Wetlands Mitigation Banking Program

The Wetlands Mitigation Banking Program is used to help establish wetland mitigation banks to help producers meet their wetland conservation compliance responsibilities needed to maintain eligibility for many USDA programs administered by the FSA and NRCS, and to maintain eligibility for the Federal
crop insurance premium subsidy administered by the Risk Management Agency.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.




Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

NRCS will seek applications to establish wetlands mitigation banks for agriculture producers.

The intent of the program is for qualified third-party wetlands bankers to operate and manage all aspects of a wetlands mitigation bank, with oversight by NRCS.

Specific funding uses and restrictions will be identified in an agreement between NRCS and those selected to receive the funding.

Mitigation banks established through this program are for the explicit and sole purpose of assisting agricultural producers with wetland conservation compliance requirements found in 7 CFR Part 12 (wetland conservation compliance is also referred to as Swampbuster compliance).

Loss of wetland functions and lost wetland acres of agricultural wetlands associated with an active farming operation may be mitigated through the Wetlands Mitigation Banking Program.

The targeted wetlands may be seasonal or occasionally cropped during years of low precipitation.

Wetlands that fall under jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act are not eligible for mitigation through this program.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Eligible entities that may submit applications include Tribal Nations, State, and local units of government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including for profit NGOs.

NRCS will accept proposals for the development and establishment of mitigation banks submitted under this notice by eligible applicants from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the U.S.

Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

Applications will also be accepted from existing banks with established credits that meet the described needs of the program.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Mitigation banks established through this program are for the explicit and sole purpose of assisting agricultural producers with wetland conservation compliance, also known as Swampbuster compliance.

Credentials/Documentation

Applications must contain the content, format, and information set forth in the Announcement for Program Funding to receive consideration. Selected applications will enter into individual agreements with NRCS. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The following items must be obtained prior to entering into an agreement with the Federal Government but do not need to be provided in the proposal. Applicants are encouraged to apply early for their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)/System for Award Management (SAM) number.

Award Procedures

NRCS will process and evaluate applications using the following process: An interagency technical team, including NRCS staff, will screen applications for completeness and compliance with the announcement for funding. Incomplete and noncompliant applications will be eliminated from competition. NRCS technical staff will evaluate and rank complete applications. The NRCS Chief will make the final award decisions. Awardees will subsequently work with NRCS to develop a mitigation banking instrument which will provide full details for development, establishment, and operation of a mitigation banking program.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program is authorized by section 1222(k) of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended by section 2609 of the Agricultural Act of 2014., 16 U.S.C 3822(k).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not Applicable.

Appeals

No appeal rights.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. This program has no matching requirements. This program does not have MOE requirements.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

NRCS will use a project agreement with selected applicants to document participation in the USDA Wetlands Mitigation Banking Program. The project agreement will specify the period of performance during which the funding will be available. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Within 45 calendar days after the end of each Federal fiscal quarter, the SF-425 must be submitted by mail to the NRCS administrative contact.

The grantee will submit a final SF-425 no later than 90 calendar days after the grant agreement completion date and promptly return any unobligated Federal cash advances.

An SF-425 federal financial report form is required to be completed and submitted annually no later than November 15th.

The following reporting items are required: A Detailed bank accounting report and progress documenting all debits, credits and transfers that occurred with the bank, a financial report showing all authorized transactions associated with the banking instrument, and a bank monitoring report detailing how the compensatory mitigation project is progressing towards meeting its performance standards.

These items are required annually, no later than November 15th.

Selected applicants will be required to submit an SF-425, Federal Financial Report, to the NRCS administrative contact, no later than 45 days after the end of each quarter and 90 days after completion of project.

A monitoring report detailing how the compensatory mitigation project is progressing towards meeting its performance standards is required annually no later than November 15th.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records

No Data Available.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1004-0-1-302.

Obigations

(Salaries) FY 16 $158,000; FY 17 est $977,000; and FY 18 est $0. (Cooperative Agreements) FY 16 $0; FY 17 est $8,790,000; and FY 18 est $0

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

This is a one-time direct appropriation provided in FY 2014, and the funds are available until expended. Up to $9 million will be available for awards.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

None.

Headquarters Office

Shaun Vickers 8000 South 15th Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508 Email: shaun.vickers@wdc.usda.gov Phone: Phone: (402) 560-1309

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.



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