, proposed, 
candidate, or other at-risk species are eligible for funding. Research 
projects or archeological projects are not eligible.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 

[[Page 44433]]

and Management (3), defines which activities are not allowable under 
TLIP. It states that inclusion of activities required to comply with a 
Biological Opinion or activities required to comply with a permit 
(e.g., mitigation activities) is not allowable. However, a proposal can 
include activities that implement conservation recommendations. Two 
comments expressed concern that no TLIP funds should be diverted to any 
nontribal mandates, court directives, or Federal activities required to 
uphold the trust responsibility. One comment asked that ``Biological 
Opinion'' be further defined. Two comments advocated for allowing for 
mitigation costs associated with compliance activities related to the 
Endangered Species Act.
    Response: All TLIP funds will be awarded to Tribes and will not be 
diverted to any nontribal mandates, court directives, or Federal 
activities required to uphold the trust responsibility. The Service 
appreciates the proposed language but disagrees with the inclusion of 
``court directive and Federal agency mandate or directive'' to excluded 
activities because it would place additional restrictions on tribal 
proposals. ``Biological Opinion'' refers to Biological Opinions with 
regard to the Endangered Species Act and this is clarified in the 
``Definitions'' section.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 
Operations and Management (4), defines what species are considered 
endangered, threatened, candidate or, at risk. Seven respondents asked 
that ``species at risk'' be further defined. One of these suggested 
that the Service define ``species at risk'' as any federally listed, 
proposed, candidate animal or plant species or other species of concern 
as determined by a tribe or a State and, further, that species 
classified as such should be identified in the proposal. One respondent 
asked that it should be made clear whether plant species are included.
    Response: For the purposes of TLIP, the Service defines ``species 
at risk'' as any federally listed, proposed, candidate animal or plant 
species or other species of concern as determined by a tribe or a State 
and, further, that species classified as such should be identified in 
the proposal.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 
Operations and Management (5), indicates that tribal trust lands are 
not public lands and that federally recognized tribes are, for the 
purposes of participation in TLIP, considered the ``landowners.'' Two 
comments stated that all tribal (land) interests be eligible for 
    Response: TLIP project funds may be expended on all ``Tribal 
Lands'' as defined in Section II. Of this Notice.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 
Operations and Management (6), states that TLIP is not a continuous 
revenue source. Two comments advocated for making the TLIP program a 
continuing source for funding.
    Response: Because TLIP is an annual Congressional allocation, it is 
subject to further actions by Congress and cannot be considered a 
continuing source for funding.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section D., TLIP 
Operations and Management (7), states that TLIP funds cannot be held in 
an interest-bearing account. Two comments suggested otherwise.
    Response: Federal law allows funds to be held in an interest-
bearing account, although any interest earned on such funds in excess 
of $100 must be returned to the fiscally responsible Federal agency (43 
CFR 12.64).
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section E., Grant 
Award Procedures (1), defines what additional information must be 
included by the grantees once awards are announced. One comment 
supported the proposed language.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section E., Grant 
Award Procedures (2), states that the lead contact after award 
announcements should be the Native American Liaison in the grantee's 
respective Region. One comment advocated for a contact in the Service's 
Division of Federal Aid to be identified as the initial contact, and 
one comment agreed with the proposed language.
    Response: The Native American Liaison will be the lead contact for 
technical implementation assistance, and the Division of Federal Aid 
will serve as the principal financial contact.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section E., Grant 
Award Procedures (3), states that the Service will award grants within 
30 days of the recommendations provided by the national review panel. 
One comment suggested that a timeline be provided for acceptance and 
selection of awards, and one comment simply agreed with the stipulated 
    Response: A timeline for acceptance and selection of awards is 
included in the Grant Application Package.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section E., Grant 
Award Procedures (4), states that funds will be disbursed, subsequent 
to funding approval, through the Department of Health and Human 
Services' SMARTLINK electronic funds transfer (EFT) system. And, that 
in the instance of demonstrated hardship or need, grantees may request 
up to 25 percent of the grant award.
    One comment said that the Service's Division of Federal Aid be 
contacted for guidance on compliance with Cash Management Act regarding 
``Reimbursable'' as stated in the complete text. Six comments stated 
that if the Service has the ability to allocate 25 percent of the 
project funds up front, given demonstrated hardship or need, then all 
grantees should be eligible without demonstrating hardship or need. Two 
comments advocated for increasing the initial draw down, one suggested 
40 percent, and the other was nonspecific.
    Response: The Service will advance up to 25 percent of the total 
award upon request by the grantee.
    Three disagreed with the proposed reimbursable mechanism, saying it 
presents an undue burden on tribes, and asked to have access to funds 
quarterly or as a lump sum transfer at the onset of a project. Two 
comments asked if all tribes are EFT compliant, and one suggested that 
the Service explore a similar process for allocating funds through 
contracting as in Pub. L. 93-638.
    Response: Further clarification of the proposed EFT is necessary to 
explain that funds will be ``reimbursed'' as needed, rather than upon 
receipt of proof of expenditure. We feel that this does not place a 
financial burden on the tribes. All Tribes are capable of EFT. Pub. L. 
93-638 is a unique mechanism that transfers funds to a tribe for 
programs that are specifically established for a tribe because of its 
status as a tribe and enables the recipient tribe to allocate such 
funds to address other relevant needs and is therefore not consistent 
with Congressional intent to use such a device.
    Part II., Proposed Implementation Guidelines, section E., Grant 
Award Procedures (5), addresses the reporting requirements tribes must 
meet once funds are obligated under a TLIP grant agreement. One comment 
suggested that language be included to indicate that tribes will be 
obligated to comply with NEPA, ESA, National Historic Preservation Act, 
and other relevant Acts. Another comment suggested that the benefits 
and outcomes of the TWG program be reported to Congress.
    Response: TLIP projects are subject to legal requirements of 
Federal regulatory Acts in the context of established Federal/Tribal 

[[Page 44434]]

    Response: A summary of benefits and outcomes of the TWG program 
will be made available to interested Congressional representatives.
    Part III., Procedural Requirements, sections A., Regulatory 
Planning and Review; B., Regulatory Flexibility Act; C., Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act; D., Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; 
E., Takings Implications Order; F., Energy Effects; G., Federalism; and 
H., Civil Justice Reform, received no comments, although two pertinent 
general comments suggested that a section be added to clarify how the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will apply to information submitted 
by tribes.
    Response: The Service will work with the Tribes to ensure that 
sensitive information is protected.
    Part III., Procedural Requirements, sections I., National 
Environmental Policy Act, drew one comment that asked the Service to 
better determine what is meant in the proposed guidelines by the phrase 
``Service will ensure that grants funded through the TLIP program are 
in compliance with NEPA.''
    Response: A completed NEPA Checklist and appropriate environmental 
information will be required in the Grant Narrative from the grantee 
for review and concurrence by the Service.
    Part III., Procedural Requirements, section J., Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, and K., Paperwork 
Reduction Act, were not commented on.
    Part IV., Native American Liaisons for the Fish and Wildlife 
Service, was not commented upon.
    General Comments: Several comments did not readily fit into the 
above categories. The Service has responded to these comments below.
    1. Three comments asked that the Service distinguish between treaty 
and nontreaty rights.
    Response: The Service recognizes that treaty rights involve unique 
responsibilities defining specific rights to treaty-recognized tribes 
and will work to address them where appropriate within the grant 
    2. Two general comments stated that there should be no Service 
administrative cost associated with implementation of this program.
    Response: There is no provision to fund the Service's 
administrative costs incurred in the implementation of this program 
elsewhere. Therefore, 3 percent of the available funds may be used to 
cover these costs.
    3. One comment suggested that the funds for FY 02 and FY 03 be 
lumped into one proposal period. This same comment recommends that the 
Service allow for multiyear projects.
    Response: In the adoption of the Department of the Interior and 
Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2003, FY 02 funds under the 
Landowner Incentive Program (including TLIP) were rescinded by 
    4. One respondent advocated for increasing the amount of available 
funds in TLIP, and three advocated for future funding.
    Response: TLIP is a 10 percent internal earmark by the Service on 
the Landowner Incentive Program, which is a Congressional 
appropriation. The Service is committed under current funding 
conditions to continue to support the TLIP program.
    5. One respondent asked that the Service define the role of public 
opinion in ranking/selection of proposals.
    Response: The Service will work to address public comments with the 
intent of enhancing the administration of TLIP for the benefit of 
federally recognized tribes.
    6. One comment suggested that the Service allow for proposals that 
combine TLIP and Tribal Wildlife Grant funds.
    Response: The Service must administer each grant as directed by 
Congress, and each program differs to some degree, limiting our ability 
to establish identical criteria.
    7. Two respondents stated that there should be no time limit on 
expenditure of funds.
    Response: After appropriation, TLIP funds are available until 
expended. However, grant agreements will be written for an appropriate 
amount of time to complete the project. Grant agreement periods are 
negotiable, and funds must be expended within 90 days following the end 
date of the grant agreement.
    8. Two respondents suggested that the Service require postmarks on 
proposals showing the due date.
    Response: Proposals postmarked, hand-delivered or otherwise sent in 
by the due date will be accepted for the grant review process.
    9. One comment advocated allowing funds to roll over into the next 
fiscal year.
    Response: This is allowable under Service guidelines and is 
recognized as a necessary option for the success of project 
    10. One comment suggested that the Service allow for an 8-week 
response period for the Request For Proposals (RFP).
    Response: In order to address the need to expedite the selection 
and awarding of proposals, the Service has set the RFP period for the 
TLIP 45 days. The Service feels that this period is sufficient for 
tribes to prepare proposals.
    11. One comment suggested that the Service allocate funds as 
quickly as possible after awards are made.
    Response: It is the Service's intent to accomplish this task, and a 
timeline will be provided in the Grant Application Kit.
    12. One comment suggested that the Service apply the same criteria 
to both TLIP and TWG.
    Response: The Service must administer each grant as directed by 
Congressional appropriation language which differ to some degree for 
each grant, thus limiting our ability to establish identical criteria 
for the two grant processes.

    Dated: May 3, 2003.
H. Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary, Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-19120 Filed 7-25-03; 8:45 am]