The Agricultural Water Quality Grant Program (Program) will be for the reduction of pollutants from agricultural operations into surface waters. It will continue funding programs from Propositions 40 and 50. The Program is to be administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board). Grants will be given to public agencies and non-profit organizations. Six million dollars in local assistance has been requested in the 2007/08 Governor’s budget. It is expected that a competitive solicitation will be developed after a noticed public workshop. Once comments are received, considered, and responded to, the solicitation will be proposed for adoption at a noticed public State Water Board meeting. It is expected that the State Water Board will continue to focus these funds on solutions to polluted (impaired) water bodies. An electronic mailing list has been established for those interested in the development of the solicitation and priorities.
This program is consistent with both Goals 2 and 6 of the State Water Board’s Strategic Plan adopted in November 2001. This Strategic Plan is expected to be updated in 2007; no changes in the goals are expected.
Projects selected for funding under the Agriculture Water Quality Grants program are required to spend grant funds according to the approved project scope and budget. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) requires progress reports (no less than quarterly) for all projects and conducts site visits during construction for each development project. Payment requests must include a certification by the grantee that each expense complies with requirements outlined in the grant agreement. Grantees must also submit supporting documentation for each expense, with reimbursements approved only for eligible expenses pursuant to program guidelines and contained within the approved project budget. Match funds must also be documented and comply with program guidelines and the approved budget. The State Water Board also withholds up to ten percent of each payment request to be released upon project completion.
An annual project accounting report is prepared and presented to the DOF. The DOF also performs audits on select projects. The State Water Board maintains a public-accessible website listing all current projects by program, the funding source and timeframe for completion. The Agriculture Water Quality Grants program will be included in this current project accounting procedure.
All projects funded via the Agriculture Water Quality Grant Program receive a close-out site visit conducted by staff of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) or Regional Water Quality Control Board when the project is complete. The purpose of the close-out site visit is to ensure all project components were completed according to program guidelines and the terms of the grant agreement, including project scope and budget. Grantees must submit a final report, which documents the outcomes of the project and summarizes all project data and expenditures. The State Water Board is enhancing its website to post project final reports. All grantees must comply with all current laws and regulations that apply to the project and submit documents summarizing total project costs and all additional funding sources.