Managing Your Chesapeake Bay Trust Award During COVID-19 - Chesapeake Bay Trust Skip to main content

The Chesapeake Bay Trust (the Trust) recognizes that there have been and will continue to be significant impacts on the people and nonprofits that we work with as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we know that the full impacts of the virus are still uncertain, we want you to know that the Trust is here to help as much as we are able and we will continue our efforts to ensure that our regions natural resources are restored. We have received a number of questions from awardees and recently held two webinars to address those most common questions and hear directly from the awardees to address questions and comments in real time. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We recognize that it is not an inclusive list of questions and encourage you to contact the Program Officer who manages your award. You may watch a re-cap of one of the webinars here.

The Trust and our funding partners realize that this is a time for flexibility and understanding. Above all else, we wish everyone health and well-being today and in all the days ahead.

What is the status of the Trust and how you are managing awards at this time?

The Trust has been working remotely since Governor Hogan’s Executive Order on March 12th, 2020, and continuing to support all award programs and partnerships using a variety of videoconferencing and web platforms to ensure the success of your project and award deliverables. We continue to review reports, approve/process payments, and provide oversight to the hundreds of current awards under our management. We are grantees ourselves and are working through questions with our funding partners on extensions and scope changes for our programs. Finally, we are closely watching Governor Hogan’s orders and the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to ensure we are following the most recent guidance.

Has the Trust had operational restrictions placed on it by partners?

The Trust hasn’t had any formal modifications to our awards or agreements with our funding partners, but the expectation is to follow the grantee’s locality guidelines for essential business restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

Will Requests for Proposals from the Trust continue to come out as planned?

At this moment in time, we are intending to move forward with our grant programs, including the upcoming Watershed Assistance Grant Program and Outreach and Restoration Grant Program, as usual. We operate on a fiscal year basis (July to June) and will monitor funds closely as a large amount of the Trust’s revenue we are able to use for grant programs comes from bay plate sales which have seen a decline under the current COVID-19 conditions. We are also working closely with our funding partners and will announce any changes as soon as we have them through our website, newsletters, and other communication tools. We will keep the grantee community up to date through our grantee newsletter. Please be sure to sign up here to receive if you do not already.

Can we change our project grant award to operational support?

Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be possible because the project should have deliverables related to restoration, environmental education, citizen engagement, and other Trust program goals. However, while a lot of our funding comes with constraints on how the dollars can be spent, your Program Officer can work with you one-on-one to determine if it is possible to retool your project to accomplish the outcomes of the originally approved award while meeting your current organizational needs.

Our staff are suffering, and we don’t think we can make payroll. Can we move some of our grant money from the grant to personnel?

We want to be as flexible as possible and make every effort to support the success of your organization, with the consideration that some programs have funds that come from other partners and the Trust has deliverables that we need to met with them. We might have to retool the personnel in a way that its able to work with our deliverables as outlined in the award proposal or maybe new deliverables can be outlined to still meet the goal and objective of the project or something similar. We have heard from many of our partners that they are trying to be as flexible as their constraints allow.

A staff position in our organization is grant funded. Can we still qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program?

This is likely to be possible and, please talk with your accountant or lender. The focus is on the payroll documentation, which you will need to upload to the application and will show that the position is grant supported.  You may be able to shift the grant funds for personnel to another cost that’s related to the grant using the Award Revision Request process. Work on any award changes with your Program Officer who manages your award. (see list of staff contacts below)

What do we need to provide a request in reallocating grant funds?

Talk to the Program Officer who manages your award (see list of staff contacts below) and use the Award Revision Request in the “Chesapeake Bay Trust Online Grant System.”  Depending upon the contingencies, timeline, or the amendments made, your program officer will review your request and work with you to revise or extend the project.

We won’t be able to complete our project as planned. What should we do?

If you would like to continue with your project, the Trust may be able to provide an extension (sometimes this is dependent upon program funding sources from external partners).  It is important to contact the Program Officer assigned to manage your award to discuss your plans and options (see list of staff contacts below). The Trust will help in any way we can to support your plan.

We have heard from a few awardees whose project scope, timeline, or other circumstances deem it impossible to continue the project. We completely understand and can work with you to close the award after approval and determine expenditures for any remaining funds to be returned to the Trust.  There is no disadvantage to your organization in doing this and you are encouraged to re-apply in the future.

We want to do our project but because of shutdowns we are unable. What should we do?

Especially in the cases of schools, there is the possibility of your project requiring extensions into the next year. We can work directly with you to determine if we can meet your anticipated extension or if the project can be amended to a different approach that would shorten the timeline for completion.

We want to move forward with our project now, but it’s going to have to be a little different because of COVID-19. Do we need to submit anything? Can we send changes and requests via e-mail?

As you would with any project scope of work or budget change, contact the Program Officer who manages your award (see list of staff contacts below) to talk through potential project changes and then submit the proposed changes through the Award Revision Request requirement in the “Chesapeake Bay Trust Online Grant System” as outlined in your award agreement/ contract.

What do we do if our contractors I late getting the deliverables to us, and we are late getting deliverables to the Trust.

If your contractor is late getting deliverables to you, let us know. You might want to submit your invoice or payment without an invoice from the contractor. We would not be able to make a payment without getting the invoice from the contractor, however, we could make payment minus that invoice. Finally, your situation may be unique and depending on the circumstance we may be able to work out other solutions with you on a case by case basis. Talk with the Program Officer who manages your award. (see list of staff contacts below)

Chesapeake Conservation Corps: Are you still planning to go ahead with the next round of Chesapeake Conservation Corps placements?

We still planning to start this program on time in August for next round of Corps members. We will continue evaluating in real time as more information becomes available to us.

Washington, D.C. Community Stormwater: Is there a delay in approving applications for the Washington, D.C. Community Stormwater program?

A number of our funding partners are concerned about pay freezes or potential budget challenges. In the case of Washington, D.C. it does sound like they are going to be under a pay freeze; we are still discussing this with funding partners and the Trust still anticipates releasing funds through a competitive process. The freeze might delay this programs release slightly, but we will be transparent with all information by posting updates on the grant program’s website and relaying information through the Trust’s additional communication outlets.

Environmental Education: We’re wondering how you are moving forward with grants that are currently open for education since we cannot have children on site or work with children for educational programming.

We’re open to discussing each individual project and whether the project can be conducted in the fall which will dictate in part whether we can provide an extension.  We must look at what type of funds supported your grant and where the project was geographically located which will help us understand if we can provide an extension and how long of an extension could be accommodated. For Maryland based the projects, there is more flexibility to extend the project into next year. Regarding out of state projects, we are in a momentary holding pattern with our federal funding partner and we will learn more soon.

If our class sizes change, can we adjust the price (price per student to attend a field trip)?

While we cannot change the total approved award amount, we can work with you to modify your budget. We understand that costs change based on the number of students attending and will accommodate budget changes within the award total as much as possible.

Can we consider moving programming, such as teacher training, online through distance learning.

Yes, several awardees are doing that right now and we are very open to the idea. Please contact your award’s Program Officer to work through the details. (see list of staff contacts below)

Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program: How does a homeowner find out if they are approved, do I pay the contractor ahead of time for the rain garden or for paving, and do I provide proof of payment for reimbursement? 

The Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate Program is open and continuing to accept applications. We have adjusted our processes to do everything electronically and remotely. Applicants will receive an email with next steps within two weeks after they submit their application. All projects, except for rain barrels, must be pre-approved prior to installation. This pre-approval ensures that the applicant is eligible for a rebate. In order for us to provide pre-approval, there is certain information we must have depending on the project type. The email that the applicant receives will detail any additional information we must have before we can provide pre-approval and before the applicant can move forward with their project. Once we receive the required information, the applicant will be pre-approved and may begin the work. Upon completion of the project, the applicant will be required to submit photos, copies of receipts/invoices, and other project specific information.

I am not sure who to contact, who is my program officer?

Your award agreement letter contains the name, phone number, and email address of the Trust staff person that manages your award. If you do not have a copy of your award agreement, you can find it the following ways: 1) search your email for the copy the Trust sent to you when we notified you were approved for an award, 2) log in to your account on our online system and view the signed award agreement requirement submission, or 3) contact the Trust at or email the contact person for your award’s program in the table below and we will send you a copy of the agreement.

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