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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: March 4, 2011
CONTACT: Lori Sommer, 603 271-4059

NH Aquatic Resource Mitigation Program Accepting Grant Pre-Proposals for the Upper Androscoggin River Watershed

Concord, N.H. – The New Hampshire Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Program at the Department of Environmental Services is currently accepting grant PRE-PROPOSALS for projects within the Upper Androscoggin River Watershed. NHDES is pleased to announce that up to $89,000 is available through the ARM Fund program for eligible projects in the watershed. The Department has extended the deadline for application submittal to August 13, 2011 instead of the June 15, 2011 deadline to allow applicants additional time for this submittal.

The DES Aquatic Resource Mitigation (ARM) Fund provides an in-lieu fee payment alternative for permit applicants to consider when striving to meet state and federal wetland mitigation requirements. Payments are deposited into 16 watershed accounts, which then can be used for aquatic resource restoration projects or to permanently protect wetlands with high conservation value. The ARM funds are ready to be awarded to eligible projects in the watershed.

An example of a successful project is one that provides restoration of functions and values and once restored, will retain increased functions over the long-term. Protection of the surrounding upland buffer through a conservation easement elevates its ability to meet the goals of the program. Restoration includes wetland fill removal, culvert removal/replacement, elimination of ditching and other hydrologic modifications, invasive species control only if hydrologic modifications indicate long-term success, installation of water quality BMPs, habitat enhancement opportunities for threatened or endangered species, and planting buffers to promote habitat.

The Upper Androscoggin River Watershed will be the latest ARM Fund account to be ready for release. As these funds are tied to wetland mitigation requirements, the proposal ranking criteria will favor those projects that restore and permanently protect the functions and values of aquatic resources that were lost within the watershed during the grant cycle. The primary functions lost include wildlife habitat and sediment/nutrient retention.

Grant Application Information

Pre-Proposal Submission Deadline – Applicants are required to submit a 1-2 page summary detailing their watershed proposal no later than 4 p.m. on April 30, 2011. The pre-proposal summary will be reviewed by DES and the Site Selection Committee and feedback will be provided as to why the project may not meet the program criteria or how the proposal could be strengthened for formal application submittal.

Application Submission Deadline – One hard copy and one copy in pdf format of the completed application and all associated documentation are due at the DES Wetlands Bureau office (address below) no later than 4 p.m. on August 13, 2011. Please note DES cannot accept documents larger than 10 MB. The 2011 application form with instructions is available at:
www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wetlands/wmp/documents/arm_app.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol
Eligible Applicants– Any New Hampshire community wholly or partially located within the Upper Androscoggin River Watershed, county governments, Regional Planning Commissions, County Conservation Districts, watershed/river Associations, state agencies, departments within the University of New Hampshire and other institutions of higher education, community public school districts, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.

Eligible Uses of ARM Funds– Grants are offered for activities that restore or protect aquatic resources, including but not limited to the following:

1) Development of final wetland restoration, enhancement, or creation plans.
2) Construction costs for wetland restoration, enhancement, or creation such as site clearing and excavation, construction management, consulting fees, permit costs, wetland grading and soil augmentation, disposal costs of excavated materials, planting, and monitoring and maintenance of wetland restoration or creation sites to reduce risk of failure.
3) Acquisition of land or conservation easements that help protect high conservation value wetlands in perpetuity and associated costs including property surveys, appraisals, legal costs, closing costs, and subdivision fees.
4) Acquisition of conservation interests after a qualified grantee has been identified.
5) Stewardship of a conservation interest.
6) Other aquatic resource improvement or protection projects, such as water quality improvement projects, tidal wetland restoration projects, dam removal projects, stream or river restoration projects, or activities that provide habitat improvement including culvert replacement or removal.

This list is not exhaustive so check the evaluation criteria contained in the application packet to see if your project is eligible. Reviewers will favor proposals that clearly demonstrate how the project’s wetland protection, restoration, enhancement, or creation will be sustainable over the long-term. The criteria used to evaluate and rank the applications can also be found in the DES rules at Env-Wt 807.17 and 807.18, des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/legal/rules/index.htm.

Geographic Requirement – Projects must take place within the boundaries of the Upper Androscoggin River Hydrologic Unit Code 8 (HUC 8) watershed (see map at: des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wetlands/wmp/documents/huc8_map.pdf). Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol

Leveraging of Funds – Leveraged funds are defined as additional funding for a project that is counted toward completion of the project. Applicants are encouraged to pursue partnerships as much as possible and leveraged funds should be noted in the budget materials. The more partners that may assist in funding a project often is the key for a successful project. Please note, most of the ARM funds are collected to meet state and federal requirements. Therefore ARM funds cannot be used as match for other federal grant programs that require non-federal match. If there is a question about leveraging funds, the DES ARM Fund coordinator should be contacted.

Submission address:

NH Dept. of Environmental Services
ATTN: Lori Sommer
Wetlands Bureau
PO Box 95
Concord, NH 03302-0095

For Further Assistance and Electronic Submission – Lori Sommer, Mitigation Coordinator, at (603) 271-4059 or e-mail at: lori.sommer@des.nh.gov.

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