Chesapeake Gateways Networks Grants FAQs

Through the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network (Chesapeake Gateways), the Chesapeake Office of the National Park Service (NPS Chesapeake) is proud to announce a new competitive grant opportunity to advance the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 within the full 41-million-acre Chesapeake Bay watershed.

NPS Chesapeake is advancing a bold new strategy to strengthen the Chesapeake Gateways network; gather and share the full diversity of Chesapeake stories; expand land conservation; provide equitable access to recreation, history and nature; support local and working economies at a community level; and engage an inclusive and deep Chesapeake stewardship and resiliency movement benefitting all.

 
 

Background

 

Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network (Chesapeake Gateways) is a system of places providing opportunities to enjoy, learn about and help conserve the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Included in the Network are diverse natural, cultural, historical and recreational sites, trails, museums, parks, refuges, interpretive and orientation facilities and associated programmatic partners. These places and the Network as a whole, serve as entry points and the key guide for experiencing the Chesapeake watershed. 

Chesapeake Gateways is coordinated by the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office (NPS Chesapeake). Visit www.FindYourChesapeake.com for a complete guide to the current network sites. This is not a complete list and NPS Chesapeake hopes to grow the Network through these grants. 

The Chesapeake Bay Initiative is Title V of the Migratory Bird Reform Act of 1998. 

TITLE V—CHESAPEAKE BAY INITIATIVE 

SEC. 501. SHORT TITLE. 

This title may be cited as the ‘‘Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998’’. 

SEC. 502. CHESAPEAKE BAY GATEWAYS AND WATERTRAILS. 

(a) CHESAPEAKE BAY GATEWAYS AND WATERTRAILS NETWORK.— 

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of the Interior (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Secretary’’), in cooperation with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (referred to in this section as the ‘‘Administrator’’), shall provide technical and financial assistance, in cooperation with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector— 

(A) to identify, conserve, restore, and interpret natural, recreational, historical, and cultural resources within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; 

(B) to identify and utilize the collective resources as Chesapeake Bay Gateways sites for enhancing public education of and access to the Chesapeake Bay; 

(C) to link the Chesapeake Bay Gateways sites with trails, tour roads, scenic byways, and other connections as determined by the Secretary; 

(D) to develop and establish Chesapeake Bay Watertrails comprising water routes and connections to Chesapeake Bay Gateways sites and other land resources within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; and 

(E) to create a network of Chesapeake Bay Gateways sites and Chesapeake Bay Watertrails.

The new NPS Chesapeake Gateways Strategic Plan 2021-2026 was developed with network partners and includes four strategic themes that frame the work of the program for the next five years: 

  • Theme 1: Rebuild Core Network Capabilities and Services 

  • Theme 2: Advance a Major Inclusive Interpretive Initiative with an Equity Lens 

  • Theme 3. Promote Resilient Communities & Landscapes Through Tourism, Sustainability, Conservation & Local Economies 

  • Theme 4 Develop Gateway Communities as Strategic Focal Points 

This grant opportunity is focused on funding projects and programs related to Themes 2 and 3. 

With more than 18 million people now living in the watershed, it is ever more apparent that regional, local, and individual actions influence every aspect of the Bay, its rivers, climate, the landscape, and our communities. Ecological health, human health, economic vigor, equity, access and quality of life are interdependent. NPS Chesapeake seeks to put people at the center of all our work. 

In response to this, the new Chesapeake Gateways grants are focused on equity, inclusion, accessibility, and engagement to meet community and partner needs, advance the new Chesapeake Gateways Strategic Plan, and align with Executive Order 13895, which states: 

“By advancing equity across the Federal Government, we can create opportunities for the improvement of communities that have been historically underserved, which benefits everyone.”

 

Award Information

 

Approximately $1,000,000 in total funding is available to award as grants. 

The amount of funding available per award will be determined as part of the application review process based on applications received and funding made available through appropriations.

An estimated range of $25,000 to $150,000 of funding is anticipated for each award. While everyone may benefit from $150,000 grant, larger grants will be fewer and more competitive. 

Grants will be awarded in two levels: 

  • $25K-$50K (~ 10-12 grants expected) 

  • $51K-$150K (~ 3-4 grants expected) 

Proposals may include more than one action or activity, but the maximum award for any proposal is $150,000. 

The NPS Chesapeake Office seeks to make this effort as accessible as possible to all eligible applicants. There are no cost share or match requirements for these grants as authorized under Section 502(a) of The Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998

The deadline for application is 11:59pm on January 30, 2023. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered. 

Agreement terms for periods of performance for funded projects may range between one to two years, depending on the complexity and negotiated project statement of work. Agreements are not effective until fully executed with signature from the NPS Financial Assistance Awarding Officer.   

Notification of awards is expected in Spring of 2023. Awards are anticipated in Summer of 2023 with periods of performance starting in late summer. 

Upon being selected for the award, successful applicants will receive a notification of the selection of their application for funding. NPS estimates it will notify the applicant selected for award by Spring 2023. A notice of selection is not an authorization to begin performance on an agreement.  This notice will detail the next steps in the awarding process. Once all clearances and reviews have been conducted, a grant agreement will be sent for signature.  

Work cannot begin before the non-Federal entity receives a fully executed copy of the grant agreement which contains the signature of the Financial Assistance Awarding Officer. Any pre-award costs incurred prior to the receipt of a signed agreement or written notice signed by a Financial Assistance Awarding Officer authorizing pre-award costs, is at the applicant’s own risk.  A signed grant agreement signed by a Financial Assistance Awarding Officer is the only authorizing document to begin performance.  

Organizations whose applications have not been selected will be advised as promptly as possible.

 

Grant Priorities

 

Through these grants, NPS Chesapeake Gateways will support diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and community engagement across two strategic themes:  

  • Advance a Major Inclusive Interpretive Initiative with an Equity Lens 

  • Promote Resilient Communities & Landscapes Through Tourism, Sustainability, Conservation & Local Economies 

Samples of associated actions and initiatives are provided as impact examples. 

Theme 2: Advance a Major Inclusive Interpretive Initiative with an Equity Lens 
Chesapeake Gateways bring out more complete narratives of our storied landscape. The Chesapeake Watershed is rich with heritage, from the natural resources to the diverse peoples who have lived here through time— from pre-colonial history to today. Some stories are familiar, some untold or under-appreciated, and some are yet to be uncovered. Together, we will: 

  1. ENGAGE underrepresented places 

  1. HELP tell underrepresented and full stories 

  1. FACILITATE galvanizing conservation and quality-of-life messaging 

  1. STRENGTHEN the ladder of engagement 

Sample Actions and Initiatives 

  • Develop meaningful relationships and engagement with underrepresented places and communities to listen, learn, and understand how the Chesapeake Gateways network can support community interests and needs, and help tell important stories. 

  • Research and document sites, landscapes, cultures, and stories important to Black, Latino, Native American, Asian-American, and other underrepresented communities across the Chesapeake watershed. 

  • Facilitate and support Chesapeake Gateways to assess and more fully understand their diverse communities and audiences and their needs and interests. 

  • Identify, recruit, and develop Chesapeake Gateways sites and partners that can present underrepresented stories. 

  • Develop inclusive interpretation, programming, and experiences for underrepresented communities that includes key interpretive themes of the Chesapeake Gateways network defined in the strategic plan. 

  • Link culture and nature through interpretation, education, messaging, and initiatives. Clearly combine cultural traditions and history with contemporary resource challenges, ecological sustainability, and resilience initiatives to convey a stewardship ethic. 

  • Build ladders of youth engagement—from youth programs to internships to careers—to transform our collective workforce to reflect our communities’ demographics. 

Theme 3: Promote Resilient Communities & Landscapes Through Tourism, Sustainability, Conservation & Local Economies 
Chesapeake Gateways recognize the Watershed’s heritage is a living history played out over a large landscape. Sustaining livelihoods while conserving resources is a core component of our work. Farming, fishing, heritage tourism, and access to nature are all things that make the Chesapeake special, and we must support them. Together, we will: 

  1. PROMOTE and MARKET the Chesapeake Watershed experience 

  1. PROMOTE a stewardship ethic 

  1. FACILITATE collaboration for landscape and community conservation 

  1. ADVANCE equitable access to the outdoors 

  1. GROW landscape, heritage-based, sustainable economies 

Sample Actions and Initiatives 

  • Make public lands and open spaces more welcoming and accessible to diverse communities. Share and advance standards for equitable access to parks, green space, water, etc. Expand access to green spaces in communities where they are needed. 

  • Develop and encourage new and enhanced opportunities to connect with underrepresented communities through inclusive and welcoming events, festivals, places, and programming. 

  • Deploy inclusive volunteer programs and campaigns to engage new audiences in Chesapeake stewardship. 

  • Advance watershed-wide land conservation and public access collaboration through projects and programs that support the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. 

  • Link Chesapeake Gateways and nature-based and cultural tourism of Gateways with economic initiatives for local resilience and community sustainability, especially tied with sectors closely linked with Chesapeake heritage, such as crafts, working lands and maritime activities.

Through these grants, NPS Chesapeake seeks to advance innovation in equity, inclusion, accessibility and engagement by Chesapeake Gateway network partners and communities. Each proposal must address at least one Chesapeake Gateways strategic theme. 

Successful proposals will also: 

  1. Elevate the scope or audience of an existing program,  

  1. Expand inclusive programming to address barriers to stakeholder engagement, and or 

  1. “Kick off” a new effort, strategy, or innovative design. 

The review committee will evaluate and consider how well each proposal addresses the following criteria. Each criterion will be rated on a scale of 0 to 10 with its own weighting factor. To be competitive, the project narrative should provide detailed information related to each criterion described below: 

Connection to Chesapeake Gateways Strategic Themes (25%) 
Chesapeake Gateways is about treasured resources and important stories, and about the people of the Chesapeake watershed, in all their splendid diversity. The Chesapeake Gateways Strategic Plan is structured into four strategic themes, representing a collective aspiration for near- and long-term impact across the watershed. 

The reviewers will evaluate how successfully projects connect to one or more of the two target strategic themes: Advance a Major Inclusive Interpretive Initiative with an Equity Lens and Promote Resilient Communities & Landscapes Through Tourism, Sustainability, Conservation & Local Economies 

Connection to Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, & Engagement Objectives (25%) 
Chesapeake Gateways is a network of people, places, programs, and stories providing opportunities to enjoy, learn about, and help conserve the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Included in the network are assorted natural, cultural, historical, and recreational sites, trails, museums, parks, refuges, and interpretive and orientation facilities. The NPS Chesapeake strategic plan stems from a recognition that the benefits of the watershed have not been equally shared by all people or all communities. 

The reviewers will evaluate how well the proposal addresses equity, inclusion, accessibility, and engagement objectives. Does the project build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities to address community identified needs? How is the intended audience engaged in the project? 

Innovation in Project Intent (20%) 
The vision for Chesapeake Gateways is a network that welcomes people to the Chesapeake watershed’s outstanding benefits and provides inclusive experiences that inspire a robust stewardship ethic. Innovative research, planning, programming, and projects in equitable public access, conservation, community engagement, education, and recreation are critical parts of the work to restore and protect the nation’s largest and most productive estuary. Innovations will be essential to expand storytelling to be inclusive of untold stories or under told stories. Innovation in community engagement will be essential to include all communities in project planning and implementation. 

The reviewers will evaluate how innovative the proposed project is at addressing the chosen theme(s) and intended impact. 

Clarity of Project’s Operational Plan (15%) 
Projects need to have well defined objectives, activities, costs, deliverables, and expected outcomes. A well-crafted budget and project narrative of your scope of work must clearly convey to reviewers your intent and your plan for accomplishing your objectives. Uncertainty about your fiscal and operational approach will undermine your proposal. 

The reviewers will evaluate how effectively the budget and project narrative convey the intent of the project. 

Team’s Capacity to Implement Project (15%)
Chesapeake Gateways depends on a network of people and partners to conserve and steward the special places in the watershed important to communities, visitors, and the nation, for this and future generations. Success of each project will depend on the capacity of each proposing organization and the team of volunteers, staff, partners and/or consultants assembled to plan and implement the project. 

The reviewers will evaluate whether each proposing organization has envisioned and assembled a team with the necessary skills to accomplish the project. Does the project team have the relevant subject matter expertise and experience? How well does the applicant demonstrate the ability to meet administrative and technical grant requirements? 

How will proposals be reviewed? 

After a staff review for eligibility and application compliance, a review panel of NPS personnel and outside technical experts will review all proposals. All proposals for funding will be considered using the criteria outlined above.  A summary of the review panel comments may be provided to the applicant if requested. 

a. Initial Review 
Prior to conducting the comprehensive merit review, an initial review will be performed to determine whether: (1) the applicant is eligible for an award; (2) the information required by the NOFO has been submitted; (3) all mandatory requirements of the NOFO are satisfied; and (4) the proposed project is responsive to the strategic themes of the NOFO.  If an applicant fails to meet the requirements or objectives of the NOFO, or does not provide sufficient information for review, the applicant will be eliminated from further review. 

b. Comprehensive Merit Review 
All applications that satisfactorily pass the initial review will be eligible for the Comprehensive Merit Review. Each criterion will be rated on a 0-10 point scale multiplied against their specific weighting factor: 

c. Selection 
Merit review recommendations will be forwarded to NPS Chesapeake Superintendent for review and consideration. The NPS Superintendent may also consider geographic distribution within the Chesapeake watershed, diversity of awardees, thematic distribution, and the amount of funds available to make final recommendations of the applications to be forwarded for funding. The final recommendations will be forwarded to the NPS Financial Assistance Selection Official for final selection.  

d. Discussions and Award 
The Government may enter into discussions with a selected applicant for any reason deemed necessary, including, but not limited to: (1) only a portion of the application is selected for award; (2) the Government needs additional information to determine that the applicant is capable of complying with the requirements of DOI Financial Assistance Regulations, and/or (3) additional specific terms and conditions are required.  Failure to satisfactorily resolve the issues identified by the Government may preclude award to the applicant.

 

Eligibility

 

This grant opportunity includes a broad list of eligible entities: 

Eligible Applicants 

00 – State governments 
01 – County governments 
02 – City or township governments 
04 – Special district governments 
05 – Independent school districts 
06 – Public and State controlled institutions of higher education 
07 – Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized) 
08 – Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities 
11 – Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments) 
12 – Nonprofits having a 501 (c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education 
13 – Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education 
20 – Private institutions of higher education 
22 – For profit organization other than small businesses 
23 – Small businesses 

Programs, projects, and non-federal entities that have received financial assistance from the NPS Chesapeake office in the past are still eligible to apply for funding through this notice. 

PLEASE NOTE: While applicants can be from outside the Chesapeake watershed, only projects that take place in the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. 

Nonprofit applicants of any type should provide documentation on how you are legally organized and confirms your nonprofit IRS tax status.

Applicants from outside the Chesapeake watershed may apply, but only projects and programs conducted within the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. To find out if your proposed project is inside the watershed, compare your location to the list of Chesapeake Bay Watershed Counties

Projects and programs do not have to involve the Captain John Smith Trail, or any other national park unit. However, projects can be done in partnership with national parks or trails in the Chesapeake watershed, but the proposal must be submitted by the partner. 

Projects and programs do not have to involve a national park unit. However, projects can be done in partnership with national parks or trails in the Chesapeake watershed, but the proposal must be submitted by the partner and must not be for the direct benefit of the Federal agency.

Only projects and programs conducted within the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. All projects must convey a public benefit. To find out if your proposed project is inside the watershed, compare your location to the list of Chesapeake Bay Counties

Neither national parks nor national park programs are not eligible to apply. Federal agencies of any type are not eligible to apply. However, partners of federal agencies, including national park partners, are eligible but the proposal must be submitted by the partner, occur within the watershed and must not be for the direct benefit of the Federal agency. 

Yes, private sector entities are eligible to apply. All projects must convey a public benefit. While the applicant may be located outside the watershed, only projects and programs conducted within the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. To find out if your proposed project is inside the watershed, compare your location to the list of Chesapeake Bay Counties

Yes, colleges and universities are eligible to apply. All projects must convey a public benefit. While the applicant may be located outside the watershed, only projects and programs conducted within the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. To find out if your proposed project is inside the watershed, compare your location to the list of Chesapeake Bay Counties

Yes, federally and state recognized tribes are eligible to apply. All projects must convey a public benefit. While the applicant may be located outside the watershed, only projects and programs conducted within the watershed will be considered. Projects that take place outside the watershed will not be considered. To find out if your proposed project is inside the watershed, compare your location to the list of Chesapeake Bay Counties

Any eligible entity may submit a grant application. Status of current cooperative agreement work is not a consideration in the review process. 

Any eligible entity may submit a grant application. Status of a current or past master cooperative agreement is not a consideration in the review process. 

 

Project-Specific Questions

 

If you have old Chesapeake Gateways signs at your site, you do not need to submit a proposal to replace them under the current grant. In 2023, NPS Chesapeake Gateways is planning to begin a separate dedicated process related to identifying and updating the old Chesapeake Gateway signs across the network.  As you can imagine, this may take us some time due to the large number of signs across the watershed.   

To help us get started, please send a note to e-mail us with status and needs related to old Chesapeake Gateway signage.  

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide one-on-one advising on project ideas. If you are an eligible entity, your project/program will occur in the Chesapeake watershed, the project/program fits in one of the two strategic themes, and the project/program can be accomplished within the available funding and timeframe, then your proposal should be considered. 

Through these grants, NPS Chesapeake seeks to advance innovation in equity, inclusion, accessibility and engagement by Chesapeake Gateway network partners and communities. Each proposal must address at least one Chesapeake Gateways strategic theme. 

Successful proposals will: 

  1. Elevate the scope or audience of an existing program,
  2. Expand inclusive programming to address barriers to stakeholder engagement, and or 
  3. “Kick off” a new effort, strategy, or innovative design. 

The review committee will evaluate and consider how well each proposal addresses the following criteria. Each criterion will be rated on a scale of 0 to 10 with its own weighting factor. To be competitive, the project narrative should provide detailed information related to each criterion. 

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide one-on-one advising on project ideas. If you are an eligible entity, your project/program will occur in the Chesapeake watershed, the project/program fits in one of the two strategic themes, and the project/program can be accomplished within the available funding and timeframe, then your proposal should be considered. 

Through these grants, NPS Chesapeake seeks to advance innovation in equity, inclusion, accessibility and engagement by Chesapeake Gateway network partners and communities. Each proposal must address at least one Chesapeake Gateways strategic theme. 

Successful proposals will: 

  1. Elevate the scope or audience of an existing program,  

  1. Expand inclusive programming to address barriers to stakeholder engagement, and or 

  1. “Kick off” a new effort, strategy, or innovative design. 

The review committee will evaluate and consider how well each proposal addresses the following criteria. Each criterion will be rated on a scale of 0 to 10 with its own weighting factor. To be competitive, the project narrative should provide detailed information related to each criterion.

 

Application Information

 

To get more details and a link to the grant application, visit: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants - nps.gov

You can also find the application directly on Grants.gov: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants – Grants.gov

 

You must complete the mandatory standard forms and any applicable optional forms, in accordance with the instructions provided, as required by the Notice on www.grants.gov. Do not include any proprietary or personally identifiable information. 

Mandatory Requirements: 

  • Standard Form 424 (SF 424)  

  • Standard Form 424A or C (SF 424A/C)  

  • Project Abstract Summary  

  • Detailed Budget  

  • Indirect Costs 

  • Standard Form 424B or D (SF 424B/D)  

  • Project Narrative (see section below for specifics) 

Optional Requirements: 

A complete listing of optional requirements is included in the Notice posted on www.grants.gov and as part of the application package. 

Additional requirements may apply. To get more details and a link to the grant application, visit: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants - nps.gov

You can also find the application directly on Grants.gov: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants – Grants.gov

The project narrative is an opportunity to describe and provide details on the proposal that specifically address at least one of the strategic themes (see above) and each of the review criteria (see below). The proposal text must be no longer than 8 pages, no smaller than font size 11, and have 1-inch margins. The 8-page limit includes all text, figures, and references. (Project team resumes, Forms SF-424, SF-424A, SF-424B, SF-LLL, and the statement of indirect charges are not counted as part of the 8-page limit). Only information that is pertinent to the proposal should be included in the narrative. Extra information will not be considered. 

Project Overview 

  1. Purpose, Goal(s), and Objective(s) 

  1. Deliverable(s) - specific product(s) or project outcome(s) 

  1. Project Location within the watershed (Please note: projects outside the watershed will not be considered.) 

  1. Key Tasks and Milestones 

Strategic Intent 

  1. Connection to Chesapeake Gateways Strategic Themes - How will this project advance one the strategic themes (listed above). All projects must support at least one strategic theme. 

  1. Connection to Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility and Engagement Objectives - How does the project address community engagement, equity, inclusion, and/or accessibility? Does the project build long-term relationships with underrepresented communities to address community identified needs? 

  1. Innovation in Project Intent - How innovative is the proposed approach to understanding the chosen theme(s) and intended impact? Innovative research, planning, programming, and projects in equitable public access, conservation, community engagement, education, and recreation are core to the work to advance Chesapeake Gateways. 

Organization/Applicant Overview 

  1. Organization mission alignment - How does the project fit into the proposing organization’s mission and does the organization have the capacity to fulfill the project? 

  1. Project Team’s skills and experience, including staff, volunteers, partners and consultants. Name, title, and responsibilities. Optional resumes may be submitted. Resumes do not count toward the 8-page limit. 

  1. Proposed Partners - Does the project include existing or new partnerships?  Optional letters of support may be submitted. Letters of support do not count toward the 8-page limit. 

Optional Narrative Components (Do not count towards 8-page limit.): 

  1. Project Resumes - Proposals may include resumes of key project contacts (no more than 3 pages per resume). Resumes must be submitted with the Grants.gov application to be considered. 

  1. Letters of Support - Letters of support from key partners or constituents can be included (no more than 2 pages per letter). Letters should be current, signed by an authorized representative, and correspond to the project or applicant. Letters must be submitted with the Grants.gov application to be considered. 

To get more details and a link to the grant application, visit: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants - nps.gov

You can also find the application directly on Grants.gov: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants – Grants.gov

Financial Reports:
All recipients must use the SF-425, Federal Financial Report form for financial reporting.  At a minimum, all recipients must submit a final financial report.  Final reports are due no later than 120 calendar days after the award period of performance end date or termination date.  For awards with periods of performance longer than 12 months, recipients are required to submit interim financial reports on the frequency established in the Notice of Award.  The only exception to the interim financial reporting requirement is if the recipient is required to use the SF 270/271 to request payment and requests payment at least once annually through the entire award period of performance.  We will describe all financial reporting requirements in the Notice of Award. 

Performance Reports:
Performance reports must contain a comparison of actual accomplishments with the established goals and objectives of the award; a description of reasons why established goals were not met, if appropriate; and any other pertinent information relevant to the project results. Items may include: 

  • Photos/Videos 

  • Testimonials from participants 

  • Social media posts 

  • Press releases 

  • Project presentations  

Recipients are required to submit an interim performance reports 6 months after the project start date. Final reports are due no later than 120 calendar days after the award period of performance end date or termination date. 

Final reports are due no later than 120 calendar days after the award period of performance end date or termination date.  For awards with periods of performance longer than 12 months, recipients are required to submit interim financial reports on the frequency established in the Notice of Award. 

Additional reporting requirements may apply. 

 

Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov to the National Park Service by the January 30th deadline. Applications submitted by other means or not received by the deadline will not be considered. 

In the event you experience technical difficulties with submitting their application, please contact: Eddie Gonzalez, Director, Grants and Partnerships, Chesapeake_grants@nps.gov. 

To get more details and a link to the grant application, visit: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants - nps.gov

You can also find the application directly on Grants.gov: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants – Grants.gov

 

Further Assistance

 

NPS Chesapeake will be conducting an in-depth walkthrough of the application (Overview) and a webinar on how to submit a proposal (Workshop). Information and registration information can be found below. Each will be repeated. Please register for the one you’d like to attend. You are welcome to attend both, but you must register separately to get the login information for each. (Please share the registration links with others but not the meeting link you will receive when you register.) 

Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants Application Overview 

(Register here.) Tuesday, October 18th, 4:00 – 5:30pm OR 

(Register here.) Thursday, October 20th, 4:00 – 5:30pm 

NPS Chesapeake will provide an overview of the scope and focus of the Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants. This fall, NPS Chesapeake will seek grant proposals to support programs and projects that significantly expand the stories, stakeholders, and benefactors within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Through these grants, we hope to inspire and help people discover, experience, and connect with the natural and cultural heritage and recreational opportunities of the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers, landscapes, and communities across its watershed. 

Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants Writing Workshop 

(Register here.) Tuesday, November 15th, 4:00 – 5:30pm OR 

(Register here.) Thursday, November 17th, 4:00 – 5:30pm 

NPS Chesapeake will provide an overview of the Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants application process and guidance on how to develop an effective grant proposal. This session will review target themes and provide guidance on administrative details of the application process, including SAM and Grants.gov. 

Additional outreach webinars may be announced. Details of future outreach events will be posted on the network grants landing page: go.nps.gov/Chesapeakegrants. 

Yes, all training recordings are posted to the Chesapeake Gateways YouTube Playlist. You can get more background on the NPS Chesapeake strategic plan, explore elements of gateway communities, and catch up any grant-related trainings you may have missed. 

A link to the playlist can also be found on the grants landing page: Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants - nps.gov

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide one-on-one advising on project ideas. If you are an eligible entity, your project/program will occur in the Chesapeake watershed, the project/program fits in one of the two strategic themes, and the project/program can be accomplished within the available funding and timeframe, then your proposal should be able to be considered. 

Just remember, through these grants, NPS Chesapeake seeks to advance innovation in equity, inclusion, accessibility and engagement by Chesapeake Gateway network partners and communities. Each proposal must address at least one Chesapeake Gateways strategic theme. 

Program Technical Contact: 

Eddie Gonzalez – Director of Partnerships and Grants 

National Park Service Chesapeake 

1750 Forest Drive, Suite 140 

Annapolis, MD 21401 

e-mail us 

Administrative Support Contact:  

Patrick Reidy – Grants Management Specialist 

National Park Service  

1234 Market Street, 20th Floor 

Philadelphia, PA 19107 

Patrick_reidy@nps.gov 

Application System Technical Support: 

For Grants.gov technical registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages, contact Grants.gov Customer Support at 1-800-518-4726 or Support@grants.gov. 

To be added to the NPS Chesapeake contact list, email your contact information to e-mail us.
 

November 14, 2022 Update

 

Yes, a “for profit organization” means for a profit business. For profit businesses are separated into two categories: 

  • 22 – For profit organizations, other than small businesses 

  • 23 – Small businesses 

Neither category offers preferential selection, so pick the one you believe more closely matches your business. 

Pending the annual appropriations process, NPS Chesapeake intends to host annual application for Chesapeake Gateway Network grants. 

A proposal may address both themes as long as the total requested amount does not exceed $150,000. However, applicants can also submit more than one application, one for each theme. 

The grant budget can include staff costs for project execution of a defined project or outcome that leads to a public benefit. However, the grants are not designed to support annual organizational maintenance and operations not connected to a project or grant strategic theme. 

If the trail construction will be done in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by an eligible entity within the available funding level in support of at least one of the two strategic themes, the proposal would be eligible for consideration. What we can’t project is how individual proposals will compete against other proposals submitted for consideration. 

Reviewers will not be accessing external links or examples of prior work as part of the proposal review process. Only the content contained in the narrative and related forms requested through the application will be reviewed. 

Yes, subrecipients need to be registered in SAM, which is free to do. The requirement comes from 2 CFR 200.332(a)(1)(ii). SAM.gov is where an entity acquires a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). eCFR :: 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart D – Subrecipient Monitoring and Management

Periods of performance will run 1-2 years, depending on the project scope. The expected start and length of the period of performance will be confirmed in the award letter. 

A collaboration of partners may apply but there needs to be one lead organization submitting the application on behalf of the collaboration. If any partners will be receiving disbursement of any project funds, they must be registered in SAM.gov. 

The Sample Actions and Initiatives listed in the application are intended to give you a sense of the types of projects to be funded. However, this is not a complete or prescriptive list. If your project will occur in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by an eligible entity within the available funding level in support of at least one of the two strategic themes, the proposal would be eligible for consideration.  

Please note: Grants may not be used for acquisition of property or services of direct benefit to the Federal government, including support of the day-to-day operations of a Federal agency. 

Grant funds can be used to cover capital expenses, just not on federal property. 

Yes, grant funds can be used to cover costs for a new effort.

NPS Friends Group are eligible, yet the project cannot be for the primary benefit of the corresponding park. There must be a public purpose to the project.

Grants funds must be used to provide services or products that benefit some segment of public, versus the applying organization, or the federal government. For example, an organization may request funds to conserve and preserve artifacts for use in public programs, but not if the artifacts are being prepared solely for storage, without any access by the public.

Charging a participation fee for participating in a grant-funded project is allowed. The expected program income will need to be detailed in the budget. Generally, income should be rolled into the project to further advance the project objectives.

Yes. Any required funding requirements will be defined in the award confirmation. 

 

Yes, so long as the geography remains within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, but we caution you to scope your project to be manageable within the funding limits available.

Unfortunately, we do not have access to the administrative part of Grants.gov. You’ll need to consult Login.gov for assistance: 

Contact us | Login.gov

(844) 875-6446 

Operating hours are Monday-Friday 11:00 am to 8:00 pm ET. 

They can help you resolve the issue. 

Foreign entities are NOT eligible to apply, even if they are operating in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A US-based subsidiary is eligible provided they incorporated in the United States and register with SAM.gov to get a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), but any staff would need to be employed by the US subsidiary. No grant funds can be disbursed to a foreign entity for project work or staffing. 

 

No, there is requirement to being officially recognized as a minority-owned, women-owned, or 8a business to be an eligible business.

All available resources, including a link to our YouTube channel to access past webinars, can be found on the Network Grants landing page: https://go.nps.gov/chesapeakegrants

Yes, an organization can submit multiple applications. They will each be evaluated independently. 

All applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by the deadline to be considered. We do not have the ability to accept paper applications or emailed applications. They will not be considered. 

 

January 20, 2023 Update

 

Yes, provided the program or project is open to the public or provides a public benefit. The project cannot be for the sole purpose of helping the NPS park.

Yes, but you will likely find your organization in the SAM.gov system. Select your organization when you are asked to confirm your organization’s identity and follow the steps from there.

Unsure. We will be conducting an After-Action Review of the grants after this cycle to look at what processes need to be amended or modified. That might include shifting the strategic direction of future grant cycles. Since this is our first offering, we are anxious to see what the ideas and needs are out there to help us frame out the best way to support these ideas/needs in future years.

Grants can be used to fund capital projects if the project fits within the $150,000 grant maximum and the purpose of the project is to provide some public benefit.

We do hope to get more proposals than we have funding to support so we can truly discern those serving as the best investments. The review committee will seek to identify a slate of projects up to our total available funding. However, as part of their review, they may recommend breaking up a proposed project scope into a more manageable size, with a decreased grant award, if the larger project is not fundable. The goal, though, is to fund the projects with the budgets submitted. We do not expect to leave any available grant funds unawarded.

The budget can list requested line items and lines items provide by non-grant support. However, the narrative should confirm whether those additional funding sources are confirmed or contingent on the NPS grant. Reviewers are going to want to know if the NPS funding completes the funding needed for the project or if there is still additional funds needed beyond what the grant would fund.

NPS uses ASAP (Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) (treasury.gov)) to disburse payments. Disbursements tend to be made within a week turnaround time. Any exceptions to using ASAP will be confirmed in the award letter. There is also a process for requesting advances on the grant award.

NPS uses ASAP (Automated Standard Application for Payments (ASAP) (treasury.gov)) to disburse payments. Disbursements tend to be made within a week turnaround time. Any exceptions regarding advance payments to contracts will be confirmed in the award letter.

All programs and projects supported by the grant must occur inside the watershed. However, the project may include experiences or activities outside the watershed for demonstration/training purposes, provided the narrative indicates how the experience/activities support the intended impact that connects back to one of the strategic themes.

This this is our first year of issuing Gateway Network Grants, we do not have a sample proposal or a list of past grantees. We go through a lot of definition of what to include in a proposal in the application, both in the required forms and in the application components. To get up to speed on both, see these two past grants webinars:
Chesapeake Gateways Network Grant Overview (YouTube)
Chesapeake Gateways Network Grants Application Workshop (YouTube)

Projects do not need to be affiliated with a Gateways site, only that they occur in the Chesapeake watershed.

There is no comprehensive list of institutions within the Network. All parks, museums, and other places located within the Chesapeake watershed are eligible provided they fit one of the eligible entities categories listed in the notice of funding availability.

The annual meeting will likely occur before any of the periods of performance begin, so the conference will likely not be a relevant expense as part of these budgets.

The 7 Network Regions are New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

You are eligible if you are located in one of the following counties in watershed: https://www.chesapeakebay.net/what/maps/chesapeake-bay-counties1

Yes

Not necessarily. The project should be in the watershed. For example, if it was a public access project -- the site would need to be in the watershed -- not in the part of the county outside of the watershed.

If there is a public purpose to their role and it meets at least one of the two themes, then yes.

Personnel costs can be included for personnel directly involved with the project. But ongoing operational cost would not be appropriate.

No, only costs associated with the project. This grant program is not designed to support annual maintenance and operations.

Projects with construction line items should use SF424C. If you are using a contractor for the construction, you would add the expense in the contractor line item in 424A.

1-2 years. The start of the period of performance will be detailed in the award letter. We don't have an exact date of when all awards will be confirmed but hoping for mid-summer.

In order to answer the question, we would need to know the context. Per 2 CFR 200.1 (eCFR :: 2 CFR 200.1 -- Definitions.) Participant support costs means direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances, and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with conferences, or training projects. So, stipends are generally allowed and can be included in your budget calculations. The details of the stipend would be ironed out in the Budget Negotiation phase if the project is selected for funding.

Food and beverage costs defined under 2 CFR 200 part 432 covering conferences (eCFR :: 2 CFR 200.432 -- Conferences.) are allowable. “Conferences” to cover any “meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, workshop or event” whose primary purpose is the dissemination of technical information beyond the non-Federal entity and is necessary and reasonable for successful performance under the Federal award. The case allowing food or beverages is to allow the work to continue and keep people involved in the project during the conference or event. Providing food as a recruiting tool/participation incentive is probably not allowed. You can include any food costs in your supplies line item. The details of the food and beverages would be ironed out in the Budget Negotiation phase if the project is selected for funding.

The letter of support can be addressed generally as “To whom it may concern” or you can address them to “Eddie Gonzalez, Director, Grants and Partnerships, NPS Chesapeake.”

You will need to demonstrate that the contractor was competitively selected. The procurement process they  to use must conform with 2 CFR 200. So, if the process they used [to select the archeology firm] is allowable under 2 CFR 200, then they are probably set. If it wasn't, then they probably cannot use them. The recipient needs to be in compliance with the procurement rules outlined in 2 CFR 200: eCFR :: 2 CFR Part 200 Subpart D - Procurement Standards.

Awards that provide capital funding do not have an easement requirement.

The grant can support tourism and public awareness programs or campaigns. That said, federal grant funds are not used to buy advertising. The grants can support the development, design, community engagement, education/content development costs, but not advertisements.

There is a fine line between marketing/promoting (OK) and advertising (NOT OK).  One tip is to not use the word advertising.

Projects do not need to have a specific conservation component. As long as they address one of the two themes listed in the Notice of Financial Opportunity. They can cover natural, cultural, historical, & recreational topics.

  •  
  • Reference the title of the project as listed in the application
  • What role if any they are playing
  • Their perspective of why you are a strong applicant
  • Capping it at 2 pages
  • Focus on your letters on implementation partners.
  •  

It will be a panel made of technical experts from Park Service and EPA skilled in a variety of topics and grantmaking.

Yes

Yes, but you should make it clear to the review committee how the grants funds will be specifically used and the expected impact of the grant funded part of the project.

No, but they would need to be in SAM before any funds could be disbursed to them.

Here is who would let you know if you need state-level review of your grant proposal: Intergovernmental Review (SPOC List) (whitehouse.gov). If there is no POC for your state, then no prior-approval is required. Otherwise, your state POC would have to let you know.

There is no standard format for the detailed budget. You just need to submit a budget table or spreadsheet with all the expenses listed and with accompanying descriptions. You can submit the budget details as part of the narrative, but it would not count towards your 8-page limit on the narrative.

The budget narrative should include a brief explanation of each line item of your proposed budget (personnel, materials, contractor, etc.).

4,000 characters is the limited noted in the project abstract form: Project Abstract Summary (grants.gov).

Yes, that is the required rate if you don’t have a separate negotiated rate.

Subrecipients are allowed. Subrecipients serve as program partners and would need to be identified in the grant proposal (with corresponding SAM.gov registration), like a partner organization that will share in the program design and implementation. The other type of subrecipient would be a contactor you might be recruiting to conduct specific, fee-based work. Contractors do not need to be identified, but you do need to reference in the narrative that the contractor will be competitively selected.

We will not support minigrant programs this cycle where organizations would use the funds to regrant them out to subgrantees.

 

Last updated: January 20, 2023

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