Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ICR Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Accountability System

Jan 5: U.S. EPA has issued a Federal Register information collection request (ICR) for comments on the Great Lakes Accountability System [75 FR 362-364, 1/5/10]. In 2010, EPA, in concert with its Federal partners, will begin implementation of a new Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) which was included in the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-88). The GLRI will invest some $475 million in programs and projects strategically chosen to target the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The legislation calls for increased accountability for the GLRI and directs EPA to implement a process to track, measure and report on progress. As part of the process, Federal and non-Federal entities receiving GLRI funds will be required to submit detailed information on GLRI projects as part of their funding agreement. Recipients will be required to provide project-level information on the nature of the activity, responsible organization, organizational point of contact, resource levels, geographic location, major milestones and progress toward GLRI goals. The information is necessary to provide an accurate depiction of activities, progress and results. Information would be entered and updated on at least a quarterly basis.

A web-based Great Lakes Accountability System (GLAS) is being developed as the primary mechanism for collecting information on GLRI activities. The website will contain a user-friendly data entry interface for recipients to enter and submit project information directly into the GLAS. The data entry interface will consist of a series of screens containing pull-down menus and text boxes, where users can enter project specific information. The GLAS will provide the necessary information for reports to the President and will be accessible to the public via Internet.

Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection. Comments must be submitted on or before March 8, 2010.

Access the FR announcement (click here). Access the EPA docket for this action for background and to review and submit comments and (click here).

FY 2010 Request For Fish & Wildlife Project Proposals

Dec 21: The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act of 2006 (GLFWRA) Grant Program provides Federal grants on a competitive basis to states, tribes and other interested entities to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration and management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitat in the Great Lakes basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting project pre-proposals that focus on the restoration of fish and/or wildlife resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes Basin. Supported in part by President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a total of $8 million will be available to support projects this fiscal year. This represents the largest amount appropriated for this effort since the grants program began in 1998. Pre-proposals are due on Friday, January 22, 2010, by 11 PM EST.

Access links to complete information including the RFP, releases and related information (
click here).

Draft Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Plan

Dec 23: U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office has release the Draft Lake Superior Aquatic Invasive Species Complete Prevention Plan and is soliciting comments by February 26, 2010. The Lake Superior Binational Program developed the draft Plan for the lake which identifies the pathways aquatic invasive species use to enter and become established in the lake. The Plan recommends prevention actions that need to be newly implemented, in addition to existing efforts, in order to close existing pathways on both sides of the border and prevent new aquatic invasive species from entering the Lake Superior ecosystem.

A series of conference calls will be scheduled for February 2010. On these calls, the plan will be presented via a webcast, and comments will be welcome. In addition, a series of workshops will be held in the spring and summer of 2010 to provide additional information and answer questions. Additional workshop details will be available in early 2010. After the comment period closes on February 26, all comments will be considered and the Plan will be revised and finalized accordingly. An implementation plan will then be written and circulated which will help relevant agencies and organizations incorporate prevention actions and activities into their respective work plans.

Access an overview, links to the complete draft Plan, on-line commenting and related information (
click here). Access the EPA Great Lakes website for links to extensive information (click here).

Q&A's On Great Lakes Restoration Initiative RFP

Dec 30: U.S. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office has posted a number of questions and answers to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Request for Proposals (RFP) [See WIMS 12/8/09]. EPA notes that many questions were presented in email and in two public webinars which took place in early December 2009. These questions and all other questions that have been received have been answered and the answers posted on-line.

On November 23, EPA announced the issuance of the RFP [79 pages, Announcement No: EPA-R5-GL2010-1] which solicits proposals from eligible entities for grants and cooperative agreements to be awarded pursuant to a portion of the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Proposals must be received by EPA by noon Central standard time on January 29, 2010.

Access complete information on the RFP and Q&A's on the GLRI RFP website (
click here).