Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot, 34098-34100 [2018-15349]

Download as PDF 34098 Notices Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 139 Thursday, July 19, 2018 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules or proposed rules that are applicable to the public. Notices of hearings and investigations, committee meetings, agency decisions and rulings, delegations of authority, filing of petitions and applications and agency statements of organization and functions are examples of documents appearing in this section. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Notice of Meeting: Board for International Food and Agricultural Development Pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, notice is hereby given of the public meeting of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). The meeting will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 8, 2018, at the Madison A&B on the Mezzanine Level, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Rd. NW, Washington, DC. Participants may attend in person or join via livestream. The link to the global live stream as well as registration information can be found on BIFAD’s home page: http://www.usaid.gov/bifad. The central theme of this public meeting will be US Benefits Leveraged from Strategic Investments in Developing Country Agriculture and Food Security. Dr. Mark Keenum, BIFAD Chair, will preside over the public business meeting, which will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. ET with opening remarks. At this meeting the Board will address old and new business, and then invite Agricultural & Applied Economics Association members and other interested individuals to engage in a dialogue and provide feedback on a new study that is being commissioned by BIFAD and USAID. This study will conduct a metaanalysis of US benefits and capabilities that are leveraged from strategic investments in developing country agriculture and food security. Presenting at the meeting is Dr. Joseph Glauber, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), who is leading the study for BIFAD. Dr. Glauber served over 30 years at the US Department of Agriculture, including as Chief Economist from 2008 to 2014. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jul 18, 2018 Jkt 244001 Beginning at 11:15 a.m. ET, Chairman Keenum will moderate a half-hour public comment period. The public meeting will adjourn at 12:00 p.m. ET with Dr. Keenum’s closing remarks. Those wishing to attend the meeting or obtain additional information about BIFAD should contact Clara Cohen, Designated Federal Officer for BIFAD in the Bureau for Food Security at USAID. Interested persons may write to her in care of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Ronald Reagan Building, Bureau for Food Security, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20523–2110 or telephone her at (202) 712–0119. Clara Cohen, Designated Federal Officer, BIFAD, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development. [FR Doc. 2018–15413 Filed 7–18–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Farm Service Agency (FSA), on behalf of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), is announcing the availability of competitive grants to conduct a forest inventory analysis, forest management, and economic outcomes modelling, for certain currently enrolled Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. The analysis is focused on lands enrolled in CRP for at least 8 years and located in areas with a substantial concentration of acres enrolled under the following conservation practices devoted to multiple bottomland hardwood tree species: General tree planting, hardwood tree planting, vegetative cover on previously established tree stands, riparian buffers, bottomland timber establishments, and farmable and aquaculture wetlands. Qualified applicants must be non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, forestry, and wildlife habitats that have experience in conducting accurate forest SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 inventory analysis through the use of advanced, cost-effective technology, as determined by FSA. DATES: Application Deadline: August 15, 2018. ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted in the following method: Grants Portal: Go to www.grants.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting grants. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Iovanna, telephone (202) 720– 5291. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 743 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 115– 141) requires that the USDA enter into grant agreements for forest inventory analysis, and forest management, and economic outcomes modelling of certain CRP land. Under this authority, the CCC will make available not more than $1 million in grants to non-profit organizations. The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot will be administered under the general supervision of FSA on behalf of CCC, in accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR part 200. Description The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is focused on lands enrolled in CRP for at least 8 years and located in areas with a substantial concentration of acres enrolled under certain conservation practices devoted to multiple bottomland hardwood tree species, including conservation practices for general tree planting, hardwood tree planting, vegetative cover on previously established tree stands, riparian buffers, bottomland timber establishments, and farmable and aquaculture wetlands. Qualified applicants must be non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, forestry, and wildlife habitats that have experience in conducting accurate forest inventory analysis through the use of advanced, cost-effective technology. Comprehensive data analysis using advanced, cost-effective technology on land enrolled in CRP with certain bottomland hardwood practices is important for several reasons. Such data will provide the FSA CRP program manager with the information needed to more effectively manage enrollment. For example, the inventory may find that mortality of a selected species of tree is E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 34099 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 139 / Thursday, July 19, 2018 / Notices high in certain situations. As a result, the CRP program manager may adjust what tree species can be enrolled in CRP on a regional and site-specific basis. Economic modeling will provide information on the expected net returns to CRP enrollees, as well as an evaluation of taxpayer costs. In short, there is a need for data collection and analysis of bottomland hardwood conservation practices and economics. For more than 30 years under CRP, landowners have voluntarily enrolled tens of millions of farmland acres to conserve and improve soil, protect water quality, and provide wildlife habitat by establishing long-term cover, primarily grasses and trees. Landowners voluntarily enroll their lands for periods of between 10 and 15 years. CRP cost share funding is provided to landowners who install the prescribed conservation practices. These practices can be costly and require ample investment by the landowner and technical assistance provider to ensure that the practices are appropriate and properly installed. The adequacy of the conservation plan is paramount to achieving CRP enrollment goals, especially for bottomland hardwoods. Bottomland hardwoods are streamside forest trees—such as cottonwood, sycamore, oak, maple, ash, cypress, and tupelo—that typically grow on lands prone to flooding. Over the past 8 years, 46 States have enrolled land into CRP that is devoted to bottomland hardwood trees. Cumulative CRP bottomland hardwood tree enrollment, over the past 8 years, is just over 799,000 acres, with over 550,000 acres (69 percent) located in the States shown in Table 1. TABLE 1—TREE ENROLLMENT IN CRP BY STATE OVER THE PAST 8 YEARS; USDA MAY 31, 2018 Total CRP tree acres State sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Mississippi ............................................................................................... Arkansas .................................................................................................. Louisiana ................................................................................................. Alabama .................................................................................................. Illinois ....................................................................................................... Georgia .................................................................................................... North Carolina ......................................................................................... Minnesota ................................................................................................ The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is intended to provide information and analysis needed to better inform CRP decision making associated with the following bottomland hardwood conservation and stand maintenance practices: 1. CP03—Tree Planting; 2. CP03A—Hardwood Tree Planting; 3. CP11—Vegetative Cover—Trees Already Established; 1 4. CP22—Riparian Buffer; 5. CP31—Bottomland Timber Establishment; and 6. CP40—Farmable Wetland Program—Aquaculture Wetland. The inventory, analysis, and modeling must estimate, at a minimum, stand composition, stand density, basal area, and tree height using remotely sensed data (rather than data collected by visiting a site). The data will be used to generate statistically robust estimates of commercial value, economic returns, carbon sequestration, and wildlife and water quality impacts for each of the practices in at least one of the regions and states enumerated in Table 1. These estimates will identify species appropriate for bottomland CRP practices or sites, as well as forest management practices needed to maintain cover during the contract 1 The purpose of the CP11 practice is to maintain a stand of trees in a timber planting previously established on cropland as practice CP–3 or CP–3A to enhance environmental benefits. This CP11 practice was available only through a re-offer of expiring or expired CRP acres. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jul 18, 2018 Jkt 244001 Cumulative acres 204,870 79,341 75,087 58,035 47,824 35,212 26,942 24,346 period. An accurate assessment of the model output will be conducted using ground plots. Definitions The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act uses the term ‘‘nonprofit organizations.’’ Consistent with OMB Circular A–122, the term ‘‘nonprofit organization’’ means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization that: 1. Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; 2. Is not organized primarily for profit; and 3. Uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand its operations. The term ‘‘non-profit organization’’ excludes: 1. Colleges and universities, unless a 501(c)(3) has been established; 2. Hospitals; 3. State, local, and federallyrecognized Indian tribal governments; and 4. Those non-profit organizations that are excluded from coverage under paragraph 5 of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A–122. The term ‘‘economic outcomes modelling’’ as used in this NOFA, must include multiple dimensions, including, but not limited to, baseline return estimates to CRP participants (taking into account, among other items, commercial value), and returns under PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Acres of total percent 204,870 284,211 359,298 417,333 465,156 500,369 527,310 551,674 26 36 45 52 58 63 66 69 Region Southern Forest. Southern Forest. Southern Forest. Southeast Forest. Midwest Forest. Southeast Forest. Southeast Forest. Northern Forest. alternative scenarios that reflect management recommendations. Eligibility and Application Process Non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, forestry, and wildlife habitats, that have experience in conducting forest inventory analysis through the use of remote sensing data and technology are eligible to apply. Applicants must submit an application by August 15, 2018, through www.grants.gov. To find the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot in www.grants.gov, search on funding opportunity number USDA–FSA– CRPFIA–2018. Applications must include, but are not limited to, an executive summary, work plan, and budget information using Application for Federal Assistance (SF–424) form. (See www.grants.gov for more details about the specific application requirements.) Non-profit organizations may submit a combined cross-organization proposal to include work that will be coordinated across more than one organization, especially if a joint proposal creates synergies or increased efficiencies. The application may include one or more forest regions. The result of a successful application will be a one-time grant agreement. Successful applicants will be required to sign the grant agreement with FSA, which will include reporting and recordkeeping requirements. It is possible that not all of the $1 million E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1 34100 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 139 / Thursday, July 19, 2018 / Notices authorized by Congress for this pilot will be expended. All applications are subject to the approval of FSA, and FSA reserves the right to reject any and all applications. Application Selection Criteria FSA will evaluate applications using the evaluation criteria specified in this NOFA and on www.grants.gov to select the application(s) that best support the goals of CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot. A proposal must include the following information; this information will be used by FSA in the awarding of grants: 1. Amount of funding requested; 2. Amount of funding from other parties (with sufficient documentation) that provide additional leverage, if any; for example, specifying the regions, states, practices and plots where the proposal goes beyond minimal requirements (such as by considering CP–36, long-leaf pine); 3. Sampling approach to be used; 4. Remotely sensed data to be used, including its sources and its spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution; 5. Number and relevance of metrics to be estimated and the modeling approach to be used to estimate the metrics; 6. The accuracy assessment, including sampling approach and location of ground plots following the U.S. Forest Service’s Common Stand Examination protocols or those in the peer-reviewed literature; and 7. Work plan and timeline for completion by September 30, 2020. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Process for Evaluation and Application and Awards of Grants After applicants submit applications, FSA, on behalf of CCC, will screen each application to determine whether the applicant is eligible and whether the application is complete and sufficiently responsive to the requirements specified in this NOFA. Applicants may revise their applications and re-submit them prior to the published deadline if there is sufficient time to do so. FSA will appoint an inter-agency review panel to evaluate the applications. During the evaluation period, FSA may contact an applicant to seek clarification and modification of the proposal. The resulting CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot grant agreements will be between the non-profit organization(s) and FSA. Any non-profit organization that receives a grant must commit to fully expend the awarded federal funds by September 30, 2020, with an opportunity for extension upon approval by FSA. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:34 Jul 18, 2018 Jkt 244001 Responsibilities of the Participants Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement with FSA and provide detailed budget and schedule information. The agreement will require periodic achievement reports. The agreement will require the grantee to commit to do all of the following: 1. Perform inventory, analysis, modelling and validating, including conducting site visits and plot sampling, on the CRP enrolled acreage; and 2. Provide an accounting for the money received by the grantee. During the term of the grant, the grantee will be required to obtain prior approval for any changes to the scope, objectives, or funding allocation of the approved agreement. Failure to obtain prior approval of such changes may be considered a violation, and in such case the grantee may be required to return all grant funds, including any funds already expended, as determined appropriate by FSA. Grantees will be required to monitor funds and report on expenditures. The grantee must certify that the CCC funds will not be used to: 1. Duplicate existing inventories, analysis, or economic modelling efforts; however, grant funds may be used to expand the prior inventories, analysis, or economic modelling efforts; 2. Pay costs of preparing a CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot grant application; 3. Pay costs of the project incurred prior to the date of grant approval; 4. Fund political activities or lobbying efforts; 5. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States; 6. Pay for the repair of privately owned vehicles; 7. Pay for unrelated salaries, overhead, and expenses; or 8. Pay for unrelated research. Failure of the grantee to execute a grant agreement in a timely fashion, as determined by FSA, will be construed to be a withdrawal from the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot. In this event, FSA will demand a refund of the grant funds as deemed appropriate by FSA. Distribution of Grant Funds and Reimbursement of Unused Funds FSA expects to transfer CCC funds to the selected non-profit organization applicants before September 30, 2018. Environmental Review The environmental impacts of this NOFA have been considered in a manner consistent with the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321–4347), the regulations of the Council on PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), and the FSA regulations for compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part 799). The purpose of the grants for the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is to provide the CRP Program Manager with information to inform decision-making about the effectiveness of certain conservation practices on CRP land for bottomland hardwoods and are passive in nature and will not involve ground disturbance or tree removals or disturbance. The discretionary aspects of the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot include, but are not limited to, eligibility, how many grants to award, and how to evaluate submissions. As such, the Categorical Exclusions in 7 CFR 799.31 apply, specifically 7 CFR 799.31(b)(6)(vii) and (viii) (these two categorical exclusions include site characterization, environmental testing, and monitoring where no significant alteration of existing ambient conditions would occur; and, stand analysis for forest management planning, respectively). No ‘‘Extraordinary circumstances’’ (7 CFR 799.33) exist; as such, FSA has determined that this NOFA does not constitute a major Federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment, individually or cumulatively. Therefore, beyond this Environmental Review in this NOFA, FSA will not prepare any additional environmental documentation for this action. Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is exempt from the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), as amended, as specified in subsection 1601(c)(2)(B) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill, 16 U.S.C. 3846(b)), which provides that CRP, as a Title II program, be promulgated and administered without regard to the Paperwork Reduction Act. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance The title and number of the Federal assistance in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 10.122, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot. Richard Fordyce, Administrator, Farm Service Agency. [FR Doc. 2018–15349 Filed 7–18–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P E:\FR\FM\19JYN1.SGM 19JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 139 (Thursday, July 19, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 34098-34100]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-15349]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation


Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Conservation Reserve 
Program (CRP) Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture (USDA).

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Farm Service Agency (FSA), on behalf of Commodity Credit 
Corporation (CCC), is announcing the availability of competitive grants 
to conduct a forest inventory analysis, forest management, and economic 
outcomes modelling, for certain currently enrolled Conservation Reserve 
Program (CRP) land. The analysis is focused on lands enrolled in CRP 
for at least 8 years and located in areas with a substantial 
concentration of acres enrolled under the following conservation 
practices devoted to multiple bottomland hardwood tree species: General 
tree planting, hardwood tree planting, vegetative cover on previously 
established tree stands, riparian buffers, bottomland timber 
establishments, and farmable and aquaculture wetlands. Qualified 
applicants must be non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, 
forestry, and wildlife habitats that have experience in conducting 
accurate forest inventory analysis through the use of advanced, cost-
effective technology, as determined by FSA.

DATES: Application Deadline: August 15, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Applications must be submitted in the following method: 
Grants Portal: Go to www.grants.gov. Follow the online instructions for 
submitting grants.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Iovanna, telephone (202) 720-
5291.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 743 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (Pub. L. 
115-141) requires that the USDA enter into grant agreements for forest 
inventory analysis, and forest management, and economic outcomes 
modelling of certain CRP land. Under this authority, the CCC will make 
available not more than $1 million in grants to non-profit 
organizations. The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot will be 
administered under the general supervision of FSA on behalf of CCC, in 
accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR part 200.

Description

    The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is focused on lands 
enrolled in CRP for at least 8 years and located in areas with a 
substantial concentration of acres enrolled under certain conservation 
practices devoted to multiple bottomland hardwood tree species, 
including conservation practices for general tree planting, hardwood 
tree planting, vegetative cover on previously established tree stands, 
riparian buffers, bottomland timber establishments, and farmable and 
aquaculture wetlands. Qualified applicants must be non-profit 
organizations dedicated to conservation, forestry, and wildlife 
habitats that have experience in conducting accurate forest inventory 
analysis through the use of advanced, cost-effective technology.
    Comprehensive data analysis using advanced, cost-effective 
technology on land enrolled in CRP with certain bottomland hardwood 
practices is important for several reasons. Such data will provide the 
FSA CRP program manager with the information needed to more effectively 
manage enrollment. For example, the inventory may find that mortality 
of a selected species of tree is

[[Page 34099]]

high in certain situations. As a result, the CRP program manager may 
adjust what tree species can be enrolled in CRP on a regional and site-
specific basis. Economic modeling will provide information on the 
expected net returns to CRP enrollees, as well as an evaluation of 
taxpayer costs. In short, there is a need for data collection and 
analysis of bottomland hardwood conservation practices and economics.
    For more than 30 years under CRP, landowners have voluntarily 
enrolled tens of millions of farmland acres to conserve and improve 
soil, protect water quality, and provide wildlife habitat by 
establishing long-term cover, primarily grasses and trees. Landowners 
voluntarily enroll their lands for periods of between 10 and 15 years.
    CRP cost share funding is provided to landowners who install the 
prescribed conservation practices. These practices can be costly and 
require ample investment by the landowner and technical assistance 
provider to ensure that the practices are appropriate and properly 
installed. The adequacy of the conservation plan is paramount to 
achieving CRP enrollment goals, especially for bottomland hardwoods.
    Bottomland hardwoods are streamside forest trees--such as 
cottonwood, sycamore, oak, maple, ash, cypress, and tupelo--that 
typically grow on lands prone to flooding. Over the past 8 years, 46 
States have enrolled land into CRP that is devoted to bottomland 
hardwood trees. Cumulative CRP bottomland hardwood tree enrollment, 
over the past 8 years, is just over 799,000 acres, with over 550,000 
acres (69 percent) located in the States shown in Table 1.

                Table 1--Tree Enrollment in CRP by State Over the Past 8 Years; USDA May 31, 2018
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Total CRP tree    Cumulative    Acres of total
              State                     acres           acres          percent                 Region
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mississippi......................         204,870         204,870              26  Southern Forest.
Arkansas.........................          79,341         284,211              36  Southern Forest.
Louisiana........................          75,087         359,298              45  Southern Forest.
Alabama..........................          58,035         417,333              52  Southeast Forest.
Illinois.........................          47,824         465,156              58  Midwest Forest.
Georgia..........................          35,212         500,369              63  Southeast Forest.
North Carolina...................          26,942         527,310              66  Southeast Forest.
Minnesota........................          24,346         551,674              69  Northern Forest.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is intended to provide 
information and analysis needed to better inform CRP decision making 
associated with the following bottomland hardwood conservation and 
stand maintenance practices:
    1. CP03--Tree Planting;
    2. CP03A--Hardwood Tree Planting;
    3. CP11--Vegetative Cover--Trees Already Established; \1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The purpose of the CP11 practice is to maintain a stand of 
trees in a timber planting previously established on cropland as 
practice CP-3 or CP-3A to enhance environmental benefits. This CP11 
practice was available only through a re-offer of expiring or 
expired CRP acres.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    4. CP22--Riparian Buffer;
    5. CP31--Bottomland Timber Establishment; and
    6. CP40--Farmable Wetland Program--Aquaculture Wetland.
    The inventory, analysis, and modeling must estimate, at a minimum, 
stand composition, stand density, basal area, and tree height using 
remotely sensed data (rather than data collected by visiting a site). 
The data will be used to generate statistically robust estimates of 
commercial value, economic returns, carbon sequestration, and wildlife 
and water quality impacts for each of the practices in at least one of 
the regions and states enumerated in Table 1. These estimates will 
identify species appropriate for bottomland CRP practices or sites, as 
well as forest management practices needed to maintain cover during the 
contract period. An accurate assessment of the model output will be 
conducted using ground plots.

Definitions

    The 2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act uses the term ``non-profit 
organizations.'' Consistent with OMB Circular A-122, the term ``non-
profit organization'' means any corporation, trust, association, 
cooperative, or other organization that:
    1. Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, 
charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest;
    2. Is not organized primarily for profit; and
    3. Uses its net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand its 
operations.
    The term ``non-profit organization'' excludes:
    1. Colleges and universities, unless a 501(c)(3) has been 
established;
    2. Hospitals;
    3. State, local, and federally-recognized Indian tribal 
governments; and
    4. Those non-profit organizations that are excluded from coverage 
under paragraph 5 of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-
122.
    The term ``economic outcomes modelling'' as used in this NOFA, must 
include multiple dimensions, including, but not limited to, baseline 
return estimates to CRP participants (taking into account, among other 
items, commercial value), and returns under alternative scenarios that 
reflect management recommendations.

Eligibility and Application Process

    Non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation, forestry, and 
wildlife habitats, that have experience in conducting forest inventory 
analysis through the use of remote sensing data and technology are 
eligible to apply. Applicants must submit an application by August 15, 
2018, through www.grants.gov. To find the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis 
Pilot in www.grants.gov, search on funding opportunity number USDA-FSA-
CRPFIA-2018. Applications must include, but are not limited to, an 
executive summary, work plan, and budget information using Application 
for Federal Assistance (SF-424) form. (See www.grants.gov for more 
details about the specific application requirements.)
    Non-profit organizations may submit a combined cross-organization 
proposal to include work that will be coordinated across more than one 
organization, especially if a joint proposal creates synergies or 
increased efficiencies. The application may include one or more forest 
regions.
    The result of a successful application will be a one-time grant 
agreement. Successful applicants will be required to sign the grant 
agreement with FSA, which will include reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements. It is possible that not all of the $1 million

[[Page 34100]]

authorized by Congress for this pilot will be expended. All 
applications are subject to the approval of FSA, and FSA reserves the 
right to reject any and all applications.

Application Selection Criteria

    FSA will evaluate applications using the evaluation criteria 
specified in this NOFA and on www.grants.gov to select the 
application(s) that best support the goals of CRP Forest Inventory 
Analysis Pilot. A proposal must include the following information; this 
information will be used by FSA in the awarding of grants:
    1. Amount of funding requested;
    2. Amount of funding from other parties (with sufficient 
documentation) that provide additional leverage, if any; for example, 
specifying the regions, states, practices and plots where the proposal 
goes beyond minimal requirements (such as by considering CP-36, long-
leaf pine);
    3. Sampling approach to be used;
    4. Remotely sensed data to be used, including its sources and its 
spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution;
    5. Number and relevance of metrics to be estimated and the modeling 
approach to be used to estimate the metrics;
    6. The accuracy assessment, including sampling approach and 
location of ground plots following the U.S. Forest Service's Common 
Stand Examination protocols or those in the peer-reviewed literature; 
and
    7. Work plan and timeline for completion by September 30, 2020.

Process for Evaluation and Application and Awards of Grants

    After applicants submit applications, FSA, on behalf of CCC, will 
screen each application to determine whether the applicant is eligible 
and whether the application is complete and sufficiently responsive to 
the requirements specified in this NOFA. Applicants may revise their 
applications and re-submit them prior to the published deadline if 
there is sufficient time to do so. FSA will appoint an inter-agency 
review panel to evaluate the applications. During the evaluation 
period, FSA may contact an applicant to seek clarification and 
modification of the proposal. The resulting CRP Forest Inventory 
Analysis Pilot grant agreements will be between the non-profit 
organization(s) and FSA.
    Any non-profit organization that receives a grant must commit to 
fully expend the awarded federal funds by September 30, 2020, with an 
opportunity for extension upon approval by FSA.

Responsibilities of the Participants

    Successful applicants will be required to sign an agreement with 
FSA and provide detailed budget and schedule information. The agreement 
will require periodic achievement reports. The agreement will require 
the grantee to commit to do all of the following:
    1. Perform inventory, analysis, modelling and validating, including 
conducting site visits and plot sampling, on the CRP enrolled acreage; 
and
    2. Provide an accounting for the money received by the grantee.
    During the term of the grant, the grantee will be required to 
obtain prior approval for any changes to the scope, objectives, or 
funding allocation of the approved agreement. Failure to obtain prior 
approval of such changes may be considered a violation, and in such 
case the grantee may be required to return all grant funds, including 
any funds already expended, as determined appropriate by FSA. Grantees 
will be required to monitor funds and report on expenditures. The 
grantee must certify that the CCC funds will not be used to:
    1. Duplicate existing inventories, analysis, or economic modelling 
efforts; however, grant funds may be used to expand the prior 
inventories, analysis, or economic modelling efforts;
    2. Pay costs of preparing a CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot 
grant application;
    3. Pay costs of the project incurred prior to the date of grant 
approval;
    4. Fund political activities or lobbying efforts;
    5. Pay any judgment or debt owed to the United States;
    6. Pay for the repair of privately owned vehicles;
    7. Pay for unrelated salaries, overhead, and expenses; or
    8. Pay for unrelated research.
    Failure of the grantee to execute a grant agreement in a timely 
fashion, as determined by FSA, will be construed to be a withdrawal 
from the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot. In this event, FSA will 
demand a refund of the grant funds as deemed appropriate by FSA.

Distribution of Grant Funds and Reimbursement of Unused Funds

    FSA expects to transfer CCC funds to the selected non-profit 
organization applicants before September 30, 2018.

Environmental Review

    The environmental impacts of this NOFA have been considered in a 
manner consistent with the provisions of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), the regulations of the Council 
on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500 through 1508), and the FSA 
regulations for compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part 799).
    The purpose of the grants for the CRP Forest Inventory Analysis 
Pilot is to provide the CRP Program Manager with information to inform 
decision-making about the effectiveness of certain conservation 
practices on CRP land for bottomland hardwoods and are passive in 
nature and will not involve ground disturbance or tree removals or 
disturbance. The discretionary aspects of the CRP Forest Inventory 
Analysis Pilot include, but are not limited to, eligibility, how many 
grants to award, and how to evaluate submissions. As such, the 
Categorical Exclusions in 7 CFR 799.31 apply, specifically 7 CFR 
799.31(b)(6)(vii) and (viii) (these two categorical exclusions include 
site characterization, environmental testing, and monitoring where no 
significant alteration of existing ambient conditions would occur; and, 
stand analysis for forest management planning, respectively). No 
``Extraordinary circumstances'' (7 CFR 799.33) exist; as such, FSA has 
determined that this NOFA does not constitute a major Federal action 
that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment, 
individually or cumulatively. Therefore, beyond this Environmental 
Review in this NOFA, FSA will not prepare any additional environmental 
documentation for this action.

Paperwork Reduction Act Requirements

    The CRP Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot is exempt from the 
requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), as 
amended, as specified in subsection 1601(c)(2)(B) of the Agricultural 
Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill, 16 U.S.C. 3846(b)), which provides 
that CRP, as a Title II program, be promulgated and administered 
without regard to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

    The title and number of the Federal assistance in the Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance to which this NOFA applies is 10.122, the 
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Forest Inventory Analysis Pilot.

Richard Fordyce,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency.
[FR Doc. 2018-15349 Filed 7-18-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P