Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (REMAP) Research Projects

The Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (REMAP) is a partnership between the EPA Regional Offices and the Office of Research and Development (ORD) Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP), with the primary goal to build state and tribal capacity for using statistically
valid monitoring data for reporting on the condition of their aquatic resources.

The goals for REMAP are to transfer EMAP's latest scientific techniques for ecological monitoring to EPA Regions, States, Tribes and local decision makers.

ORD works with the EPA Regional Offices to support projects meeting EMAP criteria and that are of importance to needs within the Regions.

EMAP support for these projects includes: contributing to development of the scientific design of projects; assistance with the selection and evaluation of appropriate indicators and methods for measurement; application of information management approaches; analysis and interpretation of data; and providing a source of funding.

EPA funds projects in each of its 10 Regions.

Projects are normally funded for up to 2 years, but longer projects are occasionally supported.

Annual announcements reflect priority needs in those Regions where funding will be allocated for new projects.

The primary objectives of the solicited research are to provide States and Tribes with methods and approaches for incorporating statistically valid ecological monitoring data into their environmental decision-making process.

Project goals are to be consistent with EMAP's probabilistic approach (www.epa.gov/emap) to answer questions about ecological conditions at regional and local levels.

Information produced from projects is to be transferable to Regional, State and Tribal water quality monitoring programs and regulatory agencies.

Research proposals must address one or more of the following monitoring needs for State and tribal aquatic (headwater streams, lakes, near shore coastal areas, wetlands, wadeable streams or large rivers) resources: State and Tribal monitoring needs for water quality reporting (CWA Section 305b).

Information needed for identifying impaired waters (CWA Section 303d).

Using probability information to identify the effectiveness of restoration/remediation efforts.

Advancing the science of biological reference condition for establishing biocriteria.

Improved tools and approaches for the assessment of aquatic ecosystems.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2008: At this time, it is not anticipated that there will be a new funding opportunity for 2008.

Funding Priority-Fiscal Year 2009.

It is anticipated that there will be a new funding opportunity for 2009.

Priorities will be identified in a later update to this CFDA.

Detailed background information is provided in the 2006 solicitation.

Proposals for probabilistic assessments of headwater streams, lakes, near shore coastal areas, wetlands, wadable streams or large rivers that answer questions of State and Tribal importance in Regions 3, 4, 6 and 7 will be considered.

However, selection criteria will be weighted towards the above 5 priority areas.

Funding Priority - Fiscal Year 2007: For the FY 07 solicitation, funding will be available for projects in EPA Regions 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10.

Funding priorities for these Regions will be identified and described in the annual announcement.
Examples of Funded Projects

(1) Designing and Implementing a Program to Evaluate New England's Lakes and Ponds: Currently, there is not a statistically-valid design in place to perform a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of New England lakes and ponds.

This study is addressing that need in order to meet 305b reporting requirements and provide information on status and trends of these ecosystems.

(2) Validation and Sensitivity Analysis for Rapid Wetland Assessment using Comprehensive Wetland Assessment Data: This project is addressing the need for methods to assess and report on the ecological condition of wetlands in the State of Delaware.

(3) A Biological Assessment of the Large Rivers of the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River Basins in Region 5: There is currently no statistically valid method to assess large rivers.

This study is developing calibrated biological assessment tools and designing a systematic and standardized approach for the assessment of these large river systems.

(4) Developing rigorous assessments for large Pacific Northwest rivers.

The purpose of this project is to document the feasibility, logistics, and costs to states of using EMAP indicators and designs to assess the ecological condition, major stressors, and likely human disturbances of entire main-stem rivers in the Pacific Northwest in Region 10.

(5) Development of Benthic Indicators for Nearshore Coastal Waters of New Jersey.

This study is Developing of an indicator of ecosystem health for the benthic community in the estuarine and nearshore waters of New Jersey in Region 2.


Agency - Environmental Protection Agency

The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.

Office - Individuals are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate ORD or Regional Office listed on REMAP's website at www.epa.gov/emap/remap, and listed in the RFA for this program.


Program Accomplishments

The REMAP program has made significant advances and contributions in the development of monitoring and assessment tools and protocols. The technical support and collaborative expertise with ORD has enabled regions to integrate these scientific advances into stakeholder programs. With this assistance and partnership the regions have been able to provide the agency with defensible credible data on environmental condition in a more cost effective and timely manner. REMAP emphasizes that project designs employ the EMAP probabilistic approach. This allows for a statistically-valid and defensible framework to report on the condition of resources which is consistent with EPA's long term goal 1 "Developing statistically-valid and defensible frameworks to assess status and trends of ecosystem condition at national scales". In 2007, 12 eligible applications were received and 4 projects were funded. In FY 2008 no RFA was issued and thus no new applications were received or funded. FY 2008 obligations were placed against those projects approved and funded initially in FY 2007. Current awards, projects, progress reports and any outputs are available on REMAP's home page (www.epa.gov/emap/remap). Currently resulted in the posting of fish consumption health advisories across the region. A current project in New England will enable researchers to revisit the distribution of mercury contamination and thus be able to provide trend information. Probability-based Monitoring Within Nebraska's Rotating Basin Assessment: EPA Region 7, EPA-ORD, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality initiated a REMAP effort in 1997 that is still ongoing today. The State of Nebraska realized it had an assessment problem because it was negatively biasing its sampling results by targeting a large portion of its monitoring resources to waters with suspected problems. Because of this targeted monitoring, it was impossible for the State to make an unbiased assessment of the status and/or trends of its stream resources for the State's bi-annual water quality ("305b") assessment report. To solve this problem, the State decided that a new monitoring approach was needed and in 1997 began to use a "EMAP-type" probability based sampling design within its rotating basin assessment framework. By employing both the probability-based design and its associated data analyses methods, the state is able to produce unbiased estimates of its stream resources with a known level of confidence. Current projects, progress reports and any outputs are available on REMAP's home page(www.epa.gov/emap/remap).

Uses and Use Restrictions

Information produced from projects is to be transferable to US EPA Regions, and State and Tribal water quality monitoring programs and regulatory agencies.

Data from research results may also be incorporated into larger scale objectives within ORD's EMAP research program.

Research projects usually result in geospatial information.

In compliance with Executive Order 12906, REMAP data is made available for use throughout all levels of government, the private and non-profit sectors, and the academic community.

The goal of this infrastructure is to reduce duplication of effort among agencies, improve quality and reduce costs related to geographic information, to make geographic data more accessible to the public, to increase the benefits of using available data, and to establish key partnerships with states, counties, cities, tribal nations, academia and the private sector to increase data availability.

Awards are made in response to announced requests for applications.

Funds are awarded via cooperative agreements for allowable direct cost expenditures incident to the performance of research plus allocable portions of allowable indirect costs of the institution, in accordance with the established policies and regulations of EPA.

No construction costs are allowed in this agreement.

Foreign travel is not allowed unless specifically agreed upon.

No large capital equipment items, such as vehicles or boats, will be allowed for purchase under these agreements.

Assistance agreement awards under this program may involve or relate to geospatial information.

Further information regarding geospatial information may be obtained by viewing the following website: http://geodata.epa.gov.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For certain competitive funding opportunities under this CFDA description, the Agency may limit eligibility to compete to a number or subset of eligible applicants consistent with the Agency's Assistance Agreement Competition Policy.

Entities that are eligible to receive federal assistance under the Clean Water Act which includes the States, their territories and possessions, local governments and federally recognized U.S.

Tribal Nations (40 CFR part 31); institutions of higher education, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations (40 CFR part 30).

Eligible nonprofit organizations include any organizations that meet the definition of nonprofit in OMB Circular A-122.

Nonprofit applicants that are recommended for funding will be subject to pre-award administrative capability reviews consistent with Sections 8.b, 8.c, and 9.d of EPA Order 5700.8.

Non-profit organizations described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that engage in lobbying activities, as defined in Section 3 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, are not eligible to apply.

Universities and educational institutions must be subject to OMB Circular A-21.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Public nonprofit institutions/organizations and private nonprofit institutions/organizations located in the U.S.; state and local governments; Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments; U.S. territories or possessions; Anyone/General Public, Education Professional, Student/Trainee, Graduate Student, Scientists/Researchers.

Credentials/Documentation

Applicants are required to provide a Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number when applying for Federal grants or cooperative agreements. Organizations can receive a DUNS number, at no cost, by calling the dedicated toll-free DUNS Number request line at 1-866-705-5711 or through http://www.dnb.com. Applicants are required to submit an Application for Federal assistance and Budget Information (SF-424 AND SF-424A), Assurances for Non-Construction Programs (SF-424B), Certificate regarding lobbying, EPA forms 5700-54 and 4700-4, A project and budget narrative including documents of Environmental Results Past Performance and Programmatic Capability. Other pertinent documentation may be required. A complete description and instructions for application submission will be provided in the funding announcement.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Regarding pre-application/pre-proposal assistance with respect to competitive funding opportunities under this program description, EPA will generally specify the nature of the pre-application/pre-proposal assistance, if any, that will be available to applicants in the competitive announcement.

For additional information, contact the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts" or see Appendix IV of the Catalog.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

Electronic application must be made through http://www.grants.gov/ using the application package available at that web site for electronic submissions. Complete application information is provided in the annual RFA. Applicants may be able to use http://www.grants.gov to electronically apply for certain grant opportunities under this CFDA.

Award Procedures

For competitive awards, EPA will review and evaluate applications, proposals, and/or submissions in accordance with the terms, conditions, and criteria stated in the competitive announcement. Competitions will be conducted in accordance with EPA policies/regulations for competing assistance agreements.

Deadlines

The deadline for applications will be stated in the Requests for Applications and will not be less than 45 days from the date that it is posted on grants.gov.

Authorization

Clean Water Act, Section 104, as amended.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 60 days for the application to be approved or disapproved.

Appeals

Assistance agreement competition-related disputes will be resolved in accordance with the dispute resolution procedures published in 70 FR (Federal Register) 3629, 3630 (January 26, 2005). Copies of these procedures may also be requested by contacting the individual(s) listed as "Information Contacts." Disputes relating to matters other than the competitive selection of recipients will be resolved under 40 CFR 30.63 or 40 CFR 31.70, as applicable.

Renewals

Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Projects periods and funding is normally on a 2 year basis. Longer projects are occassional supported. Expected project and funding periods will vary between funding priorities and will be identified in the annual funding announcement. EPA reserves the right to fully, incrementally or partially fund a project.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

EPA includes reporting requirements for grants and cooperative agreements in the terms and conditions of the agreements.

Agreements may require quarterly, interim, and final progress reports, and financial, equipment, and invention reports.

Reporting requirements are also identified in the Grant Regulations, 40 CFR Parts 30 and 31.

Audits

Grants and cooperative agreements are subject to inspections and audits by the Comptroller General of the United States, the EPA Office of Inspector General, other EPA staff, or any authorized representative of the Federal government. Reviews by the EPA Project Officer and the Grants Specialist may occur each year. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," non-federal entities that expend $500,000 or more in a year in Federal awards shall have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-federal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in OMB Circular No. A-133.

Records

The record retention requirements of 40 CFR Parts 30 and 31 are applicable depending upon the identity of the recipient. Recipients must keep financial records, including all documents supporting entries on accounting records, and substantiate changes in grants available to personnel authorized to examine EPA recipients' grants and cooperative agreements records. Award recipients must agree to make methods, models, and data resulting from this agreement accessible to the public and to EPA. All records must be maintained until expiration of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. If questions remain, such as those raised as a result of an audit, following the 3-year period, recipients must retain records until the matter is completely resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification

68-0107-0-1-304.

Obigations

FY 07 $2,210,173; FY 08 est. $767,500; FY 09 est. $900,000. FY 08 Funding was placed on awards made in response to FY 07 Funding Priorities.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

The average financial assistance for 2006 awards on new projects was $409,000 with a range of $192,000 to $575,000. The financial assistance for awards resulting from the 2007 RFA competition are pending and are expected to be funded in FY 2008.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

EPA's General Grant Regulations, 40 CFR Part 31; EPA's Interim Regulations, Research and Demonstration Grants, 40 CFR Part 40. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments and Indian Tribes and OMB Circular No. A-21 for educational institutions.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Individuals are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate ORD or Regional Office listed on REMAP's website at www.epa.gov/emap/remap, and listed in the RFA for this program.

Headquarters Office

For technical information on grant applications and procedures, contact Jo Thompson, at the following address: Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Continent Ecology Division, 6201 Congdon Boulevard, Duluth, MN 55804. Commercial Telephone: (218) 529-5198, Fax: (218) 529-5015. Government E-mail: Thompson.jo@epa.gov. For administrative questions contact Larry Hodgson, Telephone: (740)-654-2346, Government E-mail: Hodgson.Larry@epa.gov.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

The evaluation and selection criteria for competitive awards under this CFDA description will be described in the competitive announcement. Competitive applications and proposals will be selected in accordance with announced criteria. Generally, the proposals will be judged for (A) Extent to which projects addresses Regional priority areas identified in the announcement, partnerships and transferability of project results to Regional, State and Tribal stakeholders, and consistency with REMAP objectives and EPA's strategic goals; and (B) Technical issues including the identification of plan for tracking outputs and environmental outcomes and evaluating the applicant's past performance in reporting on outputs and outcomes. Specific criteria and weight of criteria are listed in the annual announcement.



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