Frequently Asked Questions
WRRSP Eligibility and Funding Process
Administered by Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance, the WPCLF provides below‐market financing to Ohio communities for the planning, design and construction of wastewater treatment facilities. Within the WPCLF, the WRRSP is a specialized sponsorship program, as opposed to a traditional grant program, whereby funding is generated by individual WPCLF loans sponsoring WRRSP protection and/or restoration projects. Key stakeholders in the WRRSP program include implementers and sponsors of wastewater infrastructure projects.
To be eligible for WRRSP funding, project and costs must be directly related to restoring and/or protecting a site’s aquatic life use. Eligible projects include stream and wetland protection through fee‐simple property acquisition, and stream and wetland restoration that corrects impairments to on‐site aquatic resources. To qualify for WRRSP funding, a project must either by itself, or in concert with other past, present or future projects, result in the full protection or restoration of the aquatic resource. Streams must either be in attainment of, or be fully restored to, at least Warmwater Habitat or greater designated aquatic life use under Ohio Water Quality Standards. Wetlands must achieve, or be restored to, a Category 3 designation. Performance criteria include both habitat and biological assessment methods. The program is transitioning to requiring both pre‐ and post‐implementation biological assessments for all projects.
Projects such as trails, boardwalks, excessive upland recreational facilities and other structures, parking areas, equipment, projects that don’t meet water quality goals, required mitigation projects, appraisals, and in-house implementer costs are not eligible for WRRSP funding. Additionally, projects with severed mineral rights, encumbrances detrimental to the conservation values of the project, or other issues that may impede readiness-to-proceed may not be funded.
Typically, up to $15 million is provided annually for WRRSP projects through a highly competitive nomination and award process. Nominations are accepted each year (July 15 - Aug. 15 for 2020) and project scoring is based on several criteria, including:
- importance of the resource;
- restoration potential, and;
- overall effectiveness of the proposed project action.
Once scored and ranked, fundable projects are identified in DEFA’s WPCLF Program Management Plan that is issued prior to the start of the WPCLF program year.
Who can be an implementer?
Entities that implement WRRSP projects may include non‐profit conservation organizations, park districts, political sub‐divisions and even WPCLF loan recipients. Implementers partner with sponsors during the appropriate program year and, in anticipation of the revenue stream that would have been generated by the sponsoring WPCLF loan, DEFA advances a portion of this funding for the WRRSP project.
- For most projects, the WRRSP operates on a two‐year cycle. During the first year, Implementers work toward a final management plan and environmental covenant, identifying a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund (WPCLF) sponsor and obtaining a Letter of Intent from that sponsor, and identifying the project delivery method (design-bid-build or design-build). Projects using the traditional design-bid-built method must prepare details plans for review in year 1. Projects using the design-build method must develop a detailed Request for Qualifications (RFQ) and/or Request for Proposal (RFP) during year 1. Only when these activities have been successfully completed may a project be funded during year 2 and at the same time the sponsoring WPCLF loan is awarded.
- Recognizing the need to sometimes provide funding quicker, DEFA now offers a 1-year cycle for protection projects that meet “readiness-to proceed” criteria. For more information, see the important details provided below.
Schedule for projects from the 2020 Program Management Plan (PMP)
intended for funding in 2021 (Standard two-year WRRSP cycle)
Summary of WRRSP Project Timeline (2-Year Cycle)
Summary of WRRSP Project Timeline (1-Year Cycle)
Prior to submitting your nomination, it’s mandatory that you contact the WRRSP Unit to schedule a Pre-nomination Site Visit. To allow for the most productive pre-nomination site visit/meeting, at least one week prior to the site visit, the implementer will complete and submit a pre-nomination site visit request form that provides project details, a map to the site and basic water resource information to WRRSP staff. This allows us to provide feedback during project development. By providing initial feedback, we’re able to ensure that your project complies with programmatic requirements and help you identify ways to improve your project’s competitiveness.
Mandatory site visits are necessary only for any new sites not previously visited by WRRSP staff or when a project is being revised from a previous site visit or nomination. However, WRRSP will gladly revisit a site at the implementer’s request.
Nominating a Project
Each year, Ohio EPA invites entities with potential WRRSP projects to nominate them for inclusion in either the fast-track or two-year funding cycle. Complete WRRSP nomination forms will be accepted July 15-August 15, 2020 for the following Program Year. Projects are then scored, ranked and placed on the Intended Projects List in the WPCLF Program Management Plan (PMP).
All WRRSP projects require the placement of an Environmental Covenant (EC) on any and all acreage acquired with WRRSP funds. The EC includes use restrictions for the purpose of upholding the site’s conservation values, in perpetuity. Parties to the covenant include the property owner, holder and Ohio EPA.
Finding A Sponsor
Since WRRSP projects involve an interest rate discount for the WPCLF sponsoring loan recipient, implementers are solely responsible for contacting potential sponsors. Sponsoring projects must be scheduled for award in the appropriate program year and generate enough interest to cover the cost of the WRRSP project. Implementers may identify potential sponsors by reviewing the draft and final IPL within the annual WPCLF PMP. Note that a WRRSP project may have multiple WPCLF sponsors and/or sponsoring loans.
Project monitoring is necessary to determine whether the site’s conservation values have been met/upheld. The Sponsor and the Implementer agree that the perpetual protection and maintenance of the WRRSP Project shall be carried out in accordance with the restrictions and responsibilities identified in the Management Plan and the Environmental Covenant.
For all projects, an annual report shall be submitted to DEFA after EC recording. The annual report must document project monitoring; any changes on the property or with the project; amount of acreage restored or protected, including acreages of various habitat types; and progress of any on-going work.
Submit annual reports to Mike Kelly.
Additional documents are available on the Resources tab. The 2020 WRRSP Nomination Form (projects for the 2021 PMP) will be posted here soon.