[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 214 (Friday, November 4, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 68499-68500]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-28576]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Office of the Secretary


Draft WaterSMART Cooperative Watershed Management Program Funding 
Opportunity Announcement

AGENCY: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, 
Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are seeking comments on a draft announcement of funding 
that will be available for establishing or expanding an existing 
watershed group. The funding is part of the Cooperative Watershed 
Management Program whose goals are to improve water quality and 
ecological resilience and to reduce conflicts over water by managing 
local watersheds through collaborative conservation. We plan to publish 
a final announcement as soon as possible after the close of the comment 
period.

DATES: Submit written comments on or before December 5, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Ms. Avra Morgan, Bureau of 
Reclamation, Office of Policy and Administration 84-51000, P.O. Box 
25007, Denver, Colorado 80225; or email aomorgan@usbr.gov. The draft 
funding announcement is available at: http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/cwmp/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Avra Morgan, Bureau of Reclamation, 
(303) 445-2906, aomorgan@usbr.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The draft funding announcement on which we 
are requesting comments is part of the Department's WaterSMART 
Cooperative Watershed Management Program. When published in final after 
we evaluate comments received, the announcement will inform eligible 
applicants that funding is available to establish a watershed group or 
expand an existing watershed group. This notice summarizes the main 
elements of the draft announcement. You can view the complete 
announcement at http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/cwmp/.
    Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established the WaterSMART 
Program in February 2010. The WaterSMART program provides funding to 
watershed groups to encourage diverse stakeholders to work together to 
address their local watershed needs. Through this program, we provide 
Federal leadership and assistance on;
     Efficient use of water;
     Integrating water and energy policies to support 
sustainable use of natural resources;
     Forming strong, diverse partnerships with States, tribes, 
and local entities; and
     Coordinating water conservation activities among all 
Department bureaus and offices.
    The Nation faces an increasing set of water resource challenges. 
Aging infrastructure, rapid population growth, depletion of groundwater 
resources, impaired water quality associated with particular land uses 
and land covers, water needed for human and environmental uses, and 
climate variability and change all play a role in determining the 
amount of fresh water available at any given place and time. Water 
shortage and water-use conflicts have become more commonplace in many 
areas of the United States, even in normal water years. As competition 
for water resources grows--for irrigation of crops, growing cities and 
communities, energy production, and the environment--the need for 
information and tools to aid water resource managers also grows.
    Included below is a summary of the main provisions of this draft 
funding announcement.

Applicant Eligibility

    Applicants eligible for funding to establish a watershed group 
include States, tribes, local and special districts (e.g., irrigation 
and water districts, county soil conservation districts, etc.), local 
governmental entities, and non-profit organizations. To be eligible, 
applicants must:
     Significantly affect or be affected by the quality or 
quantity of water in a watershed;
     Be capable of promoting the sustainable use of water 
resources; and
     Be located in the western United States or Territories as 
identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended and 
supplemented.
    Individuals, universities, for-profit organizations or companies, 
and Federal agencies are not eligible for Cooperative Watershed 
Management Program funding.
    To be eligible for funding to expand a watershed group, the 
applicant must:
     Be a grassroots, non-regulatory entity that is legally 
incorporated within the state in which it operates;
     Address water availability and quality issues within the 
relevant watershed; and
     Otherwise meet the definition of a ``watershed group'' as 
described in the draft funding announcement.

Funding

    Applicants must use funds awarded under the announcement to 
establish or expand a watershed group; develop a mission statement; 
develop project concepts; and develop a restoration plan. Applicants 
may request up to $50,000 in Federal funds each year, for a period of 
up to 2 years. A non-Federal cost-share is not required. Second-year 
funding will be awarded to applicants that demonstrate sufficient 
progress throughout the year, contingent on availability of 
appropriations. An equal number of awards will be made available to 
applicants under each task area, contingent on demand.

Criteria

    The funding criteria under the announcement will prioritize 
proposals that represent a maximum diversity of interests; serve a 
broad geographic scope; are expected to address critical watershed 
needs; include activities aligned with a state water plan; demonstrate 
active participation in a Landscape Conservation Cooperative or 
integration of the mission and goals of a particular Landscape 
Conservation Cooperative into the proposed activities; and include a 
proposed schedule and milestones that are reasonable and appropriate.
    The criteria identified within the draft funding announcement will 
assist us in fulfilling the goals of the program by collaboratively 
improving water quality and ecological resilience, and reducing 
conflicts over water at the watershed level.

Public Disclosure

    We seek comments and suggestions for improvement to any of the 
provisions summarized above or on any other elements of the draft 
announcement.
    Before including your name, address, phone number, email address, 
or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should 
be aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


[[Page 68500]]


    Dated: October 21, 2011.
Anne J. Castle,
 Assistant Secretary for Water and Science.
[FR Doc. 2011-28576 Filed 11-3-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-MN-P