Funding: Total: TBD. Maximum awards: $2M, depending on project.
Dates: Application Submission Deadline: December 9, 2021 at 4PM MDT
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Department) WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Program provides a framework for Federal leadership and assistance to stretch and secure water supplies for future generations in support of the Department’s priorities. Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) leverages Federal and non-Federal funding to work cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply sustainability through investments in existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. The objective of this Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is to invite eligible applicants to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on Environmental Water Resources Projects, including water conservation and efficiency projects that result in quantifiable and sustained water savings and benefit ecological values; water management or infrastructure improvements to mitigate drought-related impacts to ecological values; and watershed management or restoration projects benefitting ecological values that have a nexus to water resources or water resources management.
Project Topic Areas:
Eligible projects may include, but are not limited to:
1. Water conservation and efficiency projects that result in quantifiable and sustained water savings and benefit ecological values.
2. Water management or infrastructure improvements to mitigate drought-related impacts to ecological values. To be eligible under this category, projects must provide benefits directly related to the impacts of drought or potential drought.
3. Watershed management or restoration projects benefitting ecological values that have a nexus to water resources or water resources management. To be eligible under this category, projects must have a nexus to water resources or water resources management.
Reclamation plans to allocate a significant portion of available WaterSMART funding to this NOFO, as part of an overall approach to prioritize WaterSMART projects that are expected to result in environmental benefits. Reclamation will determine the final amount of funding available for award under this NOFO once final FY 2022 appropriations are made. Approximately 15-20 awards are anticipated. However, the amount of funding available for awards and the number of projects selected for funding under this NOFO depend on the demand for funding under this and other elements of the WaterSMART Program. Applications submitted under this NOFO may also be considered if other funding becomes available in FY 2023 or subsequently. Up to $2,000,000 in Federal funds may be awarded over the period of performance. Multiple applications for funding may be submitted for consideration. However, no more than $2,000,000 may be awarded to any one applicant under this NOFO. The Federal share (Reclamation’s share in addition to any other sources of Federal funding) of any one proposed project shall not exceed 75 percent of the total project costs. Generally, the non-Federal share of project costs must be expended at the same or greater rate as the Federal share of project costs. Applications who meet these requirements must be capable of cost sharing 25 percent or more of the total project costs.
The project must increase water supply reliability for ecological values. This may include projects that improve the timing or quantity of water available; improve water quality or temperature; or that improve stream or riparian conditions for the benefit of plant and animal species, fish and wildlife habitat, riparian areas, or ecosystems. This does not exclude projects expected to result in benefits to multiple sectors, such as projects or project components that benefit ecological values AND agricultural, municipal, tribal, or recreational water uses; The project must be developed as part of a collaborative process by: (1) a watershed group (as defined in section 6001 of the Cooperative Watershed Management Act); or (2) by a water user and one or more stakeholders with diverse interests; and, the majority of project benefits must be for the purpose of advancing one or more components of an established strategy or plan to increase the reliability of water supply for consumptive and non-consumptive ecological values. Applicants must also be located in one of the following states or territories: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico.
Category A applicants: States, Tribes, irrigation districts, and water districts; State, regional, or local authorities, the members of which include one or more organizations with water or power delivery authority; and Other organizations with water or power delivery authority.
Category B applicants: Nonprofit conservation organizations, including watershed groups as defined in the Cooperative Watershed Management Act, Section 6001, that are acting in partnership with and with the agreement of an entity described in Category A. Category B applicants must include with their application a letter from the Category A partner stating that the Category A partner: 1) is acting in partnership with the applicant; 2) agrees to the submittal and content of the application; and 3) intends to participate in the project in some way, for example, by providing input, feedback, or other support for the project. Partners do not necessarily need to contribute cost-share funding. In addition, a watershed group is eligible to apply for 50 percent cost-shared funding without other partners but must include a Category A partner to be eligible for 75 percent Federal funding
Category C applicants: Nonprofit conservation organizations submitting an application for a project to improve the condition of a natural feature such as wetlands on Federal land without a Category A partner must demonstrate that entities described in Category A from the applicable service area have been notified and do not object to the project.