Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Funding

The Galveston Bay Estuary Program is formally seeking project proposals to consider for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Funds. Stakeholders from the subcommittees and the Galveston Bay Council met on August 24, 2022 to determine the priorities for the BIL Fund project planning. Three priorities were agreed upon for each Plan Priority from the Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition. Any proposal can be submitted, but those that implement the BIL Fund priorities will be considered above others:

Federal BIL Fund Stakeholder Identified Priorities:

Plan Priority 1: Ensure Safe Human and Aquatic Life Use

  • Projects in support of: marine debris reduction, green infrastructure, watershed health, water reuse and conservation.
  • Planning and implementation of management measures and watershed-based plans.
  • Climate resilience; environmental monitoring (PP4). *

Plan Priority 2: Protect and Sustain Living Resources

  • Habitat Conservation: benefit to native species must be addressed.
  • Habitat Restoration and Enhancement: benefit to native species must be addressed.
  • Habitat Restoration Assessments and Mapping Gaps; products must also include action item (list of restoration sites, etc.) (PP4). *

Plan Priority 3: Engage Communities

  • Building new or existing programs with underrepresented communities.
  • Continued identification and needs of underrepresented communities related to the Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition.
  • Implementing programs / partnerships with underrepresented communities.

Plan Priority 4: Inform Science-based Decision Making

  • Adaptive Management – Support monitoring projects post-completion (successes, lessons learned) (PP2). *
  • Environmental Monitoring – Species, Contaminants, Novel Monitoring Approaches (PP1). *
  • Climate resilience; novel monitoring approaches.

*Indicates cross-plan priorities

A copy of the BIL Funding Presentation is available for reference to assist with the application process.

The proposal form is available through the following link: GBEP BIL Funding Proposal Template. Please fill out all fields of the proposal form and return to the GBEP Proxy Email by COB Friday, September 16, 2022.

Please note the following:

  • The 1,000-word maximum on the Full Project Summary will be strictly enforced.
  • Only Microsoft Word versions of a proposal will be accepted (No PDFs; please contact the appropriate Subcommittee Coordinator if there is an issue).
  • No projects will be accepted after September 16, 2022.

A second combined meeting of the Galveston Bay Council and its subcommittees will be held on Wednesday, October 5 to review the applications for funding and select the projects to receive awards. The time and location of this meeting will be posted as soon as it is available.

Funding for Fiscal Year 2024

The application period for Clean Water Act Funding through GBEP for FY2024 is now closed. The Subcommittees of the Galveston Bay Council will meet in September to review applications and select the projects to be funded.

Information on the project priorities for FY24 projects can be found below. Projects that align with the implementation of The Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition will be considered above others:

WSQ

  • Supporting Management Measures and Watershed-Based Plans
  • Soil Health Studies, Workshops, and Green Infrastructure
  • Targeted/Direct Monitoring

NRU

  • Habitat Acquisition
  • Enhancement of Existing or Ongoing Restoration/Conservation Efforts
  • Benefit to Native Fish and Wildlife
  • Brings Funding, Work Leverage, Multiple Goal Benefit to the Subcommittee
  • Project Urgency
  • Special Merit Project (Expansion of GBEP Implementation Tracking Viewer: Adding Spatial Components to Project Tracking (Alternative to the Habitat Conservation Blueprint))

PPE

  • Lack of funding or difficulty for securing funding for existing programs. Look for established programs looking to expand an outreach component or revamp an existing portion of the program. Funding for programs to go into the classrooms to provide educational workshops.
  • Career information on natural resource, environmental education, and outreach for community college programs. How to connect (Roadmap) to STEM careers and resources to support them.
  • Collecting a list of stewardship and volunteer resources in the region (young adult, adult audiences, afterschool programs).
  • Addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion.

M&R

  • Contaminants in Aquatic Organisms, Sediments, and Water
  • Effects of Increased Frequency of Flood Tides and Erosion on Species Populations
  • Effects of Tropicalization and Episodic Weather Events on Organisms and Ecosystems in Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico
  • Impacts of Coastal Spine Structures on Species Movements

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please note the following:

  • The 1,000-word maximum on the Full Project Summary will be strictly enforced.
  • Only Microsoft Word versions of a proposal will be accepted (No PDFs).
  • No projects will be accepted after July 22, 2022.

Please fill out all fields of the appropriate subcommittee proposal form and return it by COB Friday, July 22, 2022 to the corresponding Subcommittee Coordinator:

WSQ Subcommittee: Christian Rines

NRU Subcommittee: Lindsey Lippert

PPE Subcommittee: Lisa Marshall

M&R Subcommittee: Lisa Marshall

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free to contact the corresponding Subcommittee Coordinator.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

CCMP Update 

The Galveston Bay Estuary Program is also formally seeking project proposals for the CCMP Update in FY 2024. An updated CCMP can take the form of:

  • an Addendum to the Galveston Bay Plan, 2nd Edition (GBP, 2nd Ed.);
  • a Strategic Plan or updated Implementation Plan that serves as a companion piece to the GBP, 2nd Ed.; or
  • changes to Action Plans in the GBP, 2nd Ed.

The CCMP Update will need to incorporate information through the Galveston Bay Estuary Resiliency Assessment, along with complying with steps within the NEP CCMP Update Guidance.

Please fill out all fields on the proposal form and return it to Lisa Marshall by COB Friday, July 22, 2022.

______________________________________________________________

How the Galveston Bay Estuary Program funds projects

Federal, state, and partner contributions are critical to the success of the GBEP. The Estuary Program is funded annually with EPA funds from Section 320 of the Clean Water Act, which is matched (1:1) with state funds from TCEQ. The partnership between TCEQ and EPA is important to the successful implementation of The Galveston Bay Plan since some plan actions fulfill the tenants of the Clean Water Act and Texas Water Code and support the missions of both agencies.

GBEP receives additional state funding, which is leveraged to match other federal grants.

GBEP provides technical support to its partners in developing and securing funding for a variety of project types and applies for external funding when applicable. Awards received include Coastal Impact Assistance Program, which was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Texas General Land Office, and the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

GBEP Project Development Process

The Estuary Program project development and funding is unique in that the staff members work closely with stakeholders to take a project from concept to implementation. This process is one of the strengths of the Estuary Program as it has garnered diverse and vital partnerships and helped leverage resources from multiple entities and organizations.
The fiscal year for the State of Texas is September 1 through August 31. Throughout the year the Galveston Bay Council and its subcommittees meet to develop projects that are aligned with the Galveston Bay Plan.

Subcommittee Review and Selection

The Water and Sediment Quality (WSQ), Natural Resource Uses (NRU), Public Participation and Education (PPE), and Monitoring and Research (M&R) subcommittees meet quarterly during the year to discuss each group’s priority focus and determine what projects or issues need to be addressed. The subcommittees also work in concert with the Galveston Bay Council, the Budget and Priorities subcommittee (B&P), and Estuary Program staff to develop priority needs. The B&P subcommittee consists of the chairs of each of the subcommittees and the Council Chair and Vice Chair as well as former Council Chairs. This body also meets regularly to review and assess the needs of the program and the other subcommittees.

Starting in early summer, the committees meet to set priority needs that will help determine project planning for the upcoming fiscal year funding.

By early fall, each subcommittee meets to review project proposals based on the priorities set throughout the year. A project proposal submission form is made available for each subcommittee and the public at large. Projects are presented in the September subcommittee meetings.

After subcommittee members have reviewed the proposals, projects are selected either by consensus or ranking depending on the approved process in each subcommittee.

Once the projects are selected by each subcommittee, the projects are then reviewed by the B&P subcommittee. This body is tasked with providing a balanced fiscal year budget for the program that takes into consideration program needs, operating costs, and project funding.

Council Review and Work Plan

In October, the Council is presented the GBEP budget that includes the proposed projects. Once the Council has approved the projects and proposed GBEP budget, the Estuary Program, and TCEQ work to develop the fiscal year work plan for the EPA that lays out program operating costs, project funding, and program needs.