Notice of Solicitation for Estuary Habitat Restoration Program, 33743-33748 [07-3002]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices On November 5, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a notice of a Nationwide TRICARE Demonstration Project (66 FR 55928–55930). On October 1, 2004, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a notice (69 FR 58895) to extend the Demonstration through October 31, 2005. On October 12, 2005, the Department of Defense (DoD) published a notice (70 FR 59320) to extend the Demonstration through October 31, 2007. The continued activation of Reserve Component members in support of Noble Eagle/ Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom warrants the continuation of the Demonstration to support the healthcare needs and morale of family members of activated Reservists and guardsmen. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2005 amended existing statutes to authorize the Secretary of Defense to provide these benefits permanently by regulation. The Demonstration needs to be extended to allow sufficient time to complete the rule-making process. The impact, if the Demonstration is not extended before the regulation is completed, includes higher out-ofpocket costs and potential inability of beneficiaries to continue to use the same provider for ongoing care. There are three separate components to the demonstration. First, those who participate in TRICARE Standard will not be responsible for paying the TRICARE Standard deductible. By law, the TRICARE Standard deductible for active duty dependents is $150 per individual, $300 per family ($50/$150 for E–4’s and below). The second component extends TRICARE payment up to 115 percent of the TRICARE maximum allowable charge, less the applicable patient copayment, for care received from a provider that does not participate (accept assignment) under TRICARE to the extent necessary to ensure timely access to care and clinically appropriate continuity of care. Third, the Demonstration authorizes a waiver of the non-availability statement requirement of non-emergency impatient care. This Demonstration project is being conducted under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 1092. This Demonstration is extended through October 31, 2008. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: June 20, 2007. L.M. Bynum, Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. 07–2999 Filed 6–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–M VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:32 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army Board of Visitors, United States Military Academy (USMA) Department of the Army, DoD. Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: In accordance with Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463), announcement is made of the following committee meeting: Name of Committee: Board of Visitors, United States Military Academy. Date: Sunday, July 14, 2007. Place of Meeting: The Superintendent’s Conference Room, Building 600 (Taylor Hall), West Point, NY. Time of Meeting: Approximately 12:30 p.m. through 4:30 p.m. Board Mission: The Board, under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 4355, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, as amended, shall provide the President of the United States independent advice and recommendations on matters relating to the U.S. Military Academy, to include but not limited to morale and discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, and academic methods. Board Membership: The Board is composed of 15 members, 9 of which are members of Congress and 6 persons designated by the President. The 2007 Chairman of the Board is Congressman John McHugh, New York—23rd District. Ms. Cynthia Kramer, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY 10996–5000, (845) 938–5078 or via e-mail: Cynthia.kramer@usma.edu. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Proposed Agenda: Summer Meeting of the Board of Visitors. The Board plans to inquire into instruction and physical equipment, and the BRAC relocation of the United States Military Academy Preparatory School. Board members will observe Cadet Summer Training and participate in roundtable discussions with cadet leadership. Members will receive tours and briefings on renovated Cadet Barracks, Jefferson Hall Library and Learning Center, the West Point Museum, and the BRAC-approved United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS) location at West Point. All Board meeting proceedings are open to the public. Picture identification is required to enter West Point. Public Inquiry at Board Meetings: Any member of the public is permitted to file a written statement with the USMA Board of Visitors. Written statements should be sent to the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) at: United States Military Academy, Office of the Secretary of the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33743 General Staff (MASG), 646 Swift Road, West Point, NY 10996–1905 or faxed to the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) at (845) 938–3214. Written statements must be received no later than five working days prior to the next meeting in order to provide time for member consideration. By rule, no member of the public attending open meetings will be allowed to present questions from the floor or speak to any issue under consideration by the Board. Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 07–3000 Filed 6–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE: 3710–08–M DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Notice of Solicitation for Estuary Habitat Restoration Program Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of solicitation for project applications. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Congress has appropriated limited funds to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to implement the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program as authorized in Section 104 of the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000, Title I of the Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106–457) (accessible at http:// era.noaa.gov/pdfs/act_s835.pdf). On behalf of the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council (Council), the Corps is soliciting proposals for estuary habitat restoration projects. This document describes project criteria and evaluation criteria the Council will use to determine which projects to recommend. Recommended projects must provide ecosystem benefits, have scientific merit, be technically feasible, and be cost-effective. Proposals selected for Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funding will be implemented in accordance with a cost-share agreement with the Corps. This is not a grants program. Proposals must be received on or before August 20, 2007. ADDRESSES: Proposal forms may be accessed at http://www.usace.army.mil/ cw/cecwp/estuary_act/index.htm or by contacting the individuals listed in the following section. Project proposals may be submitted electronically, by mail, or by courier. Electronic submissions are preferred and will facilitate processing. Please follow the detailed instructions DATES: E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1 33744 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices provided in Section X. of the section. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ellen Cummings, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC 20314–1000, (202) 761–4750, e-mail: Ellen.M.Cummings@usace.army.mil; or, Mr. Chip Smith, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Washington, DC (703) 693–3655, e-mail: Chip.Smith@HQDA.Army.Mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Arrangements have been made for a conference call to answer questions regarding this solicitation. The call has been scheduled for July 16, 2007 at 1 p.m. EDT. This will be a long distance call but there will be no surcharge above each participant’s normal costs for long distance calls. In order to assure adequate lines are available, please send an email with a subject line of ‘‘EHRP solicitation conference call’’ to Ms. Cummings or Mr. Smith by noon on July 11, 2007. A reply will be sent to each message containing the telephone number and access code for the call. A second call will be scheduled at a later date if necessary. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES I. Introduction Under the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is authorized to carry out estuary habitat restoration projects. However, the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council (Council) is responsible for soliciting, reviewing and evaluating project proposals. The Corps may only fund projects on the prioritized list provided by the Council. The Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy prepared by the Council contains introductory information about the program and provides the context in which projects will be evaluated and the program will be conducted. The Strategy was published in the Federal Register (67 FR 71942) on December 3, 2002. It is also accessible at http:// www.usace.army.mil/cw/cecwp/ estuary_act/index.htm in PDF format. An emphasis will be placed on achieving cost-effective restoration of ecosystems while promoting increased partnerships among agencies and between public and private sectors. Projects funded under this program will contribute to the Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy goal of restoring 1,000,000 acres of estuary habitat. For purposes of this program, estuary is defined as ‘‘a part of a river or stream or other body of water that has an unimpaired connection with the open sea and where the sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water from land drainage.’’ Estuary also VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:32 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 includes the ‘‘* * * near coastal waters and wetlands of the Great Lakes that are similar in form and function to estuaries * * *’’. For this program, estuary is considered to extend from the head of tide to the boundary with the open sea (to downstream terminus features or structures such as barrier islands, reefs, sand bars, mud flats, or headlands in close proximity to the connection with the open sea). In the Great Lakes, riparian and nearshore areas will be considered to be estuaries. Estuary habitat includes the estuary and its associated ecosystems, such as: Salt, brackish, and fresh water coastal marshes; coastal forested wetlands and other coastal wetlands; maritime forests; coastal grasslands; tidal flats; natural shoreline areas; shellfish beds; sea grass meadows; kelp beds; river deltas; and river and stream corridors under tidal influence. II. Eligible Restoration Activities Section 103 of the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000 (the Act) defines the term estuary habitat restoration activity to mean ‘‘an activity that results in improving degraded estuaries or estuary habitat or creating estuary habitat (including both physical and functional restoration), with the goal of attaining a self-sustaining system integrated into the surrounding landscape.’’ Projects funded under this program will be consistent with this definition. Eligible habitat restoration activities include re-establishment of chemical, physical, hydrologic, and biological features and components associated with an estuary. Restoration may include, but is not limited to, improvement of estuarine wetland tidal exchange or reestablishment of historic hydrology; dam or berm removal; improvement or reestablishment of fish passage; appropriate reef/substrate/ habitat creation; planting of native estuarine wetland and submerged aquatic vegetation; reintroduction of native species; control of invasive species; and establishment of riparian buffer zones in the estuary. Cleanup of pollution for the benefit of estuary habitat may be considered, as long as it does not meet the definition of excluded activities under the Act (see section III, Excluded Activities, below). In general, proposed projects should clearly demonstrate anticipated benefits to habitats such as those habitats listed in the Introduction. Although the Council recognized that water quality and land use issues may impact habitat restoration efforts and must be considered in project planning, the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program is intended to fund physical habitat PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 restoration projects, not measures such as storm water detention ponds, wastewater treatment plant upgrades or combined sewer outfall improvements. III. Excluded Activities Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds will not be used for any activity that constitutes mitigation required under any Federal or State law for the adverse effects of an activity regulated or otherwise governed by Federal or State law, or that constitutes restoration for natural resource damages required under any Federal or State law. Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds will not be used for remediation of any hazardous substances regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9601–9675). Additionally, Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds will not be used to carry out projects on Federal lands. IV. Project Sponsor and Cost Sharing The Non-Federal Sponsor may be a State, a political subdivision of a State, a Tribe, or a regional or interstate agency. A non-governmental organization may serve as a Non-Federal Sponsor as determined by the Secretary of the Army (Secretary) in consultation with appropriate State and local governmental agencies and Tribes. For purposes of this act the term nongovernmental organization does not include for profit enterprises. The NonFederal Sponsor must be able to provide the real estate interests necessary for implementation, operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the project. In most cases this means the Non-Federal Sponsor must have fee title to the lands necessary for the project although in some cases an easement may be sufficient. The Federal share of the cost of an estuary habitat restoration project shall not exceed 65 percent except that the Federal share shall be 85 percent of the incremental additional cost of pilot testing or demonstration of an innovative technology having the potential for improved costeffectiveness. Innovative technology is defined as novel processes, techniques and/or materials to restore habitat, or the use of existing processes, techniques, and/or materials in a new restoration application. Prior to initiation of a project, the Non-Federal Sponsor must enter into a written agreement with the Corps in which the Non-Federal Sponsor agrees to provide its share of the project cost. The Non-Federal Sponsor shall provide E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices necessary lands, easements, rights-ofway, and relocations. The value of the required real estate interests will be credited towards the Non-Federal Sponsor’s share of the project cost. The Non-Federal Sponsor may also provide services and in-kind contributions for credit toward its share of the project cost. Credit for the value of in-kind contributions is subject to satisfactory compliance with applicable Federal labor laws covering non-Federal construction, including but not limited to the Davis-Bacon Act (40 U.S.C. 276a et seq.), the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (40 U.S.C. 327 et seq.), and the Copeland AntiKickback Act (40 U.S.C. 276c). Credit may be afforded for the value of required work undertaken by volunteers, using the hourly value in common usage for grants program but not to exceed the Federal estimate of the cost of activity. The Non-Federal Sponsor shall also have a long-term responsibility for all costs associated with operating, maintaining, replacing, repairing, and rehabilitating these projects as well as for the required post-construction monitoring. The cost of these activities will not be included in the total project cost and will not count toward the NonFederal Sponsor’s minimum 35 percent share of the project cost. Other Federal funds, i.e. funds appropriated to agencies other than the Corps, may not be used by the NonFederal Sponsor to meet its share of the project cost unless the other Federal agency verifies in writing that expenditure of funds for such purpose is expressly authorized by statute. Otherwise, other Federal funds may be used for the proposed project if consistent with the other agency’s authorities and will count as part of the Federal share of the project cost. Any non-Federal funds or contributions used as a match for these other Federal funds or any other Federal program may be used toward the project but will not be considered in determining the nonFederal share in relation to the Corps’ costs. Credit will be provided only for work necessary for the specific project being funded with Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds. For example, a nonFederal entity is engaged in the removal of ten dams, has removed six dams, and now seeks assistance for the removal of the remaining four dams as an Estuary Habitat Restoration Program project. None of the costs associated with the removal of the six dams is creditable as part of the non-Federal share of the project for removal of four dams. This is not a grants program. The Corps will not transfer funds to the Non- VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:32 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 Federal Sponsor. The Corps will implement (construct) some portion of the proposed project. To the extent possible the Corps will use the planning, evaluation, and design products provided by the applicant. However, the Corps will be responsible for assuring compliance with Federal environmental statutes, assuring the project is designed to avoid adverse impacts on other properties and that the project can reasonably be expected to provide the desired benefits, and managing construction activities not performed by the Non-Federal Sponsor as in-kind contribution. These Corps activities will be part of the Federal cost of the project, and the Non-Federal Sponsor should consider these costs in developing the project cost estimate. It is recommended that the Non-Federal Sponsor coordinate with the appropriate Corps district office during preparation of the proposal. Information on district locations and boundaries may be found at http://www.usace.army.mil/ ContactUs.html. If additional assistance is required please contact Ms. Cummings (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). V. Funding Availability Limited funds have been appropriated for implementation of projects under the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program. The Council will not accept proposals that indicate an estimated Federal cost of less than $100,000 or more than $1,000,000. There is no guarantee that sufficient funds will be available to fund all eligible proposals. The number of proposals funded as a result of this notice will depend on the number of eligible proposals received, the estimated amount of funds required for each selected project, and the merit and ranking of the proposals. The exact amount of the Federal and non-Federal cost share for each selected project will be specified in the written agreement discussed in Project Sponsor and Cost Sharing, Section IV above. Projects selected for funding must be capable of producing the ecosystem benefits described in the proposal in the absence of Federal funding beyond that established in the cost-share agreement. VI. Proposal Review Process Proposals will be screened as discussed in section VII.A. below to determine eligibility. The staff of the agencies represented on the Council will conduct a technical review of the eligible proposals in accordance with the criteria described in section VII.B. below. Agency scientists involved in estuarine research or the development and application of innovative methods PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33745 for restoring estuary habitats will also review proposals that indicate the use of innovative technologies. Each agency will score and rank the proposals; the staff of the five agencies will use these rankings as the basis for a consolidated recommendation. The Council will consider the staff recommendation, the items discussed in sections VII.C. and D. below, and possibly other factors when preparing its prioritized list of recommended projects for the Secretary’s use. VII. Proposal Review Criteria This section describes the criteria that will be used to review and select projects to be recommended to the Secretary for funding under the Act. It will benefit applicants to ensure that project proposals clearly address the criteria set forth under the following four subsections: Initial Screening of Project Proposals; Evaluation of Project Proposals; Priority Elements; and Other Factors. A. Initial Screening of Project Proposals Proposals will be screened according to the requirements listed in sections 104(b) and 104(c)(2) of the Act as described below. In addition, proposed projects must not include excluded activities as discussed in Section III above. Proposals that do not meet all of these initial screening criteria will not be evaluated further. To be accepted the proposal must: (1) Originate from a Non-Federal Sponsor (section 104(b)); (2) address restoration needs identified in an estuary habitat restoration plan (section 104(c)(2)(A)). The Act defines ‘‘estuary habitat restoration plan’’ as any Federal or State plan for restoration of degraded estuary habitat that was developed with substantial participation of the public (section 103(6)); (3) be consistent with the Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy (section 104(c)(2)(B)) by: (a) including eligible restoration activities that provide ecosystem benefits; (b) addressing estuary habitat trends (including historic losses) in the project region, and indicating how these were considered in developing the project proposal; (c) involving a partnership approach, and (d) clearly describing the benefits expected to be realized by the proposed project; (4) include a monitoring plan that is consistent with standards developed by NOAA under section 104(c)(2)(C)) (available at: http://era.noaa.gov/htmls/ E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1 33746 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices era/era_monitoring.html, or from the contacts listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). Minimum monitoring requirements include monitoring over a period of five years and tracking of at least one structural and one functional element. Examples of structural and functional elements are contained in the monitoring document cited above, and; (5) include satisfactory assurances that the Non-Federal Sponsor has adequate authority and resources to carry out items of local cooperation and properly maintain the project (section 104(c)(2)(D)). rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES B. Evaluation of Project Proposals Proposals that meet the initial screening criteria in A. above will be eligible for further review using the criteria listed below. The following criteria are listed in order of relative importance with the most important criteria first. The first four criteria are the most important. If the reviewers find that a response to any of the first four criteria is completely inadequate, the proposals will be rejected. For each of the listed criteria the focus will be on the factors mentioned below but other factors may also be considered. (1) Ecosystem Benefits Proposals will be evaluated based on the extent of proposed habitat restoration activities and the type(s) of habitat(s) that will be restored. Following are specific factors that reviewers will consider as part of this criterion: (a) Prevention or reversal of estuary habitat loss or degradation in the project area and the nature and extent of the proposed project’s potential contribution to the long-term conservation of estuary habitat functions, (b) benefits for Federally listed endangered or threatened species, species proposed for Federal listing, recently delisted species or designated or proposed critical habitat in the project areas, (c) extent to which the project will provide, restore, or improve habitat important for estuary-dependent fish and/or migratory birds (e.g. breeding, spawning, nursery, foraging, or staging habitat), (d) prevention or reduction of nonpoint source pollution or other contaminants to estuary habits or restoration of estuary habitats that are already contaminated, and (e) benefits or nearby existing habitat areas, or contribution to the creation of wildlife/ecological corridors connecting existing habit areas. VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:32 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 Examples of activities that would not qualify would be restoration of an oyster bed open to commercial harvest or a fish hatchery. Educational facilities such as classrooms, botanical gardens, or recreational facilities such as trails or boat ramps would also not qualify for cost sharing under this program although they may be included in the project if they do not conflict with the environmental benefits expected from project implementation. (a) Potential success of restoration techniques, based on history of successful implementation in field or pilot projects, (b) implementation schedule. (c) expected length of time before success can be demonstrated, (d) proposed corrective actions using monitoring information, (e) project management plans, and (f) experience and qualifications of project personnel. (2) Cost-Effectiveness (4) Scientific Merit Reviewers will evaluate the relationship between estimated project costs, including the costs of remaining planning, design, construction, required lands, and annual operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement and monitoring cost, to the monetary and non-monetary benefits described in the proposal. Clear quantitative and qualitative descriptions of the proposed outputs will facilitate this evaluation. Examples of units of measure include: acres restored, flood damage reduction levels, changes in water quality parameters, increases in the productivity of various species, and presence and absence of certain species. The estimated persistence of the proposed project outputs will be considered. For examples, will the area be maintained as a wetland, or allowed to erode or become upland? Will the proposed project produce additional benefits due to synergy between the proposed project and other ongoing or proposed projects? Reviewers will consider if the proposed project is a cost-effective way to achieve the proposed benefits. In some instances the costs and benefits of proposed projects may be compared to the costs and benefits of other similar projects in the area. The significance of the proposed outputs is also a factor to be considered as part of cost-effectiveness. The significance of restoration outputs should be recognized in terms of institutional (such as laws, adopted plans, or policy statements), public (such as support for the project), or technical (such as addresses scarcity, increases limiting habitat, or improves or increases biodiversity) importance. Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which the project design is based on sound ecological principles and is likely to meet project goals. This may be indicated by the following factors: (a) Goals of the project are reasonable considering the existing and former habitat types present at the site and other local influences, (b) the proposed restoration methodology demonstrates an understanding of habitat function, and (c) specific methods proposed (if successfully implemented—see criteria on technical feasibility) have a good chance of meeting project goals and achieving long-term sustainability. (3) Technical Feasibility Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which, given current and projected environmental conditions of the restoration site—e.g., soils, flood regime, presence of invasive species, surrounding land use—the proposed project is likely to be successfully implemented. Consideration will also be given to: PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 (5) Agency Coordination Reviewers will evaluate the degree to which the project will encourage increased coordination and cooperation among Federal, State, and local government agencies. Some of the indicators used to evaluate coordination are: (a) The State, Federal, and local agencies involved in developing the project and their expected roles in implementation, (b) the nature of agency coordination, e.g., joint funding, periodic multiagency review of the project, collaboration on adaptive management decisions, joint monitoring, opportunities for future collaboration, etc., and (c) whether a formal agreement, such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), exists between/among agencies as part of the project. (6) Public/Private Partnerships One of the focuses of the Act is the encouragement of new public/private partnerships. Reviewers will evaluate the degree to which the project will foster public/private partnerships and uses Federal resources to encourage increased private sector involvement. Indicators of the success at meeting this criteria follow. How will the project promote collaboration or create partnerships among public and private entities, including potential for future E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices new or expanded public/private partnerships? What mechanisms are being used to establish the partnership, e.g., joint funding, shared monitoring, joint decision-making on adaptive management strategies? Is there a formal agreement, such as an MOU, between/ among the partners as part of the project? Also important is the extent to which the project creates an opportunity for long-term partnerships among public and private entities. (7) Level of Contribution Reviewers will consider the level and type (cash or in-kind) of Non-Federal contribution. Providing more than the minimum 35-percent share will be rated favorably. It must be clear how much of the total project cost the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program is expected to provide, how much is coming from other Federal sources, how much is coming directly from the sponsor, and how much is available or expected to be provided by other sources (either cash or in-kind). rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES (8) Monitoring Plan Reviewers will consider the following factors in evaluating the quality of the monitoring plan: (a) Linkage between the monitoring methods and the project goals, including success criteria, (b) how results will be evaluated (statistical comparison to baseline or reference condition, trend analysis, or other quantitative or qualitative approach), (c) how baseline conditions will be established for the parameters to be measured, (d) if applicable, the use and selection of reference sites, where they are located, how they were chosen, and whether they represent target conditions for the habitat or conditions at the site without restoration, (e) the appropriateness of the nature, frequency, and timing of measurements and which areas will be sampled, (f) provisions for adaptive management, and data reporting, and (g) whether the length of the proposed monitoring plan is appropriate for the project goals. The minimum required monitoring period is five years. (9) Multiple Benefits In addition to the ecosystem benefits discussed in criterion (1) above, restored estuary habitats may provide additional benefits. Among those the reviewers will consider are: flood damage reduction, protection from storm surge, water quality and/or quantity for human uses, recreational opportunities, and benefits to commercial fisheries. VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:32 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 (10) Dedicated Funding Source Reviewers will consider if the State in which the proposed project will be located has a dedicated source of funding to acquire or restore estuary habitat, natural areas, and open spaces for the benefit of estuary habitat restoration or protection. (11) Supports Regional Restoration Goals Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which the proposed project contributes to meeting and/or strengthening the needs, goals, objectives and restoration priorities contained in regional restoration plans, and the means that will be used to measure such progress. (12) Supports Federal Plan If the proposed project supports a Federal plan (examples of Federal plans are listed in section 103(b)(B) of the Act), reviewers will consider the extent to which the project would contribute to meeting and/or strengthening the plan’s needs, goals, objectives and restoration priorities, and the means that will be used to measure such progress. C. Priority Elements Section 104(c)(4) of the Act directs the Secretary to give priority consideration to a project that merits selection based on the above criteria if it: (1) Occurs within a watershed where there is a program being implemented that addresses sources of pollution and other activities that otherwise would adversely affect the restored habitat; or (2) includes pilot testing or demonstration of an innovative technology having the potential to achieve better restoration results than other technologies in current practice, or comparable results at lower cost in terms of energy, economics, or environmental impacts. The Council will also consider these priority elements in ranking proposals. D. Other Factors In addition to considering the composite ratings developed in the evaluation process and the priority elements listed in C. above, the Council will consider other factors when preparing its prioritized list for the Secretary’s use. These factors include (but may not be limited to) the following: (1) Readiness of the project for implementation. Among the factors to be considered when evaluating readiness are the steps that must be taken prior to project implementation, potential delays to project implementation, and the status of real estate acquisition. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 33747 (2) Balance between large and small projects, as defined in the Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy. (3) Geographic distribution of the projects. VIII. Project Selection and Notification The Secretary will select projects for funding from the Council’s prioritized list of recommended projects after considering the criteria contained in section 104(c) of the Act, availability of funds and reasonable additional factors. It is expected that the Secretary will select proposals for implementation approximately 100 days after the close of this solicitation or 30 days after receiving the list from the Council, whichever is later. The Non-Federal Sponsor of each proposal will be notified of its status at the conclusion of the selection process. Staff from the appropriate Corps Districts will work with the Non-Federal Sponsor of each selected project to develop the costsharing agreements and schedules for project implementation. IX. Project Application Form Clarifications Most of the entries are relatively selfexplanatory, however, based on experience some clarifying comments are provided to facilitate completion of the form. A. Project name should be short but unique and descriptive. B. Organization Point of Contact. The individual listed should be the person that can answer project specific questions and will be the day-to-day contact for the project. This may be a different individual than the individual signing the Non-Federal certification. C. Item 8. Funding and Partners. Postconstruction costs including monitoring do not count as a cost share for projects funded under the Estuary Restoration Act and should not be included in the estimated total project cost. In the table, list the share of the project cost being sought from the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program as from the Corps. For this entry the ‘‘contribution type’’ is in-kind and the entire amount originates from a Federal funding source. D. Include the name of the organization as well as the title of the individual signing the Non-Federal Sponsor certification. E. If submitting a proposal electronically, a hard copy of the Letter of Assurance and Certification may be submitted if it is post-marked by the closing date for this announcement and the electronic submission has the text of the Letter of Assurance and Certification with an indication of the date signed and name/title/organization of the E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1 33748 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 117 / Tuesday, June 19, 2007 / Notices individual signing these documents. The Letter of Assurance should be addressed to ‘‘Chairman, Estuary Habitat Restoration Council’’ and sent to the address in Section X for hard copy submittals. F. In the project description section of the project application form the phrase ‘‘Estimated life cycle of the project’’ refers to the functional life of the project. As an example a wetland may fill with sediment over time and its functionality diminished. The ‘‘lifecycle’’ would be the number of years until the project no longer provided the original benefits. G. The proposed project should only be described as innovative if the NonFederal Sponsor is requesting the special cost sharing for the incremental costs of including testing of or a demonstration of an innovative technology as defined as defined in the application form. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES X. Application Process Proposal application forms are available at http://www.usace.army.mil/ cw/cecwp/estuary_act/index.htm or by contacting Ms. Ellen Cummings, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC 20314–1000, (202) 761–4750, e-mail: Ellen.M.Cummings@usace.army.mil; or Chip Smith, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Washington, DC (703) 693–3655, e-mail: Chip.Smith@HQDA.Army.Mil. The application form has been approved by OMB in compliance with the Paper Work Reduction Act and is OMB No. 0710–0014 with an expiration date of 04/30/2008. Electronic submissions are preferred and should be sent to estuary.restoration@usace.army.mil. Multiple e-mail messages may be required to ensure successful receipt if the files exceed 4MB in size. Questions may also be sent to the same e-mail address. Hard copy submissions may be sent or delivered to HQUSACE, ATTN: CECW–PB, 7701 Telegraph Road #3D72, Alexandria, VA 22315–3860. The part of the nomination prepared to address the ‘‘proposal elements’’ portion of the application should be no more than twelve double-spaced pages, using a 10 or 12-point font. Paper copies should be printed on one side only of an 8.5 in. X 11 in. page and not bound. Only one hard copy is required. A PC-compatible floppy disk or CD–ROM in either Microsoft Word or WordPerfect format may accompany the paper copy. Nominations for multiple projects submitted by the same applicant must VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:06 Jun 18, 2007 Jkt 211001 be submitted in separate e-mail messages and/or envelopes. Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 07–3002 Filed 6–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3710–92–M DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. PR07–14–000] ‘‘eLibrary’’ link and is available for review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an ‘‘eSubscription’’ link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive e-mail notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please e-mail FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov, or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Comment Date: 5 p.m. Eastern Time June 27, 2007. Bridgeline Holdings, L.P.; Notice of Rate Filing June 12, 2007. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. E7–11740 Filed 6–18–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P Take notice that on June 1, 2007, Bridgeline Holdings, L.P. (Bridgeline) filed a petition for rate approval pursuant to section 284.123(b)(2) of the Commission’s regulations. Bridgeline requests the Commission to approve a maximum interruptible rate of $0.3452 per MMBtu, a maximum firm usage charge of $0.2449 per MMBtu, a monthly reservation charge of $3.05 per MMBtu, and fuel retention of 0.29 percent for transportation service under section 311(a)(2) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978. Any person desiring to participate in this rate proceeding must file a motion to intervene or to protest this filing must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Protests will be considered by the Commission in determining the appropriate action to be taken, but will not serve to make protestants parties to the proceeding. Any person wishing to become a party must file a notice of intervention or motion to intervene, as appropriate. Such notices, motions, or protests must be filed on or before the date as indicated below. Anyone filing an intervention or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Anyone filing an intervention or protest on or before the intervention or protest date need not serve motions to intervene or protests on persons other than the Applicant. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper using the ‘‘eFiling’’ link at http://www.ferc.gov. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 14 copies of the protest or intervention to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. This filing is accessible on-line at http://www.ferc.gov, using the PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP07–367–000] Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation; Notice of Application May 16, 2007. Take notice that on May 3, 2007, Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation (Columbia), 1700 MacCorkle Avenue, SE., Charleston, West Virginia 25314, filed an application in Docket No. CP07–367–000, pursuant to sections 7(b) and 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act for a certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing it to construct and operate facilities located in Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia, for its Eastern Market Expansion (EME) Project. This filing is available for review at the Commission in the Public Reference Room or may be viewed on the Commission’s Web site at http:// www.ferc.gov using the ‘‘eLibrary’’ link. Enter the docket number excluding the last three digits in the docket number field to access the document. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free at (866) 208–3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502–8659. As part of the EME project, Columbia is seeking authorization to construct approximately 15.26 miles of pipeline, drill 9 new wells and recondition 14 existing wells at the Crawford, Coco A, and Coco C storage fields, install 12,280 horsepower at the Lanham, Lost River, and Seneca compressor stations, and upgrade various existing delivery points. When completed, the facilities will allow Columbia to provide up to 97,050 Dth per day of firm storage service, all as more fully set forth in the E:\FR\FM\19JNN1.SGM 19JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 117 (Tuesday, June 19, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 33743-33748]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-3002]


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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers


Notice of Solicitation for Estuary Habitat Restoration Program

AGENCY: Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD.

ACTION: Notice of solicitation for project applications.

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SUMMARY: Congress has appropriated limited funds to the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers (Corps) to implement the Estuary Habitat Restoration 
Program as authorized in Section 104 of the Estuary Restoration Act of 
2000, Title I of the Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 
106-457) (accessible at http://era.noaa.gov/pdfs/act_s835.pdf). On 
behalf of the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council (Council), the Corps 
is soliciting proposals for estuary habitat restoration projects. This 
document describes project criteria and evaluation criteria the Council 
will use to determine which projects to recommend. Recommended projects 
must provide ecosystem benefits, have scientific merit, be technically 
feasible, and be cost-effective. Proposals selected for Estuary Habitat 
Restoration Program funding will be implemented in accordance with a 
cost-share agreement with the Corps. This is not a grants program.

DATES: Proposals must be received on or before August 20, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Proposal forms may be accessed at http://www.usace.army.mil/
cw/cecwp/estuary_act/index.htm or by contacting the individuals listed 
in the following section. Project proposals may be submitted 
electronically, by mail, or by courier. Electronic submissions are 
preferred and will facilitate processing. Please follow the detailed 
instructions

[[Page 33744]]

provided in Section X. of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Ellen Cummings, Headquarters, U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, DC 20314-1000, (202) 761-4750, e-
mail: Ellen.M.Cummings@usace.army.mil; or, Mr. Chip Smith, Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), Washington, DC (703) 
693-3655, e-mail: Chip.Smith@HQDA.Army.Mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Arrangements have been made for a conference 
call to answer questions regarding this solicitation. The call has been 
scheduled for July 16, 2007 at 1 p.m. EDT. This will be a long distance 
call but there will be no surcharge above each participant's normal 
costs for long distance calls. In order to assure adequate lines are 
available, please send an email with a subject line of ``EHRP 
solicitation conference call'' to Ms. Cummings or Mr. Smith by noon on 
July 11, 2007. A reply will be sent to each message containing the 
telephone number and access code for the call. A second call will be 
scheduled at a later date if necessary.

I. Introduction

    Under the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program, the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers (Corps) is authorized to carry out estuary habitat 
restoration projects. However, the Estuary Habitat Restoration Council 
(Council) is responsible for soliciting, reviewing and evaluating 
project proposals. The Corps may only fund projects on the prioritized 
list provided by the Council. The Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy 
prepared by the Council contains introductory information about the 
program and provides the context in which projects will be evaluated 
and the program will be conducted. The Strategy was published in the 
Federal Register (67 FR 71942) on December 3, 2002. It is also 
accessible at http://www.usace.army.mil/cw/cecwp/estuary_act/index.htm 
in PDF format.
    An emphasis will be placed on achieving cost-effective restoration 
of ecosystems while promoting increased partnerships among agencies and 
between public and private sectors. Projects funded under this program 
will contribute to the Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy goal of 
restoring 1,000,000 acres of estuary habitat.
    For purposes of this program, estuary is defined as ``a part of a 
river or stream or other body of water that has an unimpaired 
connection with the open sea and where the sea water is measurably 
diluted with fresh water from land drainage.'' Estuary also includes 
the ``* * * near coastal waters and wetlands of the Great Lakes that 
are similar in form and function to estuaries * * *''. For this 
program, estuary is considered to extend from the head of tide to the 
boundary with the open sea (to downstream terminus features or 
structures such as barrier islands, reefs, sand bars, mud flats, or 
headlands in close proximity to the connection with the open sea). In 
the Great Lakes, riparian and nearshore areas will be considered to be 
estuaries. Estuary habitat includes the estuary and its associated 
ecosystems, such as: Salt, brackish, and fresh water coastal marshes; 
coastal forested wetlands and other coastal wetlands; maritime forests; 
coastal grasslands; tidal flats; natural shoreline areas; shellfish 
beds; sea grass meadows; kelp beds; river deltas; and river and stream 
corridors under tidal influence.

II. Eligible Restoration Activities

    Section 103 of the Estuary Restoration Act of 2000 (the Act) 
defines the term estuary habitat restoration activity to mean ``an 
activity that results in improving degraded estuaries or estuary 
habitat or creating estuary habitat (including both physical and 
functional restoration), with the goal of attaining a self-sustaining 
system integrated into the surrounding landscape.'' Projects funded 
under this program will be consistent with this definition.
    Eligible habitat restoration activities include re-establishment of 
chemical, physical, hydrologic, and biological features and components 
associated with an estuary. Restoration may include, but is not limited 
to, improvement of estuarine wetland tidal exchange or reestablishment 
of historic hydrology; dam or berm removal; improvement or 
reestablishment of fish passage; appropriate reef/substrate/habitat 
creation; planting of native estuarine wetland and submerged aquatic 
vegetation; reintroduction of native species; control of invasive 
species; and establishment of riparian buffer zones in the estuary. 
Cleanup of pollution for the benefit of estuary habitat may be 
considered, as long as it does not meet the definition of excluded 
activities under the Act (see section III, Excluded Activities, below).
    In general, proposed projects should clearly demonstrate 
anticipated benefits to habitats such as those habitats listed in the 
Introduction. Although the Council recognized that water quality and 
land use issues may impact habitat restoration efforts and must be 
considered in project planning, the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program 
is intended to fund physical habitat restoration projects, not measures 
such as storm water detention ponds, wastewater treatment plant 
upgrades or combined sewer outfall improvements.

III. Excluded Activities

    Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds will not be used for any 
activity that constitutes mitigation required under any Federal or 
State law for the adverse effects of an activity regulated or otherwise 
governed by Federal or State law, or that constitutes restoration for 
natural resource damages required under any Federal or State law. 
Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds will not be used for 
remediation of any hazardous substances regulated under the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
(42 U.S.C. 9601-9675). Additionally, Estuary Habitat Restoration 
Program funds will not be used to carry out projects on Federal lands.

IV. Project Sponsor and Cost Sharing

    The Non-Federal Sponsor may be a State, a political subdivision of 
a State, a Tribe, or a regional or interstate agency. A non-
governmental organization may serve as a Non-Federal Sponsor as 
determined by the Secretary of the Army (Secretary) in consultation 
with appropriate State and local governmental agencies and Tribes. For 
purposes of this act the term non-governmental organization does not 
include for profit enterprises. The Non-Federal Sponsor must be able to 
provide the real estate interests necessary for implementation, 
operation, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement of the 
project. In most cases this means the Non-Federal Sponsor must have fee 
title to the lands necessary for the project although in some cases an 
easement may be sufficient.
    The Federal share of the cost of an estuary habitat restoration 
project shall not exceed 65 percent except that the Federal share shall 
be 85 percent of the incremental additional cost of pilot testing or 
demonstration of an innovative technology having the potential for 
improved cost-effectiveness. Innovative technology is defined as novel 
processes, techniques and/or materials to restore habitat, or the use 
of existing processes, techniques, and/or materials in a new 
restoration application.
    Prior to initiation of a project, the Non-Federal Sponsor must 
enter into a written agreement with the Corps in which the Non-Federal 
Sponsor agrees to provide its share of the project cost. The Non-
Federal Sponsor shall provide

[[Page 33745]]

necessary lands, easements, rights-of-way, and relocations. The value 
of the required real estate interests will be credited towards the Non-
Federal Sponsor's share of the project cost. The Non-Federal Sponsor 
may also provide services and in-kind contributions for credit toward 
its share of the project cost. Credit for the value of in-kind 
contributions is subject to satisfactory compliance with applicable 
Federal labor laws covering non-Federal construction, including but not 
limited to the Davis-Bacon Act (40 U.S.C. 276a et seq.), the Contract 
Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (40 U.S.C. 327 et seq.), and the 
Copeland AntiKickback Act (40 U.S.C. 276c). Credit may be afforded for 
the value of required work undertaken by volunteers, using the hourly 
value in common usage for grants program but not to exceed the Federal 
estimate of the cost of activity. The Non-Federal Sponsor shall also 
have a long-term responsibility for all costs associated with 
operating, maintaining, replacing, repairing, and rehabilitating these 
projects as well as for the required post-construction monitoring. The 
cost of these activities will not be included in the total project cost 
and will not count toward the Non-Federal Sponsor's minimum 35 percent 
share of the project cost.
    Other Federal funds, i.e. funds appropriated to agencies other than 
the Corps, may not be used by the Non-Federal Sponsor to meet its share 
of the project cost unless the other Federal agency verifies in writing 
that expenditure of funds for such purpose is expressly authorized by 
statute. Otherwise, other Federal funds may be used for the proposed 
project if consistent with the other agency's authorities and will 
count as part of the Federal share of the project cost. Any non-Federal 
funds or contributions used as a match for these other Federal funds or 
any other Federal program may be used toward the project but will not 
be considered in determining the non-Federal share in relation to the 
Corps' costs.
    Credit will be provided only for work necessary for the specific 
project being funded with Estuary Habitat Restoration Program funds. 
For example, a non-Federal entity is engaged in the removal of ten 
dams, has removed six dams, and now seeks assistance for the removal of 
the remaining four dams as an Estuary Habitat Restoration Program 
project. None of the costs associated with the removal of the six dams 
is creditable as part of the non-Federal share of the project for 
removal of four dams.
    This is not a grants program. The Corps will not transfer funds to 
the Non-Federal Sponsor. The Corps will implement (construct) some 
portion of the proposed project. To the extent possible the Corps will 
use the planning, evaluation, and design products provided by the 
applicant. However, the Corps will be responsible for assuring 
compliance with Federal environmental statutes, assuring the project is 
designed to avoid adverse impacts on other properties and that the 
project can reasonably be expected to provide the desired benefits, and 
managing construction activities not performed by the Non-Federal 
Sponsor as in-kind contribution. These Corps activities will be part of 
the Federal cost of the project, and the Non-Federal Sponsor should 
consider these costs in developing the project cost estimate. It is 
recommended that the Non-Federal Sponsor coordinate with the 
appropriate Corps district office during preparation of the proposal. 
Information on district locations and boundaries may be found at http:/
/www.usace.army.mil/ContactUs.html. If additional assistance is 
required please contact Ms. Cummings (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section).

V. Funding Availability

    Limited funds have been appropriated for implementation of projects 
under the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program. The Council will not 
accept proposals that indicate an estimated Federal cost of less than 
$100,000 or more than $1,000,000. There is no guarantee that sufficient 
funds will be available to fund all eligible proposals. The number of 
proposals funded as a result of this notice will depend on the number 
of eligible proposals received, the estimated amount of funds required 
for each selected project, and the merit and ranking of the proposals. 
The exact amount of the Federal and non-Federal cost share for each 
selected project will be specified in the written agreement discussed 
in Project Sponsor and Cost Sharing, Section IV above. Projects 
selected for funding must be capable of producing the ecosystem 
benefits described in the proposal in the absence of Federal funding 
beyond that established in the cost-share agreement.

VI. Proposal Review Process

    Proposals will be screened as discussed in section VII.A. below to 
determine eligibility. The staff of the agencies represented on the 
Council will conduct a technical review of the eligible proposals in 
accordance with the criteria described in section VII.B. below. Agency 
scientists involved in estuarine research or the development and 
application of innovative methods for restoring estuary habitats will 
also review proposals that indicate the use of innovative technologies. 
Each agency will score and rank the proposals; the staff of the five 
agencies will use these rankings as the basis for a consolidated 
recommendation. The Council will consider the staff recommendation, the 
items discussed in sections VII.C. and D. below, and possibly other 
factors when preparing its prioritized list of recommended projects for 
the Secretary's use.

VII. Proposal Review Criteria

    This section describes the criteria that will be used to review and 
select projects to be recommended to the Secretary for funding under 
the Act. It will benefit applicants to ensure that project proposals 
clearly address the criteria set forth under the following four 
subsections: Initial Screening of Project Proposals; Evaluation of 
Project Proposals; Priority Elements; and Other Factors.

A. Initial Screening of Project Proposals

    Proposals will be screened according to the requirements listed in 
sections 104(b) and 104(c)(2) of the Act as described below. In 
addition, proposed projects must not include excluded activities as 
discussed in Section III above. Proposals that do not meet all of these 
initial screening criteria will not be evaluated further. To be 
accepted the proposal must:
    (1) Originate from a Non-Federal Sponsor (section 104(b));
    (2) address restoration needs identified in an estuary habitat 
restoration plan (section 104(c)(2)(A)). The Act defines ``estuary 
habitat restoration plan'' as any Federal or State plan for restoration 
of degraded estuary habitat that was developed with substantial 
participation of the public (section 103(6));
    (3) be consistent with the Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy 
(section 104(c)(2)(B)) by:
    (a) including eligible restoration activities that provide 
ecosystem benefits;
    (b) addressing estuary habitat trends (including historic losses) 
in the project region, and indicating how these were considered in 
developing the project proposal;
    (c) involving a partnership approach, and
    (d) clearly describing the benefits expected to be realized by the 
proposed project;
    (4) include a monitoring plan that is consistent with standards 
developed by NOAA under section 104(c)(2)(C)) (available at: http://
era.noaa.gov/htmls/

[[Page 33746]]

era/era--monitoring.html, or from the contacts listed in the FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). Minimum monitoring requirements 
include monitoring over a period of five years and tracking of at least 
one structural and one functional element. Examples of structural and 
functional elements are contained in the monitoring document cited 
above, and;
    (5) include satisfactory assurances that the Non-Federal Sponsor 
has adequate authority and resources to carry out items of local 
cooperation and properly maintain the project (section 104(c)(2)(D)).

B. Evaluation of Project Proposals

    Proposals that meet the initial screening criteria in A. above will 
be eligible for further review using the criteria listed below. The 
following criteria are listed in order of relative importance with the 
most important criteria first. The first four criteria are the most 
important. If the reviewers find that a response to any of the first 
four criteria is completely inadequate, the proposals will be rejected. 
For each of the listed criteria the focus will be on the factors 
mentioned below but other factors may also be considered.
(1) Ecosystem Benefits
    Proposals will be evaluated based on the extent of proposed habitat 
restoration activities and the type(s) of habitat(s) that will be 
restored. Following are specific factors that reviewers will consider 
as part of this criterion:
    (a) Prevention or reversal of estuary habitat loss or degradation 
in the project area and the nature and extent of the proposed project's 
potential contribution to the long-term conservation of estuary habitat 
functions,
    (b) benefits for Federally listed endangered or threatened species, 
species proposed for Federal listing, recently delisted species or 
designated or proposed critical habitat in the project areas,
    (c) extent to which the project will provide, restore, or improve 
habitat important for estuary-dependent fish and/or migratory birds 
(e.g. breeding, spawning, nursery, foraging, or staging habitat),
    (d) prevention or reduction of nonpoint source pollution or other 
contaminants to estuary habits or restoration of estuary habitats that 
are already contaminated, and
    (e) benefits or nearby existing habitat areas, or contribution to 
the creation of wildlife/ecological corridors connecting existing habit 
areas.
    Examples of activities that would not qualify would be restoration 
of an oyster bed open to commercial harvest or a fish hatchery. 
Educational facilities such as classrooms, botanical gardens, or 
recreational facilities such as trails or boat ramps would also not 
qualify for cost sharing under this program although they may be 
included in the project if they do not conflict with the environmental 
benefits expected from project implementation.
(2) Cost-Effectiveness
    Reviewers will evaluate the relationship between estimated project 
costs, including the costs of remaining planning, design, construction, 
required lands, and annual operation, maintenance, repair, 
rehabilitation and replacement and monitoring cost, to the monetary and 
non-monetary benefits described in the proposal. Clear quantitative and 
qualitative descriptions of the proposed outputs will facilitate this 
evaluation. Examples of units of measure include: acres restored, flood 
damage reduction levels, changes in water quality parameters, increases 
in the productivity of various species, and presence and absence of 
certain species. The estimated persistence of the proposed project 
outputs will be considered. For examples, will the area be maintained 
as a wetland, or allowed to erode or become upland? Will the proposed 
project produce additional benefits due to synergy between the proposed 
project and other ongoing or proposed projects? Reviewers will consider 
if the proposed project is a cost-effective way to achieve the proposed 
benefits. In some instances the costs and benefits of proposed projects 
may be compared to the costs and benefits of other similar projects in 
the area. The significance of the proposed outputs is also a factor to 
be considered as part of cost-effectiveness. The significance of 
restoration outputs should be recognized in terms of institutional 
(such as laws, adopted plans, or policy statements), public (such as 
support for the project), or technical (such as addresses scarcity, 
increases limiting habitat, or improves or increases biodiversity) 
importance.
(3) Technical Feasibility
    Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which, given current and 
projected environmental conditions of the restoration site--e.g., 
soils, flood regime, presence of invasive species, surrounding land 
use--the proposed project is likely to be successfully implemented. 
Consideration will also be given to:
    (a) Potential success of restoration techniques, based on history 
of successful implementation in field or pilot projects,
    (b) implementation schedule.
    (c) expected length of time before success can be demonstrated,
    (d) proposed corrective actions using monitoring information,
    (e) project management plans, and
    (f) experience and qualifications of project personnel.
(4) Scientific Merit
    Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which the project design is 
based on sound ecological principles and is likely to meet project 
goals. This may be indicated by the following factors:
    (a) Goals of the project are reasonable considering the existing 
and former habitat types present at the site and other local 
influences,
    (b) the proposed restoration methodology demonstrates an 
understanding of habitat function, and
    (c) specific methods proposed (if successfully implemented--see 
criteria on technical feasibility) have a good chance of meeting 
project goals and achieving long-term sustainability.
(5) Agency Coordination
    Reviewers will evaluate the degree to which the project will 
encourage increased coordination and cooperation among Federal, State, 
and local government agencies. Some of the indicators used to evaluate 
coordination are:
    (a) The State, Federal, and local agencies involved in developing 
the project and their expected roles in implementation,
    (b) the nature of agency coordination, e.g., joint funding, 
periodic multi-agency review of the project, collaboration on adaptive 
management decisions, joint monitoring, opportunities for future 
collaboration, etc., and
    (c) whether a formal agreement, such as a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU), exists between/among agencies as part of the 
project.
(6) Public/Private Partnerships
    One of the focuses of the Act is the encouragement of new public/
private partnerships. Reviewers will evaluate the degree to which the 
project will foster public/private partnerships and uses Federal 
resources to encourage increased private sector involvement. Indicators 
of the success at meeting this criteria follow. How will the project 
promote collaboration or create partnerships among public and private 
entities, including potential for future

[[Page 33747]]

new or expanded public/private partnerships? What mechanisms are being 
used to establish the partnership, e.g., joint funding, shared 
monitoring, joint decision-making on adaptive management strategies? Is 
there a formal agreement, such as an MOU, between/among the partners as 
part of the project? Also important is the extent to which the project 
creates an opportunity for long-term partnerships among public and 
private entities.
(7) Level of Contribution
    Reviewers will consider the level and type (cash or in-kind) of 
Non-Federal contribution. Providing more than the minimum 35-percent 
share will be rated favorably. It must be clear how much of the total 
project cost the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program is expected to 
provide, how much is coming from other Federal sources, how much is 
coming directly from the sponsor, and how much is available or expected 
to be provided by other sources (either cash or in-kind).
(8) Monitoring Plan
    Reviewers will consider the following factors in evaluating the 
quality of the monitoring plan:
    (a) Linkage between the monitoring methods and the project goals, 
including success criteria,
    (b) how results will be evaluated (statistical comparison to 
baseline or reference condition, trend analysis, or other quantitative 
or qualitative approach),
    (c) how baseline conditions will be established for the parameters 
to be measured,
    (d) if applicable, the use and selection of reference sites, where 
they are located, how they were chosen, and whether they represent 
target conditions for the habitat or conditions at the site without 
restoration,
    (e) the appropriateness of the nature, frequency, and timing of 
measurements and which areas will be sampled,
    (f) provisions for adaptive management, and data reporting, and
    (g) whether the length of the proposed monitoring plan is 
appropriate for the project goals. The minimum required monitoring 
period is five years.
(9) Multiple Benefits
    In addition to the ecosystem benefits discussed in criterion (1) 
above, restored estuary habitats may provide additional benefits. Among 
those the reviewers will consider are: flood damage reduction, 
protection from storm surge, water quality and/or quantity for human 
uses, recreational opportunities, and benefits to commercial fisheries.
(10) Dedicated Funding Source
    Reviewers will consider if the State in which the proposed project 
will be located has a dedicated source of funding to acquire or restore 
estuary habitat, natural areas, and open spaces for the benefit of 
estuary habitat restoration or protection.
(11) Supports Regional Restoration Goals
    Reviewers will evaluate the extent to which the proposed project 
contributes to meeting and/or strengthening the needs, goals, 
objectives and restoration priorities contained in regional restoration 
plans, and the means that will be used to measure such progress.
(12) Supports Federal Plan
    If the proposed project supports a Federal plan (examples of 
Federal plans are listed in section 103(b)(B) of the Act), reviewers 
will consider the extent to which the project would contribute to 
meeting and/or strengthening the plan's needs, goals, objectives and 
restoration priorities, and the means that will be used to measure such 
progress.

C. Priority Elements

    Section 104(c)(4) of the Act directs the Secretary to give priority 
consideration to a project that merits selection based on the above 
criteria if it:
    (1) Occurs within a watershed where there is a program being 
implemented that addresses sources of pollution and other activities 
that otherwise would adversely affect the restored habitat; or
    (2) includes pilot testing or demonstration of an innovative 
technology having the potential to achieve better restoration results 
than other technologies in current practice, or comparable results at 
lower cost in terms of energy, economics, or environmental impacts.
    The Council will also consider these priority elements in ranking 
proposals.

D. Other Factors

    In addition to considering the composite ratings developed in the 
evaluation process and the priority elements listed in C. above, the 
Council will consider other factors when preparing its prioritized list 
for the Secretary's use. These factors include (but may not be limited 
to) the following:
    (1) Readiness of the project for implementation. Among the factors 
to be considered when evaluating readiness are the steps that must be 
taken prior to project implementation, potential delays to project 
implementation, and the status of real estate acquisition.
    (2) Balance between large and small projects, as defined in the 
Estuary Habitat Restoration Strategy.
    (3) Geographic distribution of the projects.

VIII. Project Selection and Notification

    The Secretary will select projects for funding from the Council's 
prioritized list of recommended projects after considering the criteria 
contained in section 104(c) of the Act, availability of funds and 
reasonable additional factors. It is expected that the Secretary will 
select proposals for implementation approximately 100 days after the 
close of this solicitation or 30 days after receiving the list from the 
Council, whichever is later. The Non-Federal Sponsor of each proposal 
will be notified of its status at the conclusion of the selection 
process. Staff from the appropriate Corps Districts will work with the 
Non-Federal Sponsor of each selected project to develop the cost-
sharing agreements and schedules for project implementation.

IX. Project Application Form Clarifications

    Most of the entries are relatively self-explanatory, however, based 
on experience some clarifying comments are provided to facilitate 
completion of the form.
    A. Project name should be short but unique and descriptive.
    B. Organization Point of Contact. The individual listed should be 
the person that can answer project specific questions and will be the 
day-to-day contact for the project. This may be a different individual 
than the individual signing the Non-Federal certification.
    C. Item 8. Funding and Partners. Post-construction costs including 
monitoring do not count as a cost share for projects funded under the 
Estuary Restoration Act and should not be included in the estimated 
total project cost. In the table, list the share of the project cost 
being sought from the Estuary Habitat Restoration Program as from the 
Corps. For this entry the ``contribution type'' is in-kind and the 
entire amount originates from a Federal funding source.
    D. Include the name of the organization as well as the title of the 
individual signing the Non-Federal Sponsor certification.
    E. If submitting a proposal electronically, a hard copy of the 
Letter of Assurance and Certification may be submitted if it is post-
marked by the closing date for this announcement and the electronic 
submission has the text of the Letter of Assurance and Certification 
with an indication of the date signed and name/title/organization of 
the

[[Page 33748]]

individual signing these documents. The Letter of Assurance should be 
addressed to ``Chairman, Estuary Habitat Restoration Council'' and sent 
to the address in Section X for hard copy submittals.
    F. In the project description section of the project application 
form the phrase ``Estimated life cycle of the project'' refers to the 
functional life of the project. As an example a wetland may fill with 
sediment over time and its functionality diminished. The ``life-cycle'' 
would be the number of years until the project no longer provided the 
original benefits.
    G. The proposed project should only be described as innovative if 
the Non-Federal Sponsor is requesting the special cost sharing for the 
incremental costs of including testing of or a demonstration of an 
innovative technology as defined as defined in the application form.

X. Application Process

    Proposal application forms are available at http://
www.usace.army.mil/cw/cecwp/estuary_act/index.htm or by contacting Ms. 
Ellen Cummings, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, 
DC 20314-1000, (202) 761-4750, e-mail: Ellen.M.Cummings@usace.army.mil; 
or Chip Smith, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil 
Works), Washington, DC (703) 693-3655, e-mail: 
Chip.Smith@HQDA.Army.Mil. The application form has been approved by OMB 
in compliance with the Paper Work Reduction Act and is OMB No. 0710-
0014 with an expiration date of 04/30/2008. Electronic submissions are 
preferred and should be sent to estuary.restoration@usace.army.mil. 
Multiple e-mail messages may be required to ensure successful receipt 
if the files exceed 4MB in size. Questions may also be sent to the same 
e-mail address. Hard copy submissions may be sent or delivered to 
HQUSACE, ATTN: CECW-PB, 7701 Telegraph Road 3D72, Alexandria, 
VA 22315-3860. The part of the nomination prepared to address the 
``proposal elements'' portion of the application should be no more than 
twelve double-spaced pages, using a 10 or 12-point font. Paper copies 
should be printed on one side only of an 8.5 in. X 11 in. page and not 
bound. Only one hard copy is required. A PC-compatible floppy disk or 
CD-ROM in either Microsoft Word or WordPerfect format may accompany the 
paper copy. Nominations for multiple projects submitted by the same 
applicant must be submitted in separate e-mail messages and/or 
envelopes.

Brenda S. Bowen,
Army Federal Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. 07-3002 Filed 6-18-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3710-92-M