Working Lands and Riparian Corridors: Application Q&A

Q:  May land trust capacity funds be used to develop matching fund applications for projects already submitted to existing Department programs?

A:  No, land trust capacity funds are intended to assist land trusts in the development of projects that do not yet have implementation funding secured. Projects that are in development or have not submitted an application are eligible.

Q:  Could a land trust submit a project development grant to pursue as-yet-unidentified opportunities with a partnership organization that works to purchase small plots for new farmers?

A:  Yes, a project could meet the eligibility requirements for project development even though it does not specify specific properties or opportunities in the application, as long as it results in specific, funding-ready agricultural land conservation projects providing climate adaption or resilience benefits to the state.  

Q:  Where can I find the template grant agreement?

A:  The template grant agreement can be found beginning on page 22 of the final solicitation notice. 

Q:  Where can I find a board authorization resolution template?

A:  No sample resolution is available at this time. The applicant's board authorization resolution must do the following:

  • Authorize submittal of the grant application for a Working Lands and Riparian Corridors Land Trust Capacity Strategic Planning and/or Project Development grant
  • Certify that the applicant understands the assurances and certification in the application
  • Authorize entrance into a grant agreement with the Department of Conservation (Department) for the project, and accept the template terms and conditions, if the project is awarded funding
  • Authorize a designated individual to, as agent, accept the award of grant funding and to execute tasks such as signing documents related to the application, grant agreement, payment requests, etc. if the project is awarded funding

Q:  If applying for a Land Trust Capacity Planning/Strategic grant of $10,000 and a Project Development grant of $75,000, do I submit one combined application or two separate applications?

A:  One application should be submitted. Each project type should be discussed in the narrative, and a separate work plan and budget should be provided for each.

Q:  Can Proposition 68 acquisition dollars be used as match for other acquisition programs administered by the Department?

A. Yes, Proposition 68 acquisition dollars may be used as match for other acquisition programs administered by the Department.

Q: Can Proposition 68 local and regional planning dollars be used as match for other planning programs administered by the Department?

A. Yes, Proposition 68 local and regional planning dollars may be used as match for other planning programs administered by the Department.

Q:  How do I determine if a Project Development or Planning grant serves a disadvantaged community?

A:  There is a three-step analysis to determine whether a project serves a severely disadvantaged community: 

  1. Identify the severely disadvantaged community. What is a "severely disadvantaged community"?
    1. A severely disadvantaged community is a "community with a median household income less than 60 percent of the statewide average."  (Public Resources Code 80002(n).) There are several tools for helping to identify these communities, including California Air Resources Board's CalEnviroscreen and State Parks and Recreation's Community FactFinder. 
    2. The question in this step is whether the County Health Assessment's definition of "disadvantaged" matches the bond's definition of "disadvantaged."
  2. Does the proposed project serve that community? The solicitation notice indicates that "applicants should identify strategies to address the needs of severely disadvantaged communities and/or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and increase their participation in proposed agricultural land conservation efforts".
    1. Identify the community needs
    2. Identify how the proposed project meets the needs
  3. Provide evidence that the community supports the project and believes that the project will meet the identified need.

Q: Would non-agricultural timber lands qualify for funding under Land Trust Capacity and Project Development?

A: No, those lands would not be eligible.

Q: For a Local and Regional Planning grant, can the Board of Directors Resolution of Support be submitted after the application?

A: Yes, as long as the application provides a date for when the Board of Directors will provide the Resolution of Support.

Q: For a Local and Regional Planning project, the Executive Director has board-delegated authority to submit grant applications. Is this sufficient?

A: Yes.

Q: Would a project to restore fallowed agricultural land to its natural state qualify for a Project Development grant?

A: No. Projects should be focused on lands that are, or are capable of being, in active agricultural production.

Q: Would a Local and Regional Planning grant pay for an entire climate action plan, or just the portion related to natural and working lands?

A: The grant would pay up to $200,000 for the development of the natural and working lands component of the climate action plan.  

Q: Are tribes eligible under the general plan project type?

A: No, although planning activities conducted by tribes would qualify under the special plan project type.

Q: If awarded funding for a Local and Regional Planning grant, would we need to start right away or could we delay our notice to proceed? For example, could we work from Summer 2020 to Summer 2021? We would likely have better data for TerraCount by Summer 2021.

A: That should not be a problem. Please make the schedule clear in the application. The Department would still seek to enter into a grant agreement as soon as possible even with a later schedule, and extend the grant term to two years instead of one year as described in the guidelines.

This is to ensure that we meet bond funding rules about encumbering funds the legislature makes available.

Our grant agreements do not require a notice to proceed.  Once we make awards we will work to enter into grant agreement. Performing the grant work is dependent on the applicant's schedule. Our current schedule has grant awards announced September 5 and grant agreements being sent to grantees for review on September 26 with an effective date of November 27. Postponing the start of work until Summer 2020 is not materially different.

Q: How much did it cost to complete the TerraCount pilot project in Merced (less the cost of writing up the Resilient Merced document)? How long did it take to complete the TerraCount pilot project in Merced (inclusive of data gathering)?

A: Costs and time for Merced are difficult to separate from the effort to develop the tool. The Department estimates the effort for a new jurisdiction to complete a minimum set of activities (or activities similar to ones already developed) and a limited set of co-benefits using unmodified statewide data is six months and $100,000. Costs could be up to $250,000 for a different set of activities and co-benefits.

Q: Does the TerraCount tool calculate the GHG emissions/ sequestration of the various land use types? Are these calculations built into TerraCount, and for what land cover types?

A: Yes, it calculates GHG emissions/sequestration for the main land-use types by management activity, as listed in the document. You may have to dig into the tables to get them, but it is there. The calculations are built in.

Q: Does the TerraCount tool calculate the value of the co-benefits once the appropriate data sources are added?

A: Yes, given the required inputs it reports on the benefits. The method of reporting varies slightly from benefit to benefit.

Q: Would a land trust be eligible for a Local and Regional Planning grant to do conservation planning?

A: No, but a land trust would be eligible to do strategic planning under the Land Trust Capacity and Project Development solicitation.

Q: The Solicitation Notice and Application for the Land Trust Capacity and Project Development grants states that direct and indirect costs up to 10% of the grant are eligible.  However, Appendix B Grant Agreement Template, Exhibit B Section 5 Cost Principles, Paragraph C states that "only direct staff costs and indirect costs totaling no more than 20% of the total grant award are eligible for reimbursement". Does the 10% cap apply to both direct and indirect costs?

A: The cap on indirect costs is 10%. A revised grant agreement correcting the cap to 10% has been posted. Direct costs are eligible in accordance with the Guidelines and Solicitation Notice.