The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Trust seek proposals for nontidal wetland projects in Maryland. This program seeks to implement cost-effective wetland projects to provide valuable wetland functions, including habitat for a wide range of species and improved water quality, flood attenuation, recharge of groundwater, and aesthetics in the State’s local watersheds and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, Youghiogheny River, and Atlantic Coastal Bays.
What this funds: The following project types will be considered in order of priority:
- Nontidal wetland restoration: defined as a project to recreate a wetland in an area where a wetland historically existed.
- Nontidal wetland creation: defined as a project to create a wetland in an area where no wetlands previously existed.
Creation projects that require extensive grading may not be ranked highly.
- Nontidal wetland enhancement: defined as improving the wetland function of an existing wetland. The highest
ranked wetland enhancements will be to farmed wetlands, partially drained wetlands, and wetlands with threatened or
endangered species. Most other wetland enhancement projects will not be ranked highly.
- Wetland preservation: defined as protecting existing wetlands. Preservation will only be funded if it is a relatively small
part of a project package that includes wetland restoration or creation.
Who can apply: Non-profit organizations, for-profit entities, community associations, faith-based organizations and more. The list varies by project type and track so please see RFP for full list of organizations.
How much can be awarded: Requests up to $950,000 will be considered
Is match required? No, but applicants are strongly encouraged to leverage support with cash and in kind match.
Grant Application Process: The Chesapeake Bay Trust’s grant applications are all submitted through an online system. If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact this program’s grant managers, Sarah Koser at 410-974-2941, ext. 106 or Sadie Drescher at 410-974-2941 x 105.
- Click here for a list of state-certified land appraisers.
- Click here for an example performance bond and payment bond.
- Click here to watch a recording of the MDE Nontidal Wetland Award Program Information Session held on 11/02/2022.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Answers
Question: Are there any exceptions to the minimum acreages described in the RFP?
Answer: The Trust and MDE will NOW consider projects that are 5 acres in size (instead of 10 acres). However, projects submitted with the highest acres of forested wetlands will be the most competitive. Please see the priority watersheds map in the RFP and located here: https://cbtrust.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=736cb42a74ed4bed9907ae5b25805953
Question: Would MDE be open to allowing hunting in the restored/created wetlands placed under conservation easements as part of the MDE NTW Awards Program? Would there be any specific restrictions on hunting in restored/created wetlands, other than the normal state hunting regulations?
Answer: MDE encourages hunting, especially for deer at the wetland mitigation sites, which helps to control herbivory of the planted vegetation. However, MDE would not allow building large hunting structures (other than small blinds) and would not allow trails to haul out deer to be mowed within the wetland mitigation site boundaries. Ultimately the site usage details, including hunting, would be clearly spelled out in the site protection mechanism.
Question: Page 7 of the RFP explains that bidders are to use the Performance Standards described in Appendix A of the RFP, and that performance standards will not be formally included in the permit authorizations by MDE/USACE for these projects since they are considered voluntary. Instead, the performance standards for these awards must adhere to Appendix A. Can you explain in more detail how that works and if it can be clarified that it is not a regulatory requirement, but that the Performance Standards needs to be adhered to in the RFP?
Answer: To be provided funding in this program, your project will need to meet the Ecological Performance Standards and Monitoring Protocol described in Appendix A of this RFP. These are voluntary wetland mitigation projects, which generally have less stringent Performance Standards as part of the permit requirements; however, since projects funded in this award program will be considered wetland mitigation sites, the performance standards in Appendix A are more stringent than the Performance Standards for voluntary restoration projects. Ideally, the permit authorizations for these projects from USACE and MDE would be the same as the Performance Standards described in Appendix A. During the permitting process, we will work to coordinate with USACE and MDE (regulatory) to ensure the performance standards provided in their permit authorizations are consistent with the Performance Standards described in Appendix A. However, these projects are ultimately required to meet the more stringent Performance Standards in Appendix A.
Question: Please discuss how this program complements (or not) the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Community Forest program- https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/private-land/community-forest.
Answer: Please reach out to the Trust for specific scenarios and site eligibility since the answer to this question will be on a case-by case basis. The wetland mitigation sites funded in this award program will eventually be required to meet the USACE Final Mitigation Rule requirements (https://www.sac.usace.army.mil/Portals/43/docs/regulatory/Final_Mitigation_Rule.pdf), which do not allow for funding of overlapping areas by multiple programs. The USDA program cited in the question, encourages timber harvesting of the land, which this program does not allow. The USDA program cited above is therefore not compatible with our program. However, a bidder could use other grant funds to complement the project if prior approval from the MDE and Trust is obtained (e.g., if the nontidal wetland site is on a separate area than the portion getting funding through the USDA Program). On page 12 of the RFP under Ineligible Projects, projects that receive funding in this program are not eligible for other voluntary programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), or other reforestation or tree planting programs. However, sites with expired CREP easements may be considered and will be evaluated based on the current site conditions. As noted in the RFP, land that is non-parkland, but already partially protected land can be considered in this award program. Examples include if land is already protected through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), or a similar protection mechanism. Note that these areas will still need to be protected through a new conservation easement (preferable) or a new Declaration of Restrictive Covenant as part of the program requirements.
Question: Can previously released mitigation bank credits be accepted in this award program?
Answer: Please reach out to the Trust for specific scenarios and site eligibility since the answer to this question will be on a case-by case basis. However, if the cost is competitive and the mitigation site itself is located within a State priority watershed (versus the location of the service area), then previously released mitigation bank credits may be considered.
Question: As long as another program is not taking credit for the activity, can matching funds be submitted for this award program? For example, other voluntary programs that would not be using federal funds or programs with another water quality initiative or habitat purpose.
Answer: Please reach out to the Trust for specific scenarios and site eligibility since prior approval to submission of an application is required. We may consider matching funds from other programs (e.g., funds to build a trail around a wetland). There are programs that could overlap and use a matching funding source or program as long as the bidder ensures compatibility with the requirements of the RFP and that MDE would ultimately gain the entire suite of wetland credits (e.g., no other Program could take credit for the project). A project supported by these program funds solely is preferred to demonstrate the full cost of the effort. As noted in the RFP, land that is non-parkland, but already partially protected land can be considered in this award program. Examples include if land is already protected through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), or a similar protection mechanism. Note that these areas will still need to be protected through a new conservation easement (preferable) or a new Declaration of Restrictive Covenant as part of the program requirements and the existing site protection subordinated.
Question: Can you clarify the required terms of the Insurance Policy that covers the Payment Bond requirement? Is a Letter of Credit acceptable to satisfy the Payment Bond requirement?
Answer: A letter of credit to satisfy the payment bond sounds reasonable; the RFP is asking for the payment bond to be in a specific form (COMAR 21.07.02.10, Exhibit A), notarized, and cover total project cost plus 5% of the bid amount. We can also accept an insurance policy as a financial assurance. Since the RFP requires a mechanism to cover total project cost plus 5%, we need to be assured that whatever is proposed will do this – and we are open to a 105% line of credit that serves the same purpose as a payment bond (make sure to include the assurances that the credit would be used to satisfy the same payment bond requirements, i.e., guarantee that all entities involved with the project will be paid).