[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 95 (Monday, May 18, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28226-28229]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-11956]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


FY 2015 Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program

AGENCY: National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of funding availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to announce the policies and 
application procedures for the FY 2015 Regional Coastal Resilience 
Grants Program. Awards made under this program will support eligible 
entities as they develop or implement activities that build resilience 
of coastal regions, communities, and economic sectors to the negative 
impacts from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and changing 
ocean conditions.
    Funds will be available to support activities that: (1) Identify 
and address priority data, information, and capacity gaps; (2) develop 
tools, as needed, to inform sound, science-based decisions, which 
support regional efforts to plan for a resilient ocean and coastal 
economy; (3) acquire and integrate socioeconomic information with 
physical and biological information to improve the assessment of risk 
and vulnerability for planning and decision making; (4) understand how 
hazards and changing ocean conditions affect coastal economies, 
including existing and emerging sectors that depend on the ocean and 
coasts; (5) develop the information and approaches needed for improved 
risk communication, and the necessary tools, technical assistance and 
training tailored toward enhanced resilience to weather events, climate 
hazards, and changing ocean conditions; (6) evaluate the costs, 
benefits, and tradeoffs of systems-based development or redevelopment 
approaches that incorporate both natural defenses and hard structural 
solutions; or (7) support the development of sustainable recovery, 
redevelopment, and adaptation plans and implement programs and projects 
that incentivize rebuilding and development approaches which reduce 
risk and increase resilience.

[[Page 28227]]

    See the full FY 2015 Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Federal 
Funding Opportunity (FFO), located on Grants.gov, as described in the 
ADDRESSES section, for a complete description of program goals and how 
applications will be evaluated. Note that this funding opportunity is 
one of two competitions being administered by NOAA to build coastal 
resilience. The companion competition, the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency 
Grants program, is being administered by NOAA's National Marine 
Fisheries Service to implement projects that use a proactive approach 
to improve or restore coastal habitat to strengthen the resilience of 
communities, protected resources and fisheries.

DATES: Applications must be postmarked, provided to a delivery service, 
or received by www.Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 24, 
2015. See also Section IV.C and F of the Regional Coastal Resilience 
Grants FFO.

ADDRESSES: Application packages for proposals are available through the 
apply function on Grants.gov by searching for Funding Opportunity 
Number NOAA-NOS-OCM-2015-2004324. If an applicant does not have 
Internet access, application packages shall be requested from Lisa 
Warr, 1305 East-West Hwy, N/OCM6, Silver Spring, MD 20910; or contact 
her at 301-563-1153 or via email to Lisa.S.Warr@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For administrative or technical 
questions regarding this announcement, contact Lisa Warr, Office for 
Coastal Management, 1305 East-West Hwy, N/OCM6, Silver Spring, MD 
20910; or contact her at 301-563-1153 or via email to 
Lisa.S.Warr@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

    Statutory Authority:  Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1456c), Section 310 (``Technical Assistance'').
    Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA): 11.473

Program Description

    As noted above, the purpose of this notice is to announce the 
policies and application procedures for the FY 2015 Regional Coastal 
Resilience Grants Program. Awards made under this program will support 
eligible entities as they develop or implement activities that build 
resilience of coastal regions, communities, and economic sectors to the 
negative impacts from extreme weather events, climate hazards, and 
changing ocean conditions. Successful applicants will develop proposals 
that plan or implement actions that mitigate the impacts of these 
environmental drivers on overall resilience, including economic and 
environmental resilience.
    Proposals submitted in response to this announcement shall employ a 
regional approach that results in improved ability of multiple coastal 
jurisdictions to prepare for, absorb impacts of, recover from, and/or 
adapt to adverse events and changing environmental, economic, and 
social conditions. Proposals should demonstrate coordinated effort of 
multiple jurisdictions (e.g., states, tribes, territories, counties, 
municipalities, regional organizations, etc.) and/or state or local 
managed areas within a specified geographic region and involve the 
appropriate range of partners and stakeholders to ensure project 
success. Collaborative projects that leverage NOAA supported programs, 
products, partnerships or services and support federal, tribal, state, 
regional, county or local plans and partnerships are preferred. Also 
preferred are proposals that leverage other Administration priorities 
and other federal resilience investments.
    Projects/proposals are expected to:
     Result in increased resilience of coastal communities 
through regional activities that reduce current and potential future 
risk associated with extreme weather events, climate hazards, and 
changing ocean conditions; increase capacity to recover from adverse 
events; and/or increase capacity to effectively adapt to adverse 
events;
     employ a regional approach that engages appropriate 
stakeholders and demonstrates collaboration and leveraging of 
resources;
     result in increased access to and/or understanding of 
information for decision makers regarding current and future 
environmental, economic, and social conditions and/or increased 
capacity to incorporate this type of information into decision/rule 
making across the project area.
    Priority will be given to projects that:
     Focus on resilience strategies that address land and ocean 
use, development, resource management, resource protection, hazard 
mitigation, pre-disaster recovery, or other similar plans. This 
includes the creation of new tools, training, workshops, or other 
resources that build capacity of decision makers or practitioners;
     leverage available resources (such as programs, plans, 
partnerships, tools and trainings across government, industry, and 
NGOs) and/or leverage Federal funding with direct or in-kind match from 
non-Federal sources;
     evaluate project results using clear measure(s) of success 
and monitor longer-term effectiveness of employed strategies where 
appropriate. The collection of additional data or information for 
monitoring effectiveness is eligible; however, only for the duration of 
the award's period of performance. If data collection is proposed, 
applicants are encouraged to plan for longer-term data management needs 
in coordination with NOAA.
    The funding instrument for awards may be a grant or cooperative 
agreement. In the case of a cooperative agreement, NOAA will have 
substantial involvement in the project. If NOAA is proposed as a 
partner in a cooperative agreement, the applicant must clearly identify 
this funding instrument in the proposal summary and cover sheet and 
clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of NOAA and each 
partner in implementing the project.
    Section IV.B. of the FFO describes the complete standard NOAA 
financial assistance application package and suggested information to 
include in the proposal.
    This competition is one of two competitions being administered by 
NOAA to build coastal resilience. The companion competition, Coastal 
Ecosystem Resilience Grants, is being administered by NOAA's National 
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to improve the resiliency of ocean and 
coastal ecosystems. The FFO for this program can also be found on 
www.Grants.gov.

Funding Availability

    Total anticipated funding for all awards is up to $5,000,000 for FY 
2015. NOAA anticipates funding approximately 5-10 awards. The maximum 
amount that may be requested for the Federal share of each proposal is 
$1,000,000 and the minimum that may be requested is $500,000. The 
amount of funding per project will depend on the size, location, and 
type of project. There is no limit on the number of proposals from any 
geographic area or jurisdiction. The exact amount of funds for each 
award will be determined in pre-award negotiations between the 
applicant and NOAA representatives. Applicants must be in good standing 
with all existing NOAA grants in order to receive funds. Proposals not 
funded in the current fiscal period may be considered for funding in 
another fiscal period without NOAA repeating the competitive process 
outlined in this announcement.

Eligibility

    Eligible funding applicants are: Regional organizations (see 
Section III.C of the FFO for explanation), nonprofit

[[Page 28228]]

organizations, private (for-profit) entities, institutions of higher 
education, and state, territorial, tribal, and local governments as 
defined at 2 CFR 200.64, which includes counties, municipalities, and 
cities. The funding applicants must conduct projects benefiting coastal 
communities in one or more of the following U.S. states and 
territories: Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, California, Connecticut, 
Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, 
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New 
Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana 
Islands, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South 
Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Virgin Islands (U.S.), Washington, and 
Wisconsin. Applications from individuals, federal agencies, or 
employees of federal agencies will not be considered, but these 
entities may serve as collaborative project partners. If federal 
agencies are collaborators, applicants must provide detail on the 
expected level of federal engagement in the application. The lead 
applicant on any proposal will be responsible for ensuring that 
allocated funds are used for the purposes of, and in a manner 
consistent with, this program, including any funds awarded to an 
eligible sub-awardee.

Cost Sharing Requirements

    Federal funds awarded under this program must be matched with non-
Federal funds (through cash or in-kind services) at a 2:1 ratio of 
Federal to non-Federal contributions.

Evaluation and Selection Procedures

    The general evaluation criteria and selection factors that apply to 
full applications to this funding opportunity are summarized below. 
Further information about the evaluation criteria and selection factors 
can be found in the full FFO announcement in www.Grants.gov. (Funding 
Opportunity Number NOAA-NOS-OCM-2015-2004324)

Evaluation Criteria

    Reviewers will assign scores to applications ranging from 0 to 100 
points based on the following five standard NOAA evaluation criteria 
and respective weights specified below. Applications that best address 
these criteria will be the most competitive.
    1. Importance and/or relevance and applicability of proposed 
project to the program goals (35 points): This ascertains whether there 
is intrinsic value in the proposed work and/or relevance to NOAA, 
federal, regional, state, tribal, or local activities. Projects/
proposals will be evaluated according to the degree to which they:
     Support activities that are likely to reduce current and 
potential future risk to regions, communities, and existing and 
emerging sectors associated with extreme weather events, climate 
hazards, and changing ocean conditions; increase capacity to recover 
from adverse events; or increase capacity to effectively adapt to 
adverse events (10 points);
     employ a regional approach that engages a range of 
stakeholders and demonstrates collaboration and leveraging of 
resources, as evidenced by letters of collaboration from partners and 
community members (10 points);
     improve access to and/or understanding of information for 
decision makers regarding current and future environmental, economic, 
and social conditions and improve capacity to incorporate this 
information into planning and decision/rule making across the project 
area (10 points);
     support other NOAA and Administration priorities (5 
points).
    2. Technical and scientific merit (20 points): This criterion 
assesses whether the approach is technically sound and/or innovative, 
if the methods are appropriate, and whether there are clear project 
goals and objectives. For this competition, projects/proposals will be 
evaluated according to the degree to which:
     The approach is fully described and the stated goals and 
objectives are technically sound, safe for the public, and use the 
appropriate methods and personnel, including any methods to evaluate 
results and monitor effectiveness, and methods outlined in the Data 
Sharing Plan (7 points);
     the project supports strategies called for or developed by 
regional, federal, state, tribal or local entities including but not 
limited to land and ocean use, development, resource management, 
resource protection/restoration, hazard mitigation, pre-disaster 
recovery, or other similar plans (8 points); and
     the project leverages available resources, such as 
programs, plans, partnerships, tools and trainings within NOAA and 
across government, industry, and NGOs (5 points).
    3. Overall qualifications of the funding applicants (20 points): 
This criterion ascertains whether the funding applicant possesses the 
necessary education, experience, training, facilities, and 
administrative resources to accomplish the project. For this 
competition, projects/proposals will be evaluated according to the 
degree to which:
     An applicant demonstrates the capacity (e.g. staffing, 
resources, expertise and authority) and experience in successfully 
completing similar projects (12 points); and
     the project involves the appropriate partners to execute 
the project, as well as the key personnel from other agencies and 
institutions partnering on the project with the experience, expertise 
and/or networks needed to capitalize on available expertise (8 points).
    4. Project costs (15 points). This criterion evaluates the budget 
to determine if it is realistic and commensurate with the project needs 
and time-frame. For this competition, projects/proposals will be 
evaluated according to the degree to which:
     The budget request is reasonable, the applicant justifies 
the costs requested, and the requested funds for salaries and fringe 
benefits are for those personnel directly involved in implementing the 
proposed project and/or are directly related to specific products or 
outcomes of the proposed project (6 points);
     the project optimizes the cost effectiveness of the 
project to leverage Federal resources through strategic partnerships 
with collaborating institutions, agencies, or other entities (5 
points); and,
     indirect costs are based on the indirect cost rate 
negotiated and approved by the applicant's cognizant agency for 
indirect costs and that other administrative costs have been minimized 
to the extent possible (4 points).
    5. Outreach and Education (10 points): This criterion assesses 
whether the project provides a focused and effective education and/or 
outreach strategy regarding the NOAA's mission to understand and 
protect the Nation's natural resources. For this competition, this 
strategy should describe approaches for communicating with various 
audiences and employ best practices for risk communication. Projects/
proposals will be evaluated according to the degree to which:
     Engagement: The proposal demonstrates that the public and 
project stakeholders will be engaged in development of the desired 
project outcomes (8 points); and
     Outreach: The proposal demonstrates that information 
generated by the project will reach its target audience and have a 
positive impact in the project area(s), including improved risk 
communication. (2 points).

[[Page 28229]]

Review and Selection Process

    Screening, review, and selection procedures will take place in 
three steps: (1) An initial screening by competition program staff 
within NOAA's Office for Coastal Management; (2) a merit review; and 
(3) final selection by the Selecting Official (i.e., Director of the 
Office for Coastal Management or the Director's designee). The merit 
review step will involve at least three reviewers per application. The 
Selecting Official will make the final decision regarding which 
applications will be funded based on the numerical ranking of the 
applications, the evaluations by the merit reviewers, and the selection 
factors set in Section V.C. of the FFO. (1) Initial Screening. The 
initial screening will ensure that application packages have all 
required forms and application elements and meet all of the eligibility 
criteria. Applications that pass this initial screening will be 
submitted for merit review. (2) Merit Review. Eligible applications for 
this competition will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria and 
weights described in this solicitation by at least three independent 
peer reviewers through an independent peer mail review and/or an 
independent peer panel. (3) Final Selection. The competition program 
staff will create a ranking of the proposals to be recommended for 
funding using the average merit review or panel review scores, if a 
panel review is conducted. The Selecting Official shall award in the 
rank order unless the proposal is justified to be selected out of rank 
order based upon one or more of the following factors: (1) Availability 
of funding; (2) balance/distribution of funds: (a) Geographically, (b) 
by type of institutions, (c) by type of partners, (d) by research 
areas, or (e) by project types; (3) whether the project duplicates 
other projects funded or considered for funding by NOAA or other 
agencies; (4) program priorities and policy factors as described in 
Section I.A. and I.B. of the FFO; (5) an applicant's prior award 
performance; (6) partnerships and/or participation of targeted groups; 
(7) adequacy of information necessary for NOAA staff to make a NEPA 
determination and draft necessary documentation before recommendations 
for funding are made to the NOAA Grants Officer. The Selecting Official 
or designee may negotiate the funding level of the proposal.

Intergovernmental Review

    Applications under the FFO are subject to Executive Order 12372, 
``Intergovernmental Review of Programs.'' For states that participate 
in this process, it is the state agency's responsibility to contact 
their state's Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to find out about and 
comply with the state's process under Executive Order 12372. To assist 
the applicant, the names and addresses of the SPOCs are listed on the 
Office of Management and Budget's Web site http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/grants_spoc.

Limitation of Liability

    In no event will NOAA or the Department of Commerce be responsible 
for proposal preparation costs if these programs fail to receive 
funding or are cancelled because of other agency priorities. 
Publication of this announcement does not oblige NOAA to award any 
specific project or to obligate any available funds.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NOAA must analyze the potential environmental impacts, as required 
by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for applicant projects 
or proposals which are seeking NOAA federal funding opportunities. 
Consequently, as part of an applicant's package, and under their 
description of their program activities, applicants are required to 
provide detailed information on the activities to be conducted, 
locations, sites, species and habitat to be affected, possible 
construction activities, and any environmental concerns that may exist 
(e.g., the use and disposal of hazardous or toxic chemicals, 
introduction of non-indigenous species, impacts to endangered and 
threatened species, aquaculture projects, and impacts to coral reef 
systems). Applicants may also be requested to assist NOAA in drafting 
of an environmental assessment, if NOAA determines an assessment is 
required, or in identifying feasible measures to reduce or avoid any 
identified adverse environmental impacts of their proposal. The failure 
to do so shall be grounds for not selecting an application. Further 
details regarding NOAA's compliance with NEPA can be found in the full 
Federal Funding Opportunity.

The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements

    The Department of Commerce Pre-Award Notification Requirements for 
Grants and Cooperative Agreements contained in the Federal Register 
notice of December 30, 2014 (79 FR 78390), are applicable to this 
solicitation.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The FFO contains collection-of-information requirements subject to 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The use of Standard Forms 424, 424A, 
424B, and SF-LLL and CD-346 has been approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under the respective control numbers 0348-
0043, 0348-0044, 0348-0040, 0348-0046, and 0605-0001. Notwithstanding 
any other provision of law, no person is required to, nor shall a 
person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection 
of information subject to the requirements of the PRA unless that 
collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice has been determined to be not significant for purposes 
of Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13132

    It has been determined that this notice does not contain policies 
with federalism implications as that term is defined in Executive Order 
13132.

    Dated: May 13, 3015.
Christopher C. Cartwright,
Associate Assistant Administrator for Management and CFO/CAO, Ocean 
Services and Coastal Zone Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-11956 Filed 5-15-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P