Groups invited to apply now for boat inspection grants due Feb. 1; Streamlined process easier to get grants, carry them out
Published: January 11, 2013 by the Central Office
Contact(s): Pamela Toshner (715)635-4073; Jane Malischke (715) 635-4062)
SPOONER - Lake associations and other groups will find it easier to get funding and carry out local watercraft inspection efforts under a simplified grant process aimed at preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Groups that turn in complete, shortened applications for eligible activities are assured of getting funding but applications must be in by Feb. 1, state officials say.
"We encourage local groups to take advantage of the changes that make the application process and competition for funding less daunting," says Pamela Toshner, DNR lake biologist. "Fill out a one page application and sign the second page contract. Iif the form is complete and your activity is eligible, you'll get funded."
Toshner says that locally run watercraft inspection programs are key to Wisconsin efforts to keep our lakes and fish healthy, "so we want as many groups as possible to get the funding they need to carry out these vital efforts while avoiding burning them out on paperwork and administration." It's especially important to implement watercraft inspection projects on the Great Lakes and lakes that already have aquatic invasive species.
Improvements in the grant process came about through DNR's process improvement efforts, also known as "Lean Government" efforts. DNR staff used "Lean" tools to find creative ways to make the grant process less work for lake groups and DNR staff. DNR was the first agency in the state to take on Lean Government projects, and Clean Boats Clean Waters Clean Grants is one of DNR's first projects.
"What we heard from the public during our fact-funding was that volunteer burn-out is high, and that some groups were not even applying for the funds because of the perception that the grant application process and competition are too challenging," Toshner says.
"The goal of this effort is to reduce volunteer time spent on grant administration by half, and perhaps most ambitious, to 100 percent satisfy our existing customers," says Jane Malischke, a DNR environmental grants specialist. Other goals sought to reduce DNR workload by one-third.
"We're confident that we can reach those goals with the changes we've made based on public feedback and our analysis of the old process," Malischke says. Some of the key changes include:
- The grant applications can now be filled out and submitted online;
- The application has been shortened to 1 page with the second page the contract;
- All applications are to be submitted to staff at Spooner DNR. Provided the application is complete and activities eligible, the project gets funded, and the applicant will be notified within 14 business days, not months as before.
- All projects will have state grant caps of $4,000 per boat landing, automatic 25 percent advance payments, and standardized scopes and timelines. If inspectors take Clean Boats Clean Waters training, invest at least 200 hours of watercraft inspection time per boat landing, and enter the inspection data into DNR's data system, the remaining project balance will be reimbursed when the final payment request and worksheet are submitted to DNR. No more redundant time tracking!
- Some things will remain the same, including grant deadlines of Feb. 1 and Aug. 1, the fact that the state will provide 75 percent of the cost, and eligible sponsors.
More information on the Clean Boats Clean Waters Grants is available online or please contact Lake Coordinator Pamela Toshner (715) 635-4073) or Environmental Grants Specialist Jane Malischke (715) 635-4062.