Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management and Budget for Approval; Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements, 58759-58766 [2015-24682]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES accessory parking spaces to be located in a parking lot on the roof of a building. • Zoning text amendment to modify ZR Section 78–42 to permit a reduction of parking requirements for affordable housing units in LSRDs in Community District 6 in the Borough of the Bronx. • Zoning text amendment consistent with the City’s proposed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing text amendment. • Coastal zone consistency determination. • Site plan approval by the Mayor and City Council pursuant to SCA requirements for the proposed school on Parcel 10. The Proposed Project may also seek funding from HPD, the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), and other State agencies for affordable housing construction. In addition, the Proposed Project would require approval by HUD of the reassignment of project-based rental assistance contracts, and may also seek HOME funds or other federal funding originating from HUD. The Proposed Project is intended to improve the quality of life for current Lambert Houses residents while increasing the number of affordable housing units in the Project Area. The Project Area is underdeveloped, with less floor area than even the current zoning districts allow, and less density than much of the surrounding neighborhood. The existing buildings were constructed between 1970 and 1973 and have antiquated and inefficient building systems. Furthermore, the configuration and circulation plan of the buildings, with multiple entrances and egresses, compromise building security by making control of access difficult. The retail space currently on the site is inefficient, with storefronts set back far from the street wall, poor frontage, and inadequate storage space for merchants. The proposed new LSRD and associated special permits and authorizations, including waivers of height and setback requirements, are being requested in order to allow for the redistribution of floor area across the entire project area, creating a site plan, building layout and design superior to what would be allowed as-of-right under the current LSRD. Alternatives to the Proposed Project Alternatives to the Proposed Project will be analyzed in the EIS. Typically, the Alternatives section in an EIS examines development options that would tend to reduce project-related impacts. The full range of alternatives will be defined when the full extent of VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 the Proposed Project’s impacts is identified, but at this time, it is anticipated that they will include the following: Alternative 1—No Action Alternative The No Action Alternative assumes that the existing uses in the Project Area would remain. Alternative 2—All Residential Scenario on Parcel 10 (No School) Alternative This alternative would analyze an additional 55 residential units on Parcel 10 (no school would be proposed). Alternative 3—No Unmitigated Adverse Impacts Alternative If significant adverse impacts are identified in the EIS, this alternative would describe the modifications to the project that would be needed to avoid any such impacts. Other possible alternatives may be developed in consultation with the project sponsor, DCP, and HPD during the EIS preparation process and may be suggested by the public during the scoping of the EIS. B. Need for the EIS The proposed project may constitute an action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment and an EIS will be prepared on this project in accordance with CEQR and NEPA. Responses to this notice will be used to: (1) Determine significant environmental issues, (2) identify data that the EIS should address, and (3) identify agencies and other parties that will participate in the EIS process and the basis for their involvement. C. Scoping A public EIS scoping meeting will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at the Daly Community Room located at 921 E. 180th Street, Bronx, New York 10460. The EIS scoping meeting, which will also satisfy the scoping meeting requirement for SEQR/CEQR, will provide an opportunity for the public to learn more about the project and provide input to the environmental process. At the meeting, an overview of the project will be presented and members of the public will be invited to comment on the proposed project and the scope of work for the environmental analyses in the EIS. Written comments and testimony concerning the scope of the EIS will be accepted by HPD at this meeting and will also be accepted until the close of business on November 2, 2015. In accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 affected Federal, State, and local agencies, any affected Native American PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58759 tribe, and other interested parties will be sent a scoping notice. To satisfy the requirements of 6 NYCRR 617.8, the scoping hearing will be preceded by a public notice published in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB) and the New York City Record at least 30 days prior to the hearing date. D. Probable Environmental Effects The following subject areas will be analyzed in the combined EIS for probable environmental impacts: Land Use, Zoning, and Public Policy; Socioeconomic Conditions; Community Facilities and Services; Open Space; Shadows; Historic Resources; Urban Design/Visual Resources; Natural Resources; Hazardous Materials; Water and Sewer Infrastructure; Solid Waste and Sanitation Services; Energy; Transportation (including traffic, parking, pedestrian conditions, and transit); Air Quality; Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Noise; Neighborhood Character; Construction Impacts; Public Health; and Environmental Justice. Questions may be directed to the individual named in this notice under the heading FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Dated: September 21, 2015. Harriet Tregoning, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. [FR Doc. 2015–24850 Filed 9–29–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4210–67–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–HQ–WSFR–2015–N190; FVWF941009000007B–XXX–FF09W11000; FVWF51100900000–XXX–FF09W11000] Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management and Budget for Approval; Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information Collection Request (ICR) to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. We summarize the ICR below and describe the nature of the collection and the estimated burden and cost. This information collection is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 58760 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. However, under OMB regulations, we may continue to conduct or sponsor this information collection while it is pending at OMB. You must submit comments on or before October 30, 2015. DATES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB– OIRA at (202) 395–5806 (fax) or OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov (email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041– ADDRESSES: 3803 (mail), or hope_grey@fws.gov (email). Please include ‘‘1018–0109’’ in the subject line of your comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at hope_ grey@fws.gov (email) or 703–358–2482 (telephone). You may review the ICR online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the Interior collections under review by OMB. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Information Collection Request OMB Control Number: 1018–0109. Title: Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements, 50 CFR parts 80, 81, 84, 85, and 86. Service Form Number: None. Number of respondents Activity Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection. Description of Respondents: States; the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands; the District of Columbia; the territories of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa; federally recognized tribal governments; institutions of higher education; and nongovernmental organizations. Respondent’s Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit. Frequency of Collection: Annually for applications for new grants; on occasion for amendments; and annually and at the end of the project for performance reports. We may require more frequent reports under the conditions stated at 2 CFR 200.205 and 2 CFR 200.207. Number of responses Completion time per response Total annual burden hours 200 150 200 2,500 1,500 3,500 37 3 8 92,500 4,500 28,000 Totals ........................................................................................................ mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Initial Application (project narrative) ................................................................ Revision of Award Terms (Amendment) ......................................................... Performance Reports ....................................................................................... 550 7,500 ........................ 125,000 Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None. Abstract: The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, administers financial assistance programs in whole or in part (see 80 FR 31061, June 1, 2015). We award most financial assistance as grants, but cooperative agreements are possible if the Federal Government will be substantially involved in carrying out the project. You can find a description of most programs in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Some financial assistance programs are directly funded through WSFR, others are funded through non-WSFR Federal programs and WSFR administers various aspects of the financial assistance. When WSFR administers a grant in part or in whole, it follows the same processes for information collection to ensure the recipient complies with Federal laws, regulations, and policies applicable to financial assistance. Authorities and implementing regulations establish the purposes of the grant programs and the types of projects to be funded. Some list eligibility criteria as well as activities ineligible for funding. The authorities and implementing regulations for the competitive programs establish preferences or ranking factors for the selection of projects to be funded. These legal requirements make it essential for VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 an awarding agency to have certain information so that it funds only eligible projects, and, in the case of competitive programs, to select those projects that will result in the greatest return on the Federal investment. Some grants are mandatory and receive funds according to a formula set by law or policy. Other grants are discretionary, and we award them based on a competitive process. Mandatory grant recipients must give us specific, detailed project information during the application process so that we can ensure that projects are eligible for the mandatory funding, are substantial in character and design, and comply with all applicable Federal laws. All grantees must submit financial and performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track costs and accomplishments. In February 2014, OMB approved our request to use a new electronic system (Wildlife Tracking and Reporting Actions for the Conservation of Species (Wildlife TRACS)) to collect application and performance reporting information on our grant programs. OMB assigned OMB Control No. 1018–0156, which expires February 28, 2017. Wildlife TRACS allows us to take advantage of newer technology and gives applicants direct access to enter project information that can be used to submit an application through http:// www.grants.gov (Grants.gov). Grantees PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 can also report performance accomplishments in Wildlife TRACS. We are including the use of Wildlife TRACS and the collection of additional information in this revision to OMB Control No. 1018–0109. If OMB approves this revision, we will discontinue OMB Control No. 1018– 0156. We may require all States to directly enter project information and performance reporting into Wildlife TRACS by October 1, 2016. We continue to offer training and support to States on entering information into the new system. When States fully engage in directly entering all application and project performance reporting into Wildlife TRACS, we expect there will be a reduction in the burden to report the information. States will become more adept with experience, and efficiencies of the electronic system will be realized starting in the second full year of use. A majority of WSFR-administered projects are continuations of similar actions and/or at the same locations. Wildlife TRACS is designed to ease the administrative burden of applying for and reporting on grants for projects that fall into these parameters. The table above reflects the burden reduction that we expect over the next 3 years. Not all grantees will directly enter information into Wildlife TRACS. We will enter information when we determine that it is not efficient or in the best interest of E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices the program to have grantees enter information. To apply for financial assistance funds, you must submit an application that describes in substantial detail project locations, benefits, funding, and other characteristics. Materials to assist applicants in formulating project proposals are available on Grants.gov. We use the application to determine: • Eligibility. • Scale of resource values or relative worth of the project. • If associated costs are reasonable and allowable. • Potential effect of the project on environmental and cultural resources. • How well the proposed project will meet the purposes of the program’s establishing legislation. • If the proposed project is substantial in character and design. • For competitive programs, how the proposed project addresses ranking criteria. Persons or entities receiving grants must submit periodic performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track costs and accomplishments. Information for amendments to grants will be collected as needed. We will collect the following information under OMB Control No. 1018–0109: Applications. • Summary and project narratives that describe the proposed project; • Need for assistance; • Approach; • Timelines; • Budget information including a budget narrative; • Geospatial entry of project location; • Project status (active, completed, etc.); • Project leader contact information; • Partner information; • Objectives, including output measures and desired future values; • Public description; • Action status (active, completed, etc.); • Summary trend information, as applicable; • Estimated costs, by action. (nonauditable); • Effectiveness measures (initially for State Wildlife Grants); • Plan information (for projects connected to plans); • Information related to outcomes; and • Addressing ranking factors, as required by competitive grant programs. For research and demonstration assistance requests: • A biographical sketch of the program director with the following VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 information: Name, address, telephone number, background, and other qualifying experience for the project; and • The name, training, and background for other key personnel engaged in the project. For real property acquisition projects: • Maps, images, and other data that reflect project location and benefits; • Transactions, such as dates, method of transfer, title holder, and seller; • Identifiers, such as State and Federal Record ID, parcel number, and property name; • Values such as appraised value, purchase price and other cost information, and acres or acre feet; • Encumbrances; • Partners; • Copies of any options, purchase agreements, mineral assessment reports, and draft conservation easements; and • Information needed for legal compliance; and copies of documents that demonstrate the grantee complied with 49 CFR 24, 2 CFR 200, program regulations, and other mandatory legal requirements. Amendments. Most grantees must explain and justify requests for amendments to terms of the grant. We use this information to determine the eligibility and allowability of activities and to comply with the requirements of 2 CFR 200. Performance Reports. All grantees must submit performance reports in the format requested by the Service. We use this information to ensure that the grantee is accomplishing the work on schedule and to identify any problems that the grantee may be experiencing in accomplishing that work. Grantees submit annual reports; however, reporting periods may be adjusted according to regulations at 2 CFR 200.328. Reports may include: • A comparison of actual accomplishments with the goals and objectives established for the period, the findings of the investigator, or both. • Reasons why established goals were not met, if appropriate. • Other pertinent information including, when appropriate, (1) analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs and (2) for land acquisition projects, a copy of the deed or other conveyance document and a copy of the Notice of Federal Participation. Comments Received and Our Responses On June 1, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 31061) a notice of our intent to request that OMB renew approval for this information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58761 for 60 days, ending on July 31, 2015. We received comments from eight States and one individual. Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility. Comment: Two respondents agreed that the collection of information is necessary and has always been a requirement of WSFR. However, they expressed concerns with the format, saying that using Wildlife TRACS is forcing States to change their established procedures. Response: We agree that States have always had the responsibility to develop and submit performance reports for projects/grants. Prior to Wildlife TRACS, States submitted written reports to the Service. Service staff then interpreted and entered the information into the electronic system (Federal Aid Information Management System (FAIMS)). The Department of the Interior decommissioned FAIMS on October 1, 2012. We are required by law to collect performance information. Wildlife TRACS gives us the opportunity to allow States to more accurately report information by entering it directly. We agree that both Federal and State procedures for information sharing/data entry are changing following the decommissioning of FAIMS and the introduction of Wildlife TRACS. We are working closely with States to improve information collection and data entry so that the adjustment to using Wildlife TRACS will lead to more efficient and effective reporting. We are open to suggestions for further improvements. Comment: One commenter stated that rather than thinking of Wildlife TRACS as an ‘‘increase in the amount of data’’ that grantees will be required to submit, using Wildlife TRACS should be thought of as a ‘‘change in the format’’ that the data is submitted. States are already providing the information, just in a different format. This new format will not constitute a significant increase in the time or resources required to either create or report on a project. Response: We agree and thank the respondent for recognizing that using Wildlife TRACS is changing the format for collecting information to a more efficient and effective electronic system. Comment: Two respondents stated that the Wildlife TRACS structure does not provide a clear benefit to either States or Regional FWS Offices. Response: We disagree. The Wildlife TRACS structure is intuitive and helps users enter information in a logical progression. The fields provided assist users to consider all needed E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 58762 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices information, allowing the Service to more efficiently review and approve projects. Once States become familiar with the Wildlife TRACS format, it will allow users to better design Wildlife TRACS-ready projects and provide the Service with adequate information to make decisions. As more projects are entered into Wildlife TRACS, States and the Service will be able to run more robust reports that will help identify trends, determine best processes, quantify results, and inform future actions. As additional system improvements are made, more reporting and data analyses tools will be available to provide benefit to the Service and users. Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS is forcing States to alter the format of existing grants and performance reporting to fit the Wildlife TRACS format, rather than a format that States feel works best for their particular projects. Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS is a different format for data collection, but disagree that the change in format affects the ability of States to design and implement projects. Wildlife TRACS does not represent a change in program requirements or substantiality in character or design. We will not require users to retroactively enter information into Wildlife TRACS. Wildlife TRACS data entry will only be required going forward. We have imported information on past projects from FAIMS into Wildlife TRACS as legacy data. Comment: One respondent objected to using the tools in Wildlife TRACS, such as targeted fields and drop down menus, and connecting them back to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives that have significant limitations and questionable utility for reporting. Response: We disagree. The interface and tools in Wildlife TRACS are designed to logically guide the user and allow less complicated and varied data entry. The selections provided in drop down menus have been vetted through Federal/State teams and it is believed that they cover all possible choices for the information needed. Often, a single metric may be characterized through many variations in language. Standardizing certain entries by limiting selections allows us to generate reports that include all projects that have similar components without having to search for all the variations in language. Using SMART objectives is integral to project management and helps users focus on the desired outputs. Wildlife TRACS is designed to give users the flexibility to use the SMART objective VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 fields or to create SMART objectives in narrative format. Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS is explained as a way of collecting and reporting useful information for all grant-funded actions. However, the type and purposes of grants is so varied, with such wideranging objectives, that Wildlife TRACS information can only be captured and reported effectively at a very high level. Response: We agree that a large variety of projects will be reported in Wildlife TRACS, but we disagree with the respondent’s statement that suggests reporting won’t be relevant. Reporting is required down to the ‘‘Action level’’ for most projects. This allows us to produce reports that address both high-level and detailed perspectives, depending on need. Wildlife TRACS offers both standardized and customizable approaches for describing objectives in an effort to encapsulate the varied grant types and purposes. Comment: Two respondents stated that the grants submission and reporting process, which has been successful for many years, provides the Service with the necessary information to approve grants. Wildlife TRACS is not a system that can readily be used to develop, edit, and write a proposal. It is simply a repository of the information, so there is duplication of workload from Wildlife TRACS data entry. Response: We disagree. Paper submissions often lacked required information and led to additional workload for both Federal and State grant managers. Wildlife TRACS is designed to guide users to address all pertinent project information. We offer training for project leaders that will assist them in using Wildlife TRACS to help build projects. Although Wildlife TRACS is not a grant application system, users can produce reports from Wildlife TRACS that they can then use when submitting grant applications through Grants.gov. Future enhancements to Wildlife TRACS may include the ability to transmit a proposal to Grants.gov for approval. Wildlife TRACS does not create a duplication of effort as we do not require that the information entered into Wildlife TRACS also be submitted on paper. Comment: Two respondents expressed that the Service should retain the responsibility to enter data into Wildlife TRACS. One stated that the information collected has no practical utility for State programs, which will be charged with managing data input. Their opinion is that Wildlife TRACS is strictly a Service project that is geared for the benefit of the Service. The States PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 are well-served for State purposes by the present grant reporting system, which allows States to submit usable products as evidence of grant/project completion. The easing of burdens is only realized by Service staff, not by States. The other respondent stated the transfer of workload will greatly increase administrative costs for States. Response: We disagree. The information collection will give States the ability to accurately reflect project objectives and accomplishments, as well as providing information that will help States to better assess conservation needs and accomplishments. Wildlife TRACS will allow users to directly enter information, reducing errors from misinterpretation by Service staff tasked with translating and transmitting information from paper to an electronic system. Wildlife TRACS will also help States address increased grant-recipient responsibilities and provide for better reporting of State accomplishments. The reporting mechanisms in Wildlife TRACS will help States provide evidence of project/agency successes to their elected representatives and the public. Planning and reporting on projects are already being done, so it is a matter of adjusting resources to accommodate Wildlife TRACS. We believe that any increase in administrative costs to States will be temporary and may be addressed through grant funding. Comment: One respondent supported using an electronic system to collect application and performance reporting information to demonstrate program performance to interested stakeholders and the general public. They also appreciate the efforts of the Service to minimize the burden, including the October 1, 2016, date for State data entry. Response: We agree and thank the respondent for the support. Accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information. Comment: One respondent stated that many grants are ongoing and have been in effect for more than 50 years. The need to alter the structure of these grants is overly burdensome. Response: We believe the respondent is referring to ongoing projects and not ongoing grants. Grants have a period of performance that is much less than 50 years. Based on this clarification, we agree that using Wildlife TRACS is a change in the method of reporting information that will require States to initially enter baseline information for ongoing projects. However, once the baseline information is entered, Wildlife TRACS will allow efficiencies for E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices ongoing similar projects. Users will be able to assign new grants to existing projects or to copy projects forward through simple steps that will reduce burden. Comment: Three respondents commented on their concerns about performance reports. These concerns addressed: (1) The performance report that was previously one paragraph in length must now be reported through multiple tabs within Wildlife TRACS to produce a lengthy report; (2) The ability to copy forward a project will not produce the burden reduction the Service suggests; (3) The reports contain redundant information; and (4) Performance reports change from year to year, so significant time must still be spent to update pertinent information. Response: We disagree for the following reasons: (1) Data entry fields in Wildlife TRACS are designed to guide the user to make choices that will build the project information, increasing accuracy and efficiency. This does not affect the length of reports; (2) Once the baseline information for an ongoing project is entered, Wildlife TRACS allows the information to be copied forward. This improves efficiency in that the user will not be required to repeat entering all information for continued projects or new, similar projects. Once a project is copied forward, adjustments can be made in selected fields to reflect desired changes from the existing, copied project. We remind users that the Wildlife TRACS function to copy projects forward is an option for users as an efficiency, but doing so is not a requirement. States may choose which method of input is most efficient and effective for their needs; (3) Reports are created from information in the fields, so if there is redundant information it is because that is what the user entered; and (4) Users will not be required to pull out reports and make changes; the adjustments will be made through logical changes in applicable fields. In addition, when a project is copied forward, it becomes a new project with new performance reporting. There is no requirement under the current reporting system to revise performance information on a completed project based on other projects, nor will it be a requirement when using Wildlife TRACS. Comment: One respondent stated that the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 Audit Requirements for Federal Awards at 2 CFR part 200 were designed to streamline the grant application process, but they feel the requirements for Wildlife TRACS go above and beyond this, placing an undue burden on States and representing steps backwards. Response: We disagree. The focus of 2 CFR part 200 is to streamline guidance that was previously published as several regulations, into one regulation at 2 CFR part 200. This regulatory update is part of an overall effort to more effectively focus Federal resources on improving performance and outcomes while ensuring the financial integrity of taxpayer dollars in partnership with non-Federal stakeholders. The guidance at 2 CFR part 200 provides a Governmentwide framework for grants management that will be complemented by additional efforts to strengthen program outcomes through innovative and effective use of grant-making models, performance metrics, and evaluation. Wildlife TRACS is the tool that WSFR is using to fulfill this directive. Comment: Three respondents cited several concerns regarding the role of Wildlife TRACS when States apply for grants and when the Service awards grants. Their concerns include: (1) States must complete Wildlife TRACS data entry before a grant can be approved. The addition of Wildlife TRACS to the grant approval process is excessive and not necessary for the review and approval of grant applications; (2) Using Wildlife TRACS for grant approval may put a State agency at risk of reverting apportionments; (3) The requirement to enter data into Wildlife TRACS prior to a grant award results in a duplication of effort, having to submit the grant proposal twice; and (4) Wildlife TRACS was proposed as a reporting tool and never was supposed to affect the application process. Response: We disagree for the following reasons: (1) Wildlife TRACS is not used to approve grants, but rather to approve projects. Grantees are not required to enter data for projects funded with one of WSFR’s competitive grant programs until after we award a grant. Grantees are required to enter project information and receive approval prior to project start for projects funded under one of WSFR’s mandatory grant programs. However, the Service does not award mandatory grants based on Wildlife TRACS data entry. Mandatory grants are apportioned according to a formula set by law. Entering information for mandatory grant projects allows Service staff the opportunity to review projects PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58763 to assure they meet program requirements and are substantial in character and design. This process reduces risk and helps States avoid unallowable, unnecessary, or undesirable expenditures; (2) It is the responsibility of the State to avoid reverting funds. The time required to approve a grant is not related to Wildlife TRACS, but to the availability of WSFR staff to review the proposal, and the completeness of the State’s submittal. When States fully engage in Wildlife TRACS, they can use the workflow tool to help save time and more efficiently commit funds; (3) As stated above, Wildlife TRACS is not a grant-approval tool, so there is no duplication of effort. However, Wildlife TRACS gives users an option to enter information into Wildlife TRACS that can then produce a report that may be used to supplement/support a grant application; and (4) Wildlife TRACS is a reporting tool. In order to report on project performance, we must know what the project is and be able to compare achievements against the proposal. Wildlife TRACS allows users to enter project information so that the Service can easily see objectives and compare them to achievements. Comment: One respondent stated the requirement to use Wildlife TRACS for project approval may be problematic and asks that the Service retain some flexibility to accommodate urgent and/ or unusual situations. Response: The project approval process for mandatory grants requires States to enter information into Wildlife TRACS and route appropriately through the workflow. We must maintain consistent procedures to avoid confusion and assure appropriate project approval. However, having Wildlife TRACS protocols in place does not eliminate the ability of States to coordinate with the Service when special needs or circumstances arise. Comment: Three respondents suggested that Wildlife TRACS be linked to Grants.gov, reducing a duplication of effort and increased workload for applicants. One suggestion was that the Service use Grants.gov instead of Wildlife TRACS to collect project data. Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS is not currently tied to Grants.gov, but remind the respondents that Wildlife TRACS is not a grant application system. Grants.gov provides a central portal for applicants to find and apply for Federal financial assistance. We do understand that often a single grant may fully fund a project and we continue to develop options that E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 58764 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices users may choose to employ to ease the burden of the application process through Grants.gov. In the future, we plan to implement a protocol where Wildlife TRACS will use web services published by Grants.gov to reduce any potential duplication of effort. WSFR anticipates that Wildlife TRACS will offer this capability by December 2017. Comment: Two respondents stated that State agencies often submit multiple grant applications and have a rigorous State review process that includes coordination among multiple employees. A heavy workload to enter information into Wildlife TRACS could fall onto one employee because of the complicated process, or will require States to reassign staff or hire Wildlife TRACS-specific personnel. Response: We disagree, as Wildlife TRACS is not a system that the Service uses to approve grants, but rather assists in efficient project approval. We agree that States will have a transition period while learning Wildlife TRACS, but we disagree that having several project leads is more burdensome using Wildlife TRACS than when using the current, paper-based process. A grant or a project that requires coordination among multiple layers of project leaders and approvers must be managed regardless of whether Wildlife TRACS is used or not. The State processes for reviewing and approving grant applications and project proposals is a State function, determined by the State and not driven by Wildlife TRACS. However, Wildlife TRACS may be customized so that when a State has large grants with multiple actions and several project leads, they can manage workflow among those multiple users. Wildlife TRACS offers a workflow option that can assist States to route information among multiple staff and receive project approvals much faster than would happen if paper copies were circulated. It is ultimately up to States to determine the best approach for managing reporting on all projects, including those that are larger and more complicated. We encourage States to explore ways that Wildlife TRACS can assist them to improve efficiencies during the State preparation, review, and approval phases. The Service is open to suggestions for how Wildlife TRACS might allow further efficiencies for States to use when coordinating projects among multiple employees. Comment: Three respondents stated concerns that the level of cost accounting in Wildlife TRACS will create a need to alter their internal controls and accounting systems. Wildlife TRACS defines a new focus called the action level and requires VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 associated accounting. Historically, this level of reporting has not been required for WSFR grants and creates an undue burden. Response: We disagree that Wildlife TRACS is forcing States to change internal controls and accounting systems. States must maintain internal controls within their agencies and they should be designed to respond to a variety of altering situations. Wildlife TRACS workflow tools may be used to complement internal processes. Wildlife TRACS is not an accounting system; however, the regulations at 2 CFR part 200.301 require ‘‘recipients to provide cost information to demonstrate cost effective practices’’ as part of their performance measurement. To reduce burden, it may be desirable for States to work with the Service and determine how Wildlife TRACS can best interface with existing State electronic systems. Although it may be advisable to determine how State systems and using Wildlife TRACS can better work together, Wildlife TRACS does not require States to change any of their existing systems or internal controls. The level of reporting is not a new standard, but is a level that should have been reported all along. By separating projects into discrete actions, States and WSFR can each evaluate project success more efficiently. Comment: Three respondents objected to including effectiveness measures in Wildlife TRACS beyond the State Wildlife Grant program. One cited that performance reporting (2 CFR 200.328(b)(2)) does not require effectiveness measures. Also stated was that measuring effectiveness on 1-year grants is not always possible. Reporting effectiveness creates an undue burden on States. Response: We disagree. Performance measurement at 2 CFR 200.301 directs that ‘‘the recipient’s performance should be measured in a way that will help the Federal awarding agency and other nonFederal entities to improve program outcomes, share lessons learned, and spread the adoption of promising practices.’’ The language at 2 CFR 328(b)(2) does not include the term ‘‘effectiveness measures,’’ but does state at paragraph (i), ‘‘Where performance trend data and analysis would be informative to the Federal awarding agency program, the Federal awarding agency should include this as a performance reporting requirement.’’ Our approach is to demonstrate program needs and accomplishments in a meaningful way by moving to strategies that will gather appropriate information that can be used to adequately inform PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the Service, States, elected officials, interest organizations, and the public. Comment: One respondent stated that using Wildlife TRACS is taking staff time away from satisfying grants. Given the time constraints on current staff, we are concerned we may have to hire new staff just to address Wildlife TRACS. Response: We agree that States will have a transition period when moving from processing paper documents to embracing an electronic format. However, Wildlife TRACS is not creating additional project requirements, but rather is a platform to allow users to respond to current requirements. Wildlife TRACS is designed to assist by allowing States to create an electronic workflow that suits their current structure and at the same time, will improve efficiency and document access. Comment: Two respondents commented on the accuracy of the estimated burden. One respondent stated that they do not have sufficient information on what type of projects, whether new entries, and what iteration of Wildlife TRACS was used. They stated their opinion that Wildlife TRACS becomes increasingly complex and time-consuming. Since full grant documents must still be submitted, there is no doubt that time invested in Wildlife TRACS data entry will be in addition to grant applications and no savings will be realized by States. The other respondent stated that the estimate of burden is too low. Wildlife TRACS has the potential to reduce burden in the future, but the current burden should be increased by 50 percent. Response: We make no changes in our burden estimates based on these comments. We are estimating the burden that will be realized over the next 3 years. We expect the burden to be slightly higher when States first transition to using Wildlife TRACS. However, once States fully engage in Wildlife TRACS we expect the burden to significantly decrease. We agree that our burden estimates are less comprehensive due to the relatively limited number of States that have fully engaged in Wildlife TRACS. We based burden estimates on information we received from States that responded to our questions, feedback from Service staff, and our planned improvements to Wildlife TRACS. Improvements under development in Wildlife TRACS will make the system more user-friendly and streamlined, while targeting ways to minimize burden. Also, we are developing tools that States may choose to use when applying for grants that will reduce overall workload. The Service E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices welcomes input and suggestions for continual ways to improve Wildlife TRACS efficiency. Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS continues to undergo changes and this makes it impossible to accurately estimate burden. Response: We agree that change is a natural component of modern web application development and maintenance, particularly in response to the rapid pace of technology and security advancements. We have made changes to the user experience in Wildlife TRACS, based primarily on recommendations from States and other partners for ways to improve Wildlife TRACS and reduce burden. We will continue to work with our partners to identify improvements and efficiencies in data collection. Once States are fully engaged in Wildlife TRACS data entry, we will have a greater response base for estimating burden. Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS does not effectively accommodate Comprehensive Management System (CMS) reporting and that the CMS enhancement will not be completed by October 1, 2016. Requiring CMS States to enter data into the incomplete Wildlife TRACS system by October 1, 2016, will be an undue burden on CMS States. This deadline should be extended for CMS States until Wildlife TRACS is ready to accept CMS data and the Service gives sufficient time for CMS States to adjust internal processes and train staff. Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS does not fully accommodate CMS reporting at this time. However, a process has been vetted by a Federal/ State team that will allow CMS States to begin to use Wildlife TRACS to capture accomplishment data until the application can be modified to more easily accommodate the CMS structure. The Service will require CMS States to enter reporting information into Wildlife TRACS, consistent with nonCMS States, and will adequately train staff in using the approach identified. Comment: One respondent supports Wildlife TRACS by stating that States have no good mechanism for reporting project outcomes. An effort led by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies developed effectiveness measures for State Wildlife Grants, which are being incorporated into Wildlife TRACS. Although entering more data will constitute an additional reporting burden, this information will allow us to provide Congress and the public with a much better understanding of our accomplishments. We feel the expanded reporting VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 opportunities will outweigh the additional data entry burden. Response: We agree that it is important to incorporate reporting information into Wildlife TRACS that will fulfill legal requirements, our responsibility to the public, and our desire to inform the course of conservation for the future. We continue to consider approaches that will give the greatest return for the least burden. We thank this respondent for understanding our combined responsibilities and the importance of measuring the effectiveness of our grant programs. Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected. Comment: One respondent suggested that geospatial information should only be entered as a component of accomplishments and not required as part of the application process. Response: We make no changes based on this comment. We remind respondents that Wildlife TRACS is not an application system. However, the project statement in a grant application requires location information, so describing the location of a project when applying is not a new requirement. Wildlife TRACS is a geospatial-based system and entering location information is the first step in data entry. We have learned that project location is integral to conservation efforts and expect that reports resulting from Wildlife TRACS and overlapped with other geospatial systems will greatly improve overall conservation. Wildlife TRACS allows for States to initially enter general geospatial information and to improve the information as the project evolves and completes, so perfecting geospatial information comes in the accomplishment phase, as suggested by the respondent. Comment: Two respondents suggested that geospatial information should only be collected at the project level and not at the action level. Response: We agree that there may be projects for which it will be sufficient to report geospatial information on a project level, but others will require more detail. There will also be projects for which the location at the project level and the action level are exactly the same. The project scope is a factor when determining the required level of reporting. Wildlife TRACS enables users to choose the precision of their geospatial data as appropriate for the project scope. The Service has also been working with States to define needs of various programs and the level of detail desired to produce the reports that will best support each program. PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58765 Comment: One respondent recommended several considerations for upgrading the system, including: Improving the mapping tool and GIS detail, adding fields that allow States to enter all parts of the project statement, resolving some problems that have been encountered with converting data entries to pdf reports, addressing the need for new/flexible standard indicators, and providing fields for additional information related to real property purchases. Response: We thank the respondent for these thoughtful comments for improvements to Wildlife TRACS and will take all of these recommendations under consideration. Comment: One respondent submitted comments asking for increased reporting opportunities that will allow a more complicated and robust inquiry. The respondent gave the following examples of queries not currently supported: Identify all projects within a State on behalf of an individual species or group of species; projects within specific ecoregions or Congressional districts; and collective impacts of related projects over time. The comments recognize Wildlife TRACS’ ability to offer opportunities for addressing these reporting needs and even though it may require additional effort at the beginning, the value of the reporting options outweighs the data entry burden. Response: We agree that robust reporting capabilities are vital to our mission and Wildlife TRACS reporting will allow users to generate this type of report. We expect Wildlife TRACS to be fully functional for robust reporting by December 2016. Comment: One respondent suggested that the Service should provide a reporting module that State and Federal staff can use to determine if project detail is sufficient to meet reporting needs. When a report module is provided, we will be able to evaluate the situation and better create best management practices for data entry. Response: We agree that the ability to produce reports from data entered into Wildlife TRACS will help users identify how to improve data entry. New enhancements to the workflow manager will allow users to more easily view validation and workflow status information. We expect Wildlife TRACS to include these enhancements for workflow management by November 2015. We look forward to working with States to refine best practices for data entry. Comment: Two respondents suggested that estimated costs by actions should not be collected. Financial reporting E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 58766 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Notices should be consistent with the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS) and not extend past the subaccount level. Response: We disagree and recognize that a major benefit of action-level costs is to assist both the Service and States in assessing cost effectiveness of projects. There will be an interface with FBMS that gives users some information to assist with cost analysis, but the cost information in Wildlife TRACS is not auditable. The estimated costs States enter into Wildlife TRACS is for a different purpose than the cost information in FBMS. Ways to minimize the burden of collection of information on respondents. Comment: One respondent stated that while it is preferred to minimize the reporting burden, we also want to ensure that the information we provide is sufficient to meet our responsibilities to the Service, elected officials, and the public. When a reporting module has been developed for Wildlife TRACS, we will be in a better position to evaluate reporting burden. At that time, we will work with the Service to find efficiencies that could minimize burden. Response: We appreciate the commitment to robust reporting and will continue to work with States and other partners to identify efficiencies and to minimize burden. Comment: Two respondents recommended we develop data communication between Wildlife TRACS and Grants.gov to reduce the burden to States for duplicate work. Response: We addressed Wildlife TRACS and applications above. When addressing ways to minimize burden, we agree that communication/interfaces with other electronic systems can help to improve efficiencies and reduce burden. Grants.gov is a grant application system and Wildlife TRACS is a project tracking and reporting system, so there will not always be a direct correlation from Wildlife TRACS to Grants.gov. However, for those projects that fall into the category of being funded through one grant, we will work to offer more options that may improve processing and reduce burden. We currently interface with several other electronic systems that serve to improve the user experience and lessen burden, such as FBMS and databases for identifying species, and we will continue to consider other opportunities. We welcome continued suggestions. Comment: One commenter suggested that Wildlife TRACS should either be upgraded to a full grant-management system, or the Service should retain full responsibility for entering data using VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:27 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 State grant applications as the source for obtaining grant data. Response: We make no change based on this comment. The Department of the Interior made the decision to transition from the various grant and other fiscal management systems being used by programs in the Department to a single fiscal management system, FBMS. Our former system, Federal Aid Information Management System (FAIMS), was decommissioned in October 2012. FAIMS was replaced for financial reporting by the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), which encompasses all financial and business administrative functions, not only grants programs. FBMS does not address project/grant performance reporting, is not grant-centric, and the system is not accessible to grantees. Wildlife TRACS is focused on filling the gap for performance reporting. There is no change in the responsibility for the grantee to report on project performance. Wildlife TRACS allows States to more accurately report by entering information directly. Comment: One respondent suggested that we should not implement Wildlife TRACS until it is in its final form, ensuring a stable model, reducing the need for retraining, and reducing the need for State staff to adapt to shifting models and expectations. Response: We make no changes based on this comment. The adjustments to Wildlife TRACS are to improve the user experience, efficiency of data collection, and response to information requirements. Many of the improvements are a result of recommendations from States that have engaged in Wildlife TRACS. None of the data entered into Wildlife TRACS will be lost as improvements are made. Continued training opportunities are available for users at: https:// TRACS.fws.gov/learning. Comment: One commenter stated that the Service should continue to enter data into Wildlife TRACS, resulting in no impact on States to implement this approach. Response: We disagree. We refer to responses above for further details. We will continue to assist States during the transition to address the backlog of projects that need to be entered into Wildlife TRACS. We will also work with States after October 1, 2016, to assess needs and offer options. Comment: One respondent asked us to continue to honor the Federal requirements that grant recipients must only report for those activities that have occurred during the period of performance. Any additional requirements would be especially PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 burdensome and draw resources away from the programs needed to manage the resources. Response: We agree and will only require reporting on projects during the period of performance. We may ask States to voluntarily assist with information beyond the period of performance, but it is expected that much of the information shared will be from work that States are already accomplishing for their internal needs. We hope to continue to work in partnership with States and other interested organizations to create vital and robust outcome information that will engage and inspire the public; inform our elected officials; and help Federal, State, and local agencies work together for continued conservation successes. Comment: The commenter objected to the use of taxpayer dollars for these financial assistance programs. Response: We note the commenter’s objection to funding these grant programs. The commenter did not address the information collection requirements, and we did not make any changes to our requirements based on this comment. Request for Public Comments We again invite comments concerning this information collection on: • Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, including whether or not the information will have practical utility; • The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of information; • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and • Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents. Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask OMB or us to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be done. Dated: September 24, 2015. Tina A. Campbell, Chief, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2015–24682 Filed 9–29–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 189 (Wednesday, September 30, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58759-58766]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24682]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-HQ-WSFR-2015-N190; FVWF941009000007B-XXX-FF09W11000; 
FVWF51100900000-XXX-FF09W11000]


Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management 
and Budget for Approval; Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative 
Agreements

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for 
review and approval. We summarize the ICR below and describe the nature 
of the collection and the estimated burden and cost. This information 
collection is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2015. We may not 
conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond

[[Page 58760]]

to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number. However, under OMB regulations, we may continue to 
conduct or sponsor this information collection while it is pending at 
OMB.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before October 30, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information 
collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov 
(email). Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 
(mail), or hope_grey@fws.gov (email). Please include ``1018-0109'' in 
the subject line of your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at hope_grey@fws.gov (email) or 703-
358-2482 (telephone). You may review the ICR online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to review Department of the 
Interior collections under review by OMB.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Information Collection Request

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0109.
    Title: Wildlife and Sport Fish Grants and Cooperative Agreements, 
50 CFR parts 80, 81, 84, 85, and 86.
    Service Form Number: None.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Description of Respondents: States; the Commonwealths of Puerto 
Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands; the District of Columbia; the 
territories of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa; federally 
recognized tribal governments; institutions of higher education; and 
nongovernmental organizations.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: Annually for applications for new grants; 
on occasion for amendments; and annually and at the end of the project 
for performance reports. We may require more frequent reports under the 
conditions stated at 2 CFR 200.205 and 2 CFR 200.207.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Completion
                    Activity                         Number of       Number of       time per      Total annual
                                                    respondents      responses       response      burden hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Initial Application (project narrative).........             200           2,500              37          92,500
Revision of Award Terms (Amendment).............             150           1,500               3           4,500
Performance Reports.............................             200           3,500               8          28,000
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Totals......................................             550           7,500  ..............         125,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None.
    Abstract: The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, administers financial assistance 
programs in whole or in part (see 80 FR 31061, June 1, 2015). We award 
most financial assistance as grants, but cooperative agreements are 
possible if the Federal Government will be substantially involved in 
carrying out the project. You can find a description of most programs 
in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance. Some financial 
assistance programs are directly funded through WSFR, others are funded 
through non-WSFR Federal programs and WSFR administers various aspects 
of the financial assistance. When WSFR administers a grant in part or 
in whole, it follows the same processes for information collection to 
ensure the recipient complies with Federal laws, regulations, and 
policies applicable to financial assistance.
    Authorities and implementing regulations establish the purposes of 
the grant programs and the types of projects to be funded. Some list 
eligibility criteria as well as activities ineligible for funding. The 
authorities and implementing regulations for the competitive programs 
establish preferences or ranking factors for the selection of projects 
to be funded. These legal requirements make it essential for an 
awarding agency to have certain information so that it funds only 
eligible projects, and, in the case of competitive programs, to select 
those projects that will result in the greatest return on the Federal 
investment.
    Some grants are mandatory and receive funds according to a formula 
set by law or policy. Other grants are discretionary, and we award them 
based on a competitive process. Mandatory grant recipients must give us 
specific, detailed project information during the application process 
so that we can ensure that projects are eligible for the mandatory 
funding, are substantial in character and design, and comply with all 
applicable Federal laws. All grantees must submit financial and 
performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track 
costs and accomplishments.
    In February 2014, OMB approved our request to use a new electronic 
system (Wildlife Tracking and Reporting Actions for the Conservation of 
Species (Wildlife TRACS)) to collect application and performance 
reporting information on our grant programs. OMB assigned OMB Control 
No. 1018-0156, which expires February 28, 2017. Wildlife TRACS allows 
us to take advantage of newer technology and gives applicants direct 
access to enter project information that can be used to submit an 
application through http://www.grants.gov (Grants.gov). Grantees can 
also report performance accomplishments in Wildlife TRACS. We are 
including the use of Wildlife TRACS and the collection of additional 
information in this revision to OMB Control No. 1018-0109. If OMB 
approves this revision, we will discontinue OMB Control No. 1018-0156.
    We may require all States to directly enter project information and 
performance reporting into Wildlife TRACS by October 1, 2016. We 
continue to offer training and support to States on entering 
information into the new system. When States fully engage in directly 
entering all application and project performance reporting into 
Wildlife TRACS, we expect there will be a reduction in the burden to 
report the information. States will become more adept with experience, 
and efficiencies of the electronic system will be realized starting in 
the second full year of use. A majority of WSFR-administered projects 
are continuations of similar actions and/or at the same locations. 
Wildlife TRACS is designed to ease the administrative burden of 
applying for and reporting on grants for projects that fall into these 
parameters. The table above reflects the burden reduction that we 
expect over the next 3 years. Not all grantees will directly enter 
information into Wildlife TRACS. We will enter information when we 
determine that it is not efficient or in the best interest of

[[Page 58761]]

the program to have grantees enter information.
    To apply for financial assistance funds, you must submit an 
application that describes in substantial detail project locations, 
benefits, funding, and other characteristics. Materials to assist 
applicants in formulating project proposals are available on 
Grants.gov. We use the application to determine:
     Eligibility.
     Scale of resource values or relative worth of the project.
     If associated costs are reasonable and allowable.
     Potential effect of the project on environmental and 
cultural resources.
     How well the proposed project will meet the purposes of 
the program's establishing legislation.
     If the proposed project is substantial in character and 
design.
     For competitive programs, how the proposed project 
addresses ranking criteria.
    Persons or entities receiving grants must submit periodic 
performance reports that contain information necessary for us to track 
costs and accomplishments. Information for amendments to grants will be 
collected as needed.
    We will collect the following information under OMB Control No. 
1018-0109:
    Applications.
     Summary and project narratives that describe the proposed 
project;
     Need for assistance;
     Approach;
     Timelines;
     Budget information including a budget narrative;
     Geospatial entry of project location;
     Project status (active, completed, etc.);
     Project leader contact information;
     Partner information;
     Objectives, including output measures and desired future 
values;
     Public description;
     Action status (active, completed, etc.);
     Summary trend information, as applicable;
     Estimated costs, by action. (non-auditable);
     Effectiveness measures (initially for State Wildlife 
Grants);
     Plan information (for projects connected to plans);
     Information related to outcomes; and
     Addressing ranking factors, as required by competitive 
grant programs.
    For research and demonstration assistance requests:
     A biographical sketch of the program director with the 
following information: Name, address, telephone number, background, and 
other qualifying experience for the project; and
     The name, training, and background for other key personnel 
engaged in the project.
    For real property acquisition projects:
     Maps, images, and other data that reflect project location 
and benefits;
     Transactions, such as dates, method of transfer, title 
holder, and seller;
     Identifiers, such as State and Federal Record ID, parcel 
number, and property name;
     Values such as appraised value, purchase price and other 
cost information, and acres or acre feet;
     Encumbrances;
     Partners;
     Copies of any options, purchase agreements, mineral 
assessment reports, and draft conservation easements; and
     Information needed for legal compliance; and copies of 
documents that demonstrate the grantee complied with 49 CFR 24, 2 CFR 
200, program regulations, and other mandatory legal requirements.
    Amendments. Most grantees must explain and justify requests for 
amendments to terms of the grant. We use this information to determine 
the eligibility and allowability of activities and to comply with the 
requirements of 2 CFR 200.
    Performance Reports. All grantees must submit performance reports 
in the format requested by the Service. We use this information to 
ensure that the grantee is accomplishing the work on schedule and to 
identify any problems that the grantee may be experiencing in 
accomplishing that work. Grantees submit annual reports; however, 
reporting periods may be adjusted according to regulations at 2 CFR 
200.328. Reports may include:
     A comparison of actual accomplishments with the goals and 
objectives established for the period, the findings of the 
investigator, or both.
     Reasons why established goals were not met, if 
appropriate.
     Other pertinent information including, when appropriate, 
(1) analysis and explanation of cost overruns or high unit costs and 
(2) for land acquisition projects, a copy of the deed or other 
conveyance document and a copy of the Notice of Federal Participation.

Comments Received and Our Responses

    On June 1, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 31061) 
a notice of our intent to request that OMB renew approval for this 
information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 60 
days, ending on July 31, 2015. We received comments from eight States 
and one individual.
    Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility.
    Comment: Two respondents agreed that the collection of information 
is necessary and has always been a requirement of WSFR. However, they 
expressed concerns with the format, saying that using Wildlife TRACS is 
forcing States to change their established procedures.
    Response: We agree that States have always had the responsibility 
to develop and submit performance reports for projects/grants. Prior to 
Wildlife TRACS, States submitted written reports to the Service. 
Service staff then interpreted and entered the information into the 
electronic system (Federal Aid Information Management System (FAIMS)). 
The Department of the Interior decommissioned FAIMS on October 1, 2012. 
We are required by law to collect performance information. Wildlife 
TRACS gives us the opportunity to allow States to more accurately 
report information by entering it directly. We agree that both Federal 
and State procedures for information sharing/data entry are changing 
following the decommissioning of FAIMS and the introduction of Wildlife 
TRACS. We are working closely with States to improve information 
collection and data entry so that the adjustment to using Wildlife 
TRACS will lead to more efficient and effective reporting. We are open 
to suggestions for further improvements.
    Comment: One commenter stated that rather than thinking of Wildlife 
TRACS as an ``increase in the amount of data'' that grantees will be 
required to submit, using Wildlife TRACS should be thought of as a 
``change in the format'' that the data is submitted. States are already 
providing the information, just in a different format. This new format 
will not constitute a significant increase in the time or resources 
required to either create or report on a project.
    Response: We agree and thank the respondent for recognizing that 
using Wildlife TRACS is changing the format for collecting information 
to a more efficient and effective electronic system.
    Comment: Two respondents stated that the Wildlife TRACS structure 
does not provide a clear benefit to either States or Regional FWS 
Offices.
    Response: We disagree. The Wildlife TRACS structure is intuitive 
and helps users enter information in a logical progression. The fields 
provided assist users to consider all needed

[[Page 58762]]

information, allowing the Service to more efficiently review and 
approve projects. Once States become familiar with the Wildlife TRACS 
format, it will allow users to better design Wildlife TRACS-ready 
projects and provide the Service with adequate information to make 
decisions. As more projects are entered into Wildlife TRACS, States and 
the Service will be able to run more robust reports that will help 
identify trends, determine best processes, quantify results, and inform 
future actions. As additional system improvements are made, more 
reporting and data analyses tools will be available to provide benefit 
to the Service and users.
    Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS is forcing 
States to alter the format of existing grants and performance reporting 
to fit the Wildlife TRACS format, rather than a format that States feel 
works best for their particular projects.
    Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS is a different format for 
data collection, but disagree that the change in format affects the 
ability of States to design and implement projects. Wildlife TRACS does 
not represent a change in program requirements or substantiality in 
character or design. We will not require users to retroactively enter 
information into Wildlife TRACS. Wildlife TRACS data entry will only be 
required going forward. We have imported information on past projects 
from FAIMS into Wildlife TRACS as legacy data.
    Comment: One respondent objected to using the tools in Wildlife 
TRACS, such as targeted fields and drop down menus, and connecting them 
back to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) 
objectives that have significant limitations and questionable utility 
for reporting.
    Response: We disagree. The interface and tools in Wildlife TRACS 
are designed to logically guide the user and allow less complicated and 
varied data entry. The selections provided in drop down menus have been 
vetted through Federal/State teams and it is believed that they cover 
all possible choices for the information needed. Often, a single metric 
may be characterized through many variations in language. Standardizing 
certain entries by limiting selections allows us to generate reports 
that include all projects that have similar components without having 
to search for all the variations in language. Using SMART objectives is 
integral to project management and helps users focus on the desired 
outputs. Wildlife TRACS is designed to give users the flexibility to 
use the SMART objective fields or to create SMART objectives in 
narrative format.
    Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS is explained as 
a way of collecting and reporting useful information for all grant-
funded actions. However, the type and purposes of grants is so varied, 
with such wide-ranging objectives, that Wildlife TRACS information can 
only be captured and reported effectively at a very high level.
    Response: We agree that a large variety of projects will be 
reported in Wildlife TRACS, but we disagree with the respondent's 
statement that suggests reporting won't be relevant. Reporting is 
required down to the ``Action level'' for most projects. This allows us 
to produce reports that address both high-level and detailed 
perspectives, depending on need. Wildlife TRACS offers both 
standardized and customizable approaches for describing objectives in 
an effort to encapsulate the varied grant types and purposes.
    Comment: Two respondents stated that the grants submission and 
reporting process, which has been successful for many years, provides 
the Service with the necessary information to approve grants. Wildlife 
TRACS is not a system that can readily be used to develop, edit, and 
write a proposal. It is simply a repository of the information, so 
there is duplication of workload from Wildlife TRACS data entry.
    Response: We disagree. Paper submissions often lacked required 
information and led to additional workload for both Federal and State 
grant managers. Wildlife TRACS is designed to guide users to address 
all pertinent project information. We offer training for project 
leaders that will assist them in using Wildlife TRACS to help build 
projects. Although Wildlife TRACS is not a grant application system, 
users can produce reports from Wildlife TRACS that they can then use 
when submitting grant applications through Grants.gov. Future 
enhancements to Wildlife TRACS may include the ability to transmit a 
proposal to Grants.gov for approval. Wildlife TRACS does not create a 
duplication of effort as we do not require that the information entered 
into Wildlife TRACS also be submitted on paper.
    Comment: Two respondents expressed that the Service should retain 
the responsibility to enter data into Wildlife TRACS. One stated that 
the information collected has no practical utility for State programs, 
which will be charged with managing data input. Their opinion is that 
Wildlife TRACS is strictly a Service project that is geared for the 
benefit of the Service. The States are well-served for State purposes 
by the present grant reporting system, which allows States to submit 
usable products as evidence of grant/project completion. The easing of 
burdens is only realized by Service staff, not by States. The other 
respondent stated the transfer of workload will greatly increase 
administrative costs for States.
    Response: We disagree. The information collection will give States 
the ability to accurately reflect project objectives and 
accomplishments, as well as providing information that will help States 
to better assess conservation needs and accomplishments. Wildlife TRACS 
will allow users to directly enter information, reducing errors from 
misinterpretation by Service staff tasked with translating and 
transmitting information from paper to an electronic system. Wildlife 
TRACS will also help States address increased grant-recipient 
responsibilities and provide for better reporting of State 
accomplishments. The reporting mechanisms in Wildlife TRACS will help 
States provide evidence of project/agency successes to their elected 
representatives and the public. Planning and reporting on projects are 
already being done, so it is a matter of adjusting resources to 
accommodate Wildlife TRACS. We believe that any increase in 
administrative costs to States will be temporary and may be addressed 
through grant funding.
    Comment: One respondent supported using an electronic system to 
collect application and performance reporting information to 
demonstrate program performance to interested stakeholders and the 
general public. They also appreciate the efforts of the Service to 
minimize the burden, including the October 1, 2016, date for State data 
entry.
    Response: We agree and thank the respondent for the support.
    Accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection of 
information.
    Comment: One respondent stated that many grants are ongoing and 
have been in effect for more than 50 years. The need to alter the 
structure of these grants is overly burdensome.
    Response: We believe the respondent is referring to ongoing 
projects and not ongoing grants. Grants have a period of performance 
that is much less than 50 years. Based on this clarification, we agree 
that using Wildlife TRACS is a change in the method of reporting 
information that will require States to initially enter baseline 
information for ongoing projects. However, once the baseline 
information is entered, Wildlife TRACS will allow efficiencies for

[[Page 58763]]

ongoing similar projects. Users will be able to assign new grants to 
existing projects or to copy projects forward through simple steps that 
will reduce burden.
    Comment: Three respondents commented on their concerns about 
performance reports. These concerns addressed:
    (1) The performance report that was previously one paragraph in 
length must now be reported through multiple tabs within Wildlife TRACS 
to produce a lengthy report;
    (2) The ability to copy forward a project will not produce the 
burden reduction the Service suggests;
    (3) The reports contain redundant information; and
    (4) Performance reports change from year to year, so significant 
time must still be spent to update pertinent information.
    Response: We disagree for the following reasons:
    (1) Data entry fields in Wildlife TRACS are designed to guide the 
user to make choices that will build the project information, 
increasing accuracy and efficiency. This does not affect the length of 
reports;
    (2) Once the baseline information for an ongoing project is 
entered, Wildlife TRACS allows the information to be copied forward. 
This improves efficiency in that the user will not be required to 
repeat entering all information for continued projects or new, similar 
projects. Once a project is copied forward, adjustments can be made in 
selected fields to reflect desired changes from the existing, copied 
project. We remind users that the Wildlife TRACS function to copy 
projects forward is an option for users as an efficiency, but doing so 
is not a requirement. States may choose which method of input is most 
efficient and effective for their needs;
    (3) Reports are created from information in the fields, so if there 
is redundant information it is because that is what the user entered; 
and
    (4) Users will not be required to pull out reports and make 
changes; the adjustments will be made through logical changes in 
applicable fields. In addition, when a project is copied forward, it 
becomes a new project with new performance reporting. There is no 
requirement under the current reporting system to revise performance 
information on a completed project based on other projects, nor will it 
be a requirement when using Wildlife TRACS.
    Comment: One respondent stated that the Uniform Administrative 
Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal 
Awards at 2 CFR part 200 were designed to streamline the grant 
application process, but they feel the requirements for Wildlife TRACS 
go above and beyond this, placing an undue burden on States and 
representing steps backwards.
    Response: We disagree. The focus of 2 CFR part 200 is to streamline 
guidance that was previously published as several regulations, into one 
regulation at 2 CFR part 200. This regulatory update is part of an 
overall effort to more effectively focus Federal resources on improving 
performance and outcomes while ensuring the financial integrity of 
taxpayer dollars in partnership with non-Federal stakeholders. The 
guidance at 2 CFR part 200 provides a Governmentwide framework for 
grants management that will be complemented by additional efforts to 
strengthen program outcomes through innovative and effective use of 
grant-making models, performance metrics, and evaluation. Wildlife 
TRACS is the tool that WSFR is using to fulfill this directive.
    Comment: Three respondents cited several concerns regarding the 
role of Wildlife TRACS when States apply for grants and when the 
Service awards grants. Their concerns include:
    (1) States must complete Wildlife TRACS data entry before a grant 
can be approved. The addition of Wildlife TRACS to the grant approval 
process is excessive and not necessary for the review and approval of 
grant applications;
    (2) Using Wildlife TRACS for grant approval may put a State agency 
at risk of reverting apportionments;
    (3) The requirement to enter data into Wildlife TRACS prior to a 
grant award results in a duplication of effort, having to submit the 
grant proposal twice; and
    (4) Wildlife TRACS was proposed as a reporting tool and never was 
supposed to affect the application process.
    Response: We disagree for the following reasons:
    (1) Wildlife TRACS is not used to approve grants, but rather to 
approve projects. Grantees are not required to enter data for projects 
funded with one of WSFR's competitive grant programs until after we 
award a grant. Grantees are required to enter project information and 
receive approval prior to project start for projects funded under one 
of WSFR's mandatory grant programs. However, the Service does not award 
mandatory grants based on Wildlife TRACS data entry. Mandatory grants 
are apportioned according to a formula set by law. Entering information 
for mandatory grant projects allows Service staff the opportunity to 
review projects to assure they meet program requirements and are 
substantial in character and design. This process reduces risk and 
helps States avoid unallowable, unnecessary, or undesirable 
expenditures;
    (2) It is the responsibility of the State to avoid reverting funds. 
The time required to approve a grant is not related to Wildlife TRACS, 
but to the availability of WSFR staff to review the proposal, and the 
completeness of the State's submittal. When States fully engage in 
Wildlife TRACS, they can use the workflow tool to help save time and 
more efficiently commit funds;
    (3) As stated above, Wildlife TRACS is not a grant-approval tool, 
so there is no duplication of effort. However, Wildlife TRACS gives 
users an option to enter information into Wildlife TRACS that can then 
produce a report that may be used to supplement/support a grant 
application; and
    (4) Wildlife TRACS is a reporting tool. In order to report on 
project performance, we must know what the project is and be able to 
compare achievements against the proposal. Wildlife TRACS allows users 
to enter project information so that the Service can easily see 
objectives and compare them to achievements.
    Comment: One respondent stated the requirement to use Wildlife 
TRACS for project approval may be problematic and asks that the Service 
retain some flexibility to accommodate urgent and/or unusual 
situations.
    Response: The project approval process for mandatory grants 
requires States to enter information into Wildlife TRACS and route 
appropriately through the workflow. We must maintain consistent 
procedures to avoid confusion and assure appropriate project approval. 
However, having Wildlife TRACS protocols in place does not eliminate 
the ability of States to coordinate with the Service when special needs 
or circumstances arise.
    Comment: Three respondents suggested that Wildlife TRACS be linked 
to Grants.gov, reducing a duplication of effort and increased workload 
for applicants. One suggestion was that the Service use Grants.gov 
instead of Wildlife TRACS to collect project data.
    Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS is not currently tied to 
Grants.gov, but remind the respondents that Wildlife TRACS is not a 
grant application system. Grants.gov provides a central portal for 
applicants to find and apply for Federal financial assistance. We do 
understand that often a single grant may fully fund a project and we 
continue to develop options that

[[Page 58764]]

users may choose to employ to ease the burden of the application 
process through Grants.gov. In the future, we plan to implement a 
protocol where Wildlife TRACS will use web services published by 
Grants.gov to reduce any potential duplication of effort. WSFR 
anticipates that Wildlife TRACS will offer this capability by December 
2017.
    Comment: Two respondents stated that State agencies often submit 
multiple grant applications and have a rigorous State review process 
that includes coordination among multiple employees. A heavy workload 
to enter information into Wildlife TRACS could fall onto one employee 
because of the complicated process, or will require States to reassign 
staff or hire Wildlife TRACS-specific personnel.
    Response: We disagree, as Wildlife TRACS is not a system that the 
Service uses to approve grants, but rather assists in efficient project 
approval. We agree that States will have a transition period while 
learning Wildlife TRACS, but we disagree that having several project 
leads is more burdensome using Wildlife TRACS than when using the 
current, paper-based process. A grant or a project that requires 
coordination among multiple layers of project leaders and approvers 
must be managed regardless of whether Wildlife TRACS is used or not. 
The State processes for reviewing and approving grant applications and 
project proposals is a State function, determined by the State and not 
driven by Wildlife TRACS. However, Wildlife TRACS may be customized so 
that when a State has large grants with multiple actions and several 
project leads, they can manage workflow among those multiple users. 
Wildlife TRACS offers a workflow option that can assist States to route 
information among multiple staff and receive project approvals much 
faster than would happen if paper copies were circulated. It is 
ultimately up to States to determine the best approach for managing 
reporting on all projects, including those that are larger and more 
complicated. We encourage States to explore ways that Wildlife TRACS 
can assist them to improve efficiencies during the State preparation, 
review, and approval phases. The Service is open to suggestions for how 
Wildlife TRACS might allow further efficiencies for States to use when 
coordinating projects among multiple employees.
    Comment: Three respondents stated concerns that the level of cost 
accounting in Wildlife TRACS will create a need to alter their internal 
controls and accounting systems. Wildlife TRACS defines a new focus 
called the action level and requires associated accounting. 
Historically, this level of reporting has not been required for WSFR 
grants and creates an undue burden.
    Response: We disagree that Wildlife TRACS is forcing States to 
change internal controls and accounting systems. States must maintain 
internal controls within their agencies and they should be designed to 
respond to a variety of altering situations. Wildlife TRACS workflow 
tools may be used to complement internal processes. Wildlife TRACS is 
not an accounting system; however, the regulations at 2 CFR part 
200.301 require ``recipients to provide cost information to demonstrate 
cost effective practices'' as part of their performance measurement. To 
reduce burden, it may be desirable for States to work with the Service 
and determine how Wildlife TRACS can best interface with existing State 
electronic systems. Although it may be advisable to determine how State 
systems and using Wildlife TRACS can better work together, Wildlife 
TRACS does not require States to change any of their existing systems 
or internal controls. The level of reporting is not a new standard, but 
is a level that should have been reported all along. By separating 
projects into discrete actions, States and WSFR can each evaluate 
project success more efficiently.
    Comment: Three respondents objected to including effectiveness 
measures in Wildlife TRACS beyond the State Wildlife Grant program. One 
cited that performance reporting (2 CFR 200.328(b)(2)) does not require 
effectiveness measures. Also stated was that measuring effectiveness on 
1-year grants is not always possible. Reporting effectiveness creates 
an undue burden on States.
    Response: We disagree. Performance measurement at 2 CFR 200.301 
directs that ``the recipient's performance should be measured in a way 
that will help the Federal awarding agency and other non-Federal 
entities to improve program outcomes, share lessons learned, and spread 
the adoption of promising practices.'' The language at 2 CFR 328(b)(2) 
does not include the term ``effectiveness measures,'' but does state at 
paragraph (i), ``Where performance trend data and analysis would be 
informative to the Federal awarding agency program, the Federal 
awarding agency should include this as a performance reporting 
requirement.'' Our approach is to demonstrate program needs and 
accomplishments in a meaningful way by moving to strategies that will 
gather appropriate information that can be used to adequately inform 
the Service, States, elected officials, interest organizations, and the 
public.
    Comment: One respondent stated that using Wildlife TRACS is taking 
staff time away from satisfying grants. Given the time constraints on 
current staff, we are concerned we may have to hire new staff just to 
address Wildlife TRACS.
    Response: We agree that States will have a transition period when 
moving from processing paper documents to embracing an electronic 
format. However, Wildlife TRACS is not creating additional project 
requirements, but rather is a platform to allow users to respond to 
current requirements. Wildlife TRACS is designed to assist by allowing 
States to create an electronic workflow that suits their current 
structure and at the same time, will improve efficiency and document 
access.
    Comment: Two respondents commented on the accuracy of the estimated 
burden. One respondent stated that they do not have sufficient 
information on what type of projects, whether new entries, and what 
iteration of Wildlife TRACS was used. They stated their opinion that 
Wildlife TRACS becomes increasingly complex and time-consuming. Since 
full grant documents must still be submitted, there is no doubt that 
time invested in Wildlife TRACS data entry will be in addition to grant 
applications and no savings will be realized by States. The other 
respondent stated that the estimate of burden is too low. Wildlife 
TRACS has the potential to reduce burden in the future, but the current 
burden should be increased by 50 percent.
    Response: We make no changes in our burden estimates based on these 
comments. We are estimating the burden that will be realized over the 
next 3 years. We expect the burden to be slightly higher when States 
first transition to using Wildlife TRACS. However, once States fully 
engage in Wildlife TRACS we expect the burden to significantly 
decrease. We agree that our burden estimates are less comprehensive due 
to the relatively limited number of States that have fully engaged in 
Wildlife TRACS. We based burden estimates on information we received 
from States that responded to our questions, feedback from Service 
staff, and our planned improvements to Wildlife TRACS. Improvements 
under development in Wildlife TRACS will make the system more user-
friendly and streamlined, while targeting ways to minimize burden. 
Also, we are developing tools that States may choose to use when 
applying for grants that will reduce overall workload. The Service

[[Page 58765]]

welcomes input and suggestions for continual ways to improve Wildlife 
TRACS efficiency.
    Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS continues to 
undergo changes and this makes it impossible to accurately estimate 
burden.
    Response: We agree that change is a natural component of modern web 
application development and maintenance, particularly in response to 
the rapid pace of technology and security advancements. We have made 
changes to the user experience in Wildlife TRACS, based primarily on 
recommendations from States and other partners for ways to improve 
Wildlife TRACS and reduce burden. We will continue to work with our 
partners to identify improvements and efficiencies in data collection. 
Once States are fully engaged in Wildlife TRACS data entry, we will 
have a greater response base for estimating burden.
    Comment: One respondent stated that Wildlife TRACS does not 
effectively accommodate Comprehensive Management System (CMS) reporting 
and that the CMS enhancement will not be completed by October 1, 2016. 
Requiring CMS States to enter data into the incomplete Wildlife TRACS 
system by October 1, 2016, will be an undue burden on CMS States. This 
deadline should be extended for CMS States until Wildlife TRACS is 
ready to accept CMS data and the Service gives sufficient time for CMS 
States to adjust internal processes and train staff.
    Response: We agree that Wildlife TRACS does not fully accommodate 
CMS reporting at this time. However, a process has been vetted by a 
Federal/State team that will allow CMS States to begin to use Wildlife 
TRACS to capture accomplishment data until the application can be 
modified to more easily accommodate the CMS structure. The Service will 
require CMS States to enter reporting information into Wildlife TRACS, 
consistent with non-CMS States, and will adequately train staff in 
using the approach identified.
    Comment: One respondent supports Wildlife TRACS by stating that 
States have no good mechanism for reporting project outcomes. An effort 
led by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies developed 
effectiveness measures for State Wildlife Grants, which are being 
incorporated into Wildlife TRACS. Although entering more data will 
constitute an additional reporting burden, this information will allow 
us to provide Congress and the public with a much better understanding 
of our accomplishments. We feel the expanded reporting opportunities 
will outweigh the additional data entry burden.
    Response: We agree that it is important to incorporate reporting 
information into Wildlife TRACS that will fulfill legal requirements, 
our responsibility to the public, and our desire to inform the course 
of conservation for the future. We continue to consider approaches that 
will give the greatest return for the least burden. We thank this 
respondent for understanding our combined responsibilities and the 
importance of measuring the effectiveness of our grant programs.
    Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected.
    Comment: One respondent suggested that geospatial information 
should only be entered as a component of accomplishments and not 
required as part of the application process.
    Response: We make no changes based on this comment. We remind 
respondents that Wildlife TRACS is not an application system. However, 
the project statement in a grant application requires location 
information, so describing the location of a project when applying is 
not a new requirement. Wildlife TRACS is a geospatial-based system and 
entering location information is the first step in data entry. We have 
learned that project location is integral to conservation efforts and 
expect that reports resulting from Wildlife TRACS and overlapped with 
other geospatial systems will greatly improve overall conservation. 
Wildlife TRACS allows for States to initially enter general geospatial 
information and to improve the information as the project evolves and 
completes, so perfecting geospatial information comes in the 
accomplishment phase, as suggested by the respondent.
    Comment: Two respondents suggested that geospatial information 
should only be collected at the project level and not at the action 
level.
    Response: We agree that there may be projects for which it will be 
sufficient to report geospatial information on a project level, but 
others will require more detail. There will also be projects for which 
the location at the project level and the action level are exactly the 
same. The project scope is a factor when determining the required level 
of reporting. Wildlife TRACS enables users to choose the precision of 
their geospatial data as appropriate for the project scope. The Service 
has also been working with States to define needs of various programs 
and the level of detail desired to produce the reports that will best 
support each program.
    Comment: One respondent recommended several considerations for 
upgrading the system, including: Improving the mapping tool and GIS 
detail, adding fields that allow States to enter all parts of the 
project statement, resolving some problems that have been encountered 
with converting data entries to pdf reports, addressing the need for 
new/flexible standard indicators, and providing fields for additional 
information related to real property purchases.
    Response: We thank the respondent for these thoughtful comments for 
improvements to Wildlife TRACS and will take all of these 
recommendations under consideration.
    Comment: One respondent submitted comments asking for increased 
reporting opportunities that will allow a more complicated and robust 
inquiry. The respondent gave the following examples of queries not 
currently supported: Identify all projects within a State on behalf of 
an individual species or group of species; projects within specific 
ecoregions or Congressional districts; and collective impacts of 
related projects over time. The comments recognize Wildlife TRACS' 
ability to offer opportunities for addressing these reporting needs and 
even though it may require additional effort at the beginning, the 
value of the reporting options outweighs the data entry burden.
    Response: We agree that robust reporting capabilities are vital to 
our mission and Wildlife TRACS reporting will allow users to generate 
this type of report. We expect Wildlife TRACS to be fully functional 
for robust reporting by December 2016.
    Comment: One respondent suggested that the Service should provide a 
reporting module that State and Federal staff can use to determine if 
project detail is sufficient to meet reporting needs. When a report 
module is provided, we will be able to evaluate the situation and 
better create best management practices for data entry.
    Response: We agree that the ability to produce reports from data 
entered into Wildlife TRACS will help users identify how to improve 
data entry. New enhancements to the workflow manager will allow users 
to more easily view validation and workflow status information. We 
expect Wildlife TRACS to include these enhancements for workflow 
management by November 2015. We look forward to working with States to 
refine best practices for data entry.
    Comment: Two respondents suggested that estimated costs by actions 
should not be collected. Financial reporting

[[Page 58766]]

should be consistent with the Financial and Business Management System 
(FBMS) and not extend past the subaccount level.
    Response: We disagree and recognize that a major benefit of action-
level costs is to assist both the Service and States in assessing cost 
effectiveness of projects. There will be an interface with FBMS that 
gives users some information to assist with cost analysis, but the cost 
information in Wildlife TRACS is not auditable. The estimated costs 
States enter into Wildlife TRACS is for a different purpose than the 
cost information in FBMS.
    Ways to minimize the burden of collection of information on 
respondents.
    Comment: One respondent stated that while it is preferred to 
minimize the reporting burden, we also want to ensure that the 
information we provide is sufficient to meet our responsibilities to 
the Service, elected officials, and the public. When a reporting module 
has been developed for Wildlife TRACS, we will be in a better position 
to evaluate reporting burden. At that time, we will work with the 
Service to find efficiencies that could minimize burden.
    Response: We appreciate the commitment to robust reporting and will 
continue to work with States and other partners to identify 
efficiencies and to minimize burden.
    Comment: Two respondents recommended we develop data communication 
between Wildlife TRACS and Grants.gov to reduce the burden to States 
for duplicate work.
    Response: We addressed Wildlife TRACS and applications above. When 
addressing ways to minimize burden, we agree that communication/
interfaces with other electronic systems can help to improve 
efficiencies and reduce burden. Grants.gov is a grant application 
system and Wildlife TRACS is a project tracking and reporting system, 
so there will not always be a direct correlation from Wildlife TRACS to 
Grants.gov. However, for those projects that fall into the category of 
being funded through one grant, we will work to offer more options that 
may improve processing and reduce burden. We currently interface with 
several other electronic systems that serve to improve the user 
experience and lessen burden, such as FBMS and databases for 
identifying species, and we will continue to consider other 
opportunities. We welcome continued suggestions.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that Wildlife TRACS should either 
be upgraded to a full grant-management system, or the Service should 
retain full responsibility for entering data using State grant 
applications as the source for obtaining grant data.
    Response: We make no change based on this comment. The Department 
of the Interior made the decision to transition from the various grant 
and other fiscal management systems being used by programs in the 
Department to a single fiscal management system, FBMS. Our former 
system, Federal Aid Information Management System (FAIMS), was 
decommissioned in October 2012. FAIMS was replaced for financial 
reporting by the Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), which 
encompasses all financial and business administrative functions, not 
only grants programs. FBMS does not address project/grant performance 
reporting, is not grant-centric, and the system is not accessible to 
grantees. Wildlife TRACS is focused on filling the gap for performance 
reporting. There is no change in the responsibility for the grantee to 
report on project performance. Wildlife TRACS allows States to more 
accurately report by entering information directly.
    Comment: One respondent suggested that we should not implement 
Wildlife TRACS until it is in its final form, ensuring a stable model, 
reducing the need for retraining, and reducing the need for State staff 
to adapt to shifting models and expectations.
    Response: We make no changes based on this comment. The adjustments 
to Wildlife TRACS are to improve the user experience, efficiency of 
data collection, and response to information requirements. Many of the 
improvements are a result of recommendations from States that have 
engaged in Wildlife TRACS. None of the data entered into Wildlife TRACS 
will be lost as improvements are made. Continued training opportunities 
are available for users at: https://TRACS.fws.gov/learning.
    Comment: One commenter stated that the Service should continue to 
enter data into Wildlife TRACS, resulting in no impact on States to 
implement this approach.
    Response: We disagree. We refer to responses above for further 
details. We will continue to assist States during the transition to 
address the backlog of projects that need to be entered into Wildlife 
TRACS. We will also work with States after October 1, 2016, to assess 
needs and offer options.
    Comment: One respondent asked us to continue to honor the Federal 
requirements that grant recipients must only report for those 
activities that have occurred during the period of performance. Any 
additional requirements would be especially burdensome and draw 
resources away from the programs needed to manage the resources.
    Response: We agree and will only require reporting on projects 
during the period of performance. We may ask States to voluntarily 
assist with information beyond the period of performance, but it is 
expected that much of the information shared will be from work that 
States are already accomplishing for their internal needs. We hope to 
continue to work in partnership with States and other interested 
organizations to create vital and robust outcome information that will 
engage and inspire the public; inform our elected officials; and help 
Federal, State, and local agencies work together for continued 
conservation successes.
    Comment: The commenter objected to the use of taxpayer dollars for 
these financial assistance programs.
    Response: We note the commenter's objection to funding these grant 
programs. The commenter did not address the information collection 
requirements, and we did not make any changes to our requirements based 
on this comment.

Request for Public Comments

    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. Before including your address, phone number, email 
address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you 
should be aware that your entire comment, including your personal 
identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. 
While you can ask OMB or us to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it will be 
done.

    Dated: September 24, 2015.
Tina A. Campbell,
Chief, Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-24682 Filed 9-29-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-55-P