Figure 1. Geographical Areas and Fourth Field Hydrologic Units Covered by CDFW's Fisheries Restoration Grants Program.
The goal of the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) is to conserve, protect, and recover salmon and steelhead populations throughout California. While there are many stressors like pollu tants, overfishing, and climate change , FRGP tries to accomplish our goal by competitively funding grants to complete a variety of activities. FRGP annually funds:
- Projects and activities that provide demonstrable and measurable benefits to Pacific anadromous salmonids and their habitat.
- Restoration projects that address factors limiting the productivity of ESA-listed Pacific salmonids as specified in approved, interim, or proposed Recovery Plans. This includes projects that are a necessary precursor to implementing the restoration projects.
- Effectiveness monitoring of habitat restoration actions at the watershed or larger scales for ESA-listed anadromous salmonids, or status monitoring projects that directly contribute to population viability assessments.
- Other projects consistent with but not included in the above, such as outreach, coordination, research, monitoring, and assessment projects that can be justified as directly supporting the goal of the program.
FRGP management activities are divided into five coastal watershed geographical areas (Figure 1) in which CDFW grant managers oversee the implementation of funded restoration projects.
The FRGP grant program operates on an annual grant cycle. Soliciting, reviewing , permitting, awarding, and executing grants within an approximately 12- month period.
Every January /February FRGP releases the upcoming Proposal Solicitation Notice (PSN) for public comment and review. The PSN is a request for project proposals. The comment period gives stakeholders an early look at the PSN. It allows potential applicants to see new updates and coordinate with regional California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) staff about project specific questions.
The Open Solicitation period is when FRGP accepts proposal applications. Open Solicitation typically runs from early March to the middle of April. Applications must be submitted on WebGrants. Applicants must create an account on WebGrants to apply. For information and details on submitting a proposal to FRGP see the Proposal Solicitation Notice web page.
Once the Open Solicitation has closed the review process takes place. Review typically takes place between May and July. Applicants should be prepared to meet once with reviewers during this time for a site visit.
Each proposal received by the due date goes through a rigorous review process by the FRGP Technical Review Team (TRT), and the Director of CDFW. Through this process, proposals are evaluated and scored based on technical merit, biological soundness, and cost effectiveness, as well as CDFW and NOAA Fisheries goals and objectives. In brief, the review process is as follows:
- Administrative Review: The administrative review will determine if the proposal package is complete and meets all the requirements for submission. Proposals are allowed a grace period of 24 hours if they are missing no more than 2 documents. For more information on the grace period see the PSN and Guidelines on the Proposal Solicitation Notice web page. If the proposal does not pass the administrative review, the proposal will not be considered further for funding this cycle.
- Technical Review:
- The TRT includes CDFW staff (both biological and engineering) and NOAA Fisheries staff. Each proposal is reviewed by a team of 3-4 people total. The TRT conducts an in-depth review (including field review where appropriate). Each reviewer evaluates the proposals using scoresheets from the Guidelines. Proposals are reviewed by the information provided in the application. No materials will be accepted after the Open Solicitation due date.
- Reviewers coordinate to develop a single consensus scoresheet for each project. The consensus scoresheet will serve as the proposal’s TRT score.
- The TRT leaders review scores and comments provided by the reviewers for consistency and accuracy across the program.
- The proposals are separated into the three Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) funding priorities. The PCSRF priorities correspond to the FRGP project types. Within each PCSRF priority the proposals are ranked by TRT score.
- CEQA Process: The ranked proposal list is used to determine which projects will be included in the FRGP Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND). All projects that have the potential to be funded, follow the approved restoration techniques, and are under permit thresholds are included in the MND. The MND is submitted to the State Clearing House and is released for a 45-day public comment period. Once the public comment period has closed, the list is sent to the CDFW Director.
- Director of CDFW: The Director reviews the results of the MND and the draft proposal list, which includes the funding recommendations. The Director then makes the final funding decision. This decision usually takes place in December of the PSN year.
CDFW announces awarded projects once the review process has been completed. Typically, award notices are sent out to applicants in December of the PSN year. More information on awarded projects can be found on the FRGP Funded Project Summaries webpage.
Awarded projects that have completed the CEQA MND process are eligible to be included in FRGP’s programmatic Section 401 State Water Resources Control Board’s water quality and Section 404 Army Corps of Engineers’ dredge and fill permits:
- Section 401: Applicants will be contacted in January to confirm project impacts to be included in FRGP’s 401 Programmatic permit application. Delays in responding can result in being removed from the permit application. The 401 permit is typically issued prior to June 15, which is the first day of the construction window in most locations.
- Section 404: Projects included in the CEQA MND and Section 401 Permit will automatically be included in FRGP’s Section 404 permit.
Once projects are awarded, FRGP Grant Managers develop grant agreements based on the information provided in the application. Grant Managers work with Grantees to finalize grant agreements in March through June. Proposed work cannot begin until there is an executed grant agreement.