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Support to Partners – Shenandoah River Watershed

Program Guide

Purpose

To improve or create public access along the South River, South Fork Shenandoah River, North Fork Shenandoah River, Mainstem Shenandoah River, or tributaries to these rivers for the purposes described in the DuPont Waynesboro – South River/South Fork Shenandoah River/Shenandoah River Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (RP/EA), which was developed with public input to restore natural resources and the services they provide that were injured by releases of mercury from the DuPont-Waynesboro Site.

The RP/EA identified “recreational fishing access creation/improvement” as a preferred project category that will provide compensation for the injuries to recreational fishing. Possible projects may involve: boating, bank fishing, and/or wading activities, and also swimming and wildlife viewing. Projects may include addition of new locations and/or improvements to existing facilities.  Improving boating public access may also include dam removal projects that open stretches of a river to boating and fishing. Additional goals are outlined in the RP/EA (Section 5.3.7).

Background

The United States, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) lodged a Consent Decree (CD), which included the RP/EA as Appendix B, on December 15, 2016 with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Harrisonburg Division. The Court entered the CD on July 28, 2017.

The purpose of Support to Partners – Shenandoah River Watershed announcement is to solicit project recommendations consistent with the terms of the DuPont-Waynesboro Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) settlement and RP/EA. The recommendations will be provided to the the DuPont Waynesboro Trustee Council. The Trustee Council consists of two Trustees: the Secretary of Natural Resources on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of the Interior, acting by and through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Trustee Council is responsible for the identification, selection, and implementation of projects pursuant to the CD and RP/EA.

Funds for the Support to Partners – Shenandoah River Watershed are derived from the DuPont-Waynesboro NRDAR settlement of mercury-related injuries to South River and South Fork Shenandoah River.

Funding Limit

Up to a maximum of $100,000, half paid up front with the balance 30 days after the acquisition or construction is completed to the satisfaction of the Trustees or their representatives. The Trustees, or their representatives, reserve the right to award at higher levels on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility

Local governments including Augusta, Rockingham, Page, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, and Frederick Counties, and cities and towns within these aforementioned counties are eligible and encouraged to apply. Also eligible are state and federal agencies and, non-governmental not-for-profit organizations.

Funding Basis

Funds are awarded on a competitive basis. Partners are reimbursed for the agreed upon project cost with half up-front and the balance once the project is completed to the satisfaction of the Trustees for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or their representatives. Partners are eligible to apply in successive years. Partners are allowed to apply for more than one project.

Items Covered

Land acquisition, planning, design, historic and environmental review, and construction costs can be covered by the program and must be clearly documented in the application. A new survey of the site must be included along with well-marked property boundaries. Land acquisition must follow the Commonwealth’s Department of General Services guidelines. A signed Memorandum of Understanding between parties must be executed before work begins.

Projects proposals will not be considered by the Commonwealth if any of the following situations are true:

  • Project is otherwise required by federal, state, or local laws, regulations, permits, or licenses.
  • Significant adverse environmental impacts would result from the project, and such impacts are not adequately mitigated.

Potential for significant adverse effects to human health and safety would result from the project, and such effects are not adequately mitigated.

Design Requirements

All facilities must comply with the current Virginia Statewide Uniform Building Code design standards. Drawings must be submitted for approval by the Trustees or their representatives. All facilities shall have the proper construction documents, permits, authorizations and inspections as required by the local jurisdiction, the Commonwealth, and Federal authorities. All facilities shall comply with the U.S. Access Board’s Accessible Boating Access Guidelines.

In addition, all successful applicants must conduct certain federal reviews including the Endangered Species Act, Section 7 review, as well as reviews for historic resources.  The Trustee Council can assist with these reviews.

Memorandum of Understanding

Includes:

  1. Successful applicant’s control of the land and establishment of protective restrictions for public recreation access for the expected life of the project (minimum of 25 years). Acquired property for an approved project shall be approved by the Trustees, or their representatives, and shall have perpetuity deed accommodations for long-term public access use. Proposals that provide for permanent protection will receive higher credit in the review process.
  2. Maintenance and repair plan to Trustee standards.
  3. Construction time limit of 12 months from signing to completion.
  4. No fees to utilize the public recreation access areas. State Parks are exceptions.
  5. Provide and maintain bilingual signage that recognizes all partners.
  6. A resolution of support by the locality.

Selection Process

Proposals are reviewed annually by an oversight team selected by the Trustee Council. Public recreation access site selection will be guided by a selection scoring system developed by the Department of Wildlife Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation and approved by the Trustees.

Deadlines and Notification of Awards

The deadline for submitting proposals is October 1 of any given year and successful applicants will be announced no later than January 31 following the deadline. Projects are subject to the availability of funds.

For More Information: Email SupportToPartners@dwr.virginia.gov