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Cost Share Rule and Policy History

State Cost Share and Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve Proposed Rulemaking Update

June 19, 2013

(1) June 12, 2013 DRAFT Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy

(2) 2013 Legislation State Cost Share Program

The Legislature enacted several changes to the Erosion Control and Water Management Program in the appropriations and in the tax bill. These changes were made after plans had progressed to make several amendments to the Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy.

Prior to a detailed review of the appropriations and tax bill, the BWSR Board Grants Program and Policy Committee met on May 22, 2013 to review proposed amendments to this Policy that had been originally adopted by the Board on October 24, 2012. These amendments are highlighted in yellow on the document "June 12, 2013 Draft Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy". The Board was going to be requested to adopt these changes on June 26 to ensure they were in place when the FY14 grants were awarded. These Policy amendments have been withdrawn from the June 26, 2013 Board agenda due to the identification of additional Policy changes required as a result of legislative changes enacted in this session.  These additional Policy amendments are highlighted in green on the attached "June 12, 2013 Draft Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy" and are:

1.   Energy conservation and snow protection practices are no longer eligible as the appropriations do not include these practices and they are not “practices for erosion or sedimentation control or water quality improvement that are designed to protect and improve soil and water resources” which is the purpose of this Program; and


2.   Delete language that provides that “at least 70 percent” of the cost sharing funds are to be allocated for high priority erosion, sedimentation, or water quality problems and delete language that provides that cost sharing funds may not be used on “lower priority erosion, sedimentation, or water quality problems ” due to the deletion of this language from 103C.501.

The only change that would have an immediate effect is item 1. Item 2 is proposed to ensure the Policy is consistent with the changes made to 103C.501. However, the statutory changes will require evaluating the allocation formula and guidance and policy relating to the allocation of funds for technical and administrative assistance. Changes to these areas will be developed for potential implementation with the FY15 Cost Share grants.

Staff will be requesting the Board adopt the amended policy on August 29, 2013 to apply to the FY14 grants.

This delay in receiving Board approval of the Policy will require modification to the grant agreements. The SWCD grant agreement will include two effective dates:

(1)       following execution by the SWCD and BWSR for the Conservation Delivery and Easement Delivery  grants; and
(2)       September 1, 2013 for the Cost Share Grant to ensure that SWCDs do not enter into contracts that do not comply with the Policy.

A meeting of the BWSR Board Grants Program and Policy Committee will be scheduled for late July/early August to consider these proposed Policy amendments, among other agenda items. Please provide any comments and/or questions by July 19 so that they may be considered by the Committee.

March 25, 2013

(1) March 2013 Erosion Control and Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve Rule (Minnesota Rule 84 Chapter 8400)

(2) October 24, 2012 Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy

October 16, 2012

Update and Status.
After several months of working with SWCD's and the Mn Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts the rules that govern the Erosion Control and Water Management Program (commonly referred to as Cost-Share) and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve Programs (Rule Chapter 8400) is ready to proceed. The BWSR Grants Program and Policy Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, October 23 in St. Paul to consider and develop a recommendation for the proposed rule, and draft Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy. The BWSR Board is currently scheduled to consider the Committee recommendation at its regular meeting on Wednesday, October 24.

Background.
BWSR has been working on these rules for more than two years, and a Notice of Intent to Adopt (the Rules) Without a Public Hearing was published in the State Register on May 7, 2012. This Notice established a comment period through June 6, 2012. This Notice was later amended to extend the comment period through June 11, 2012. 41 requests for a public hearing were received. The Administrative Procedures Act provides that a public hearing must be held if at least 25 requests are received during the public comment period.

Commenters raised several issues, chief among them was a proposed change that would allow BWSR to implement the RIM program through “authorized agents”. To address the issues raised in the comments, a meeting was held on August 27 with the individuals that had requested a public hearing and representatives of the Mn Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Several changes were made to the proposed rule and draft policy as a result of this meeting. Subsequently, 21 of the 41 requests for a public hearing were withdrawn. Staff are now proposing to continue the rulemaking process.
  
Proposed and Draft Program Documents.
Posted on the BWSR cost share website are the proposed rule, the draft statement of need and reasonableness (SONAR), and the draft Erosion Control and Water Management Program Policy all with changes incorporated from the August 27 meeting, and several others that were suggested following this date. Notes are provided for each of these documents. 

(1) Rule.  The changes to the proposed rule are on pages 7, 14, 15, 16 and 27 and are highlighted in yellow. This rule looks different than the one that was published in May. The attached version was created from a Word document; the published one was made by the Revisor of Statutes which uses a software that BWSR cannot directly modify.

(2) SONAR. The changes to the draft SONAR are on pages 9, 10, 11 and 14, correspond to changes made to the rule and are highlighted in yellow.

(3) Policy. The changes to the draft Policy are highlighted in yellow.


Staff are proposing to implement these changes with the FY14 State Cost-Share grants that will be made available to SWCDs in summer 2013.

State Cost Share and Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve Proposed Rulemaking

May 10, 2012

BWSR has been working on changes to the State Cost Share Program and Reinvest in Minnesota Program for the past two years. This effort will result in the creation of an amended rule, BWSR Board adopted policies, and a program manual that together will guide the future implementation of these programs.

The proposed rule is being published in the State Register on May 7, 2012 and comments on the rule are encouraged through June 6, 2012. The proposed rule, statement of need and reasonableness and draft Erosion Control and Water Management  (Cost-Share) policy are posted here to inform and solicit input from SWCDs and other interested parties. The first two documents apply to both RIM reserve and Cost Share. The last document only applies to the Cost Share program.

     (1) Proposed Cost Share and RIM Reserve Rule
     (2) Proposed Cost Share and RIM Reserve Sonar
     (3) Draft Cost Share Program Policy
     (4) Notice of Intent to Adopt Rules without a Public Hearing (May 10, 2012)

The intention behind the rule and policy is to ensure the Rule is consistent with statutory changes adopted in 2009, increase program flexibility through BWSR Board adopted policy, and reduce administrative overhead (BWSR and SWCD) through improved coordination between State Cost Share and other grant programs, such as those established through the Clean Water Fund.

The final adoption date of the rule is dependent on the comments received, but could occur as soon as early August 2012.

If you have a comment or suggestion you would like considered during rule and policy development please send them to:


Dave Weirens
Land and Water Section Manager
Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources
651-297-3432
David.Weirens@state.mn.us

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