The Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (MEF) is a mechanism set up through the Bond Falls Settlement Agreement (BFSA) to fund habitat improvement projects and assessment in the Ontonagon River watershed.

These guidelines are intended to provide background and systematic guidance to the Bond Falls Implementation Team (BFIT) regarding the disbursement of the funds provided by the MEF to the general public in the form of grants. The BFIT may modify these guidelines as needed in the future.

Goal

The goal of the MEF is to provide tangible, measurable improvements to the aquatic and terrestrial environments in the Ontonagon River watershed. The Ontonagon River watershed is roughly bounded by the areas of influence of the licensees' hydroelectric projects covered under the BFSA (Bond Falls, Bergland, Cisco Chain, and Victoria). While the goal of the MEF is to implement habitat improvements, the MEF may be used for studies to help determine the need for future improvements or the benefits of previous improvements.

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MEF Details

(Please refer to Section 7 of the BFSA )

  • UPPCO is required to maintain a MEF to mitigate for unavoidable impacts from project operation and to provide for the enhancement of other resources. A portion of the MEF can be set aside at the BFIT's discretion in the form of grants.
  • The amount of money made available will be based on funds remaining after the completion of license required projects. The BFIT can commit funds only as they are available; BFIT cannot fund projects on a deficit basis. In 2011, we expect to have between $10,000 and $15,000 and plan to fund one or two grant projects.
  • All projects must be accompanied by a 25% match (in-kind, financial, or material). In-kind contributions for equipment must be prorated for the life of the project and may not be claimed at full value. (i.e. $1,000 binoculars with an expected life span of 50 years (2,600 weeks), used 10 weeks on project, can be claimed for $3.85, or 10/2600 of value).

Decisions regarding the use of the MEF will be the responsibility of the BFIT.

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MEF Annual Project Selection

If funding is available, UPPCO will distribute a Request for Proposals (RFP) in December annually to solicit proposals. The general MEF timeline is as follows:

Proposals Date
UPPCO to submit Request for Proposals December 31
Submit proposals to BFIT January
Proposal submittal deadline February 1
Distribution of proposals to BFIT February 14
BFIT proposal review Annual Meeting
BFIT identify other costs unrelated to project (permits, archaeological surveys, etc.) Annual Meeting
BFIT decision on MEF proposals Annual Meeting
Earliest start date for selected projects April 1

Prior to submitting a final proposal, proposal authors are encouraged to contact BFIT resource agency representatives with their draft proposal so that technical questions may be answered:

Representative Agency Contact Information
Bill Deephouse Fisheries Biologist, Michigan Hydro Relicensing Coalition and River Alliance of Wisconsin 906-482-6607
troutkpr@up.net
Christie Deloria-Sheffield Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 906-226-1240
christie_deloria@fws.gov
Norman Nass District Ranger, U.S. Forest Service 906-358-4551 ext. 14
nnass@fs.fed.us
Mark Fedora Hydrologist, U.S. Forest Service 906-932-1330 ext. 318
mfedora@fs.fed.us
Stephen Gilbert Fisheries Biologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 715-358-9229
Stephen.Gilbert@Wisconsin.gov
Gene Mensch Fisheries Biologist, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 906-524-5757 ext. 12
gmensch@kbic-nsn.gov
Kyle Kruger Senior Fisheries Biologist, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment 989-826-3211 ext. 7073 or krugerk@michigan.gov

Completed proposals should be sent via email (or alternately US mail) to:

Upper Peninsula Power Company
Attn: Shawn Puzen, Environmental Consultant
P.O. Box 19002
Green Bay, WI 54307
SCPuzen@integrysgroup.com

After distribution of proposals the BFIT will meet to discuss the proposals. The meeting should be scheduled early enough to allow sufficient time for additional fact-finding and clarification of the proposals if needed and to reach a decision on selection.

UPPCO will notify the project manager in writing as soon as practical after funding decisions are made.

Multiple year projects selected by the BFIT will be funded as determined during the initial project selection process. Progress reports will be required for multiple year projects as directed by the BFIT. Funding for successive years of a multiple year project will be made only if acceptable progress is made in the preceding year(s) of the project. Acceptable progress will be determined by the BFIT.

If a project already underway is changed or modified for any reason, the project manager must notify the BFIT of the changes and the reason for the changes. Modifications may include: schedule, location, informational extent of project, goals, or performance measures. The revised project will be reviewed by the BFIT to verify that it still satisfies the selection criteria and that the funding of the project should be continued. If a project is not selected in one year, it may be resubmitted in subsequent years for reconsideration.

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MEF Selection Criteria

The BFIT will select projects by prioritizing them based on the likely value to the habitat of the Ontonagon River watershed, ability to achieve stated objectives, and cost effectiveness of the proposals. The BFIT will also give priority to projects that are compatible with and identified as a management option in the MDNRE's Ontonagon River Assessment. The selection of projects will be at the discretion of the BFIT.

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MEF Project Proposal Format

BFIT member organizations seeking MEF funding must complete the proposal form and properly submit the form on time. The BFIT will not normally accept late proposals. MEF projects should be proposed using the format shown below. This format should be expanded to as many pages as necessary to provide details needed to help in the selection process. Project proposals should include sufficient detail to allow the BFIT to determine the benefits and impact within the basin. The proposal should clearly state the goals of the project and performance measures linked to the goals. If the proposed project is multi-year, the project budget must include expected annual expenditures and the total project cost. If a project is or may be funded from multiple sources, the other funding sources should be identified. The proposal must adequately describe the nexus between the project and the Ontonagon River Watershed Assessment.

All information gathered and conclusions reached by funded projects will become public information. No funded projects will be allowed to consider information or conclusions developed by the project as privileged information.

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Project Follow-up Reports

All funded projects must file reports that describe how the project is meeting, or has met, the performance measures, goals, and objectives outlined in the project proposal. An effective progress reporting schedule will be critical to having a proposal selected for funding. Proposals must include a schedule for progress reports and a final report. At a minimum, progress reports should be provided every 6 months after project initiation. Any delays must be explained in the progress report and any change in scheduled completion will need advance approval from the BFIT. In addition to progress reports, a final report must be provided at project completion or by April 1 of the following year (the year after funding was received).

For multiple year projects, the BFIT reserves the right to cancel project funding for multiple year projects that do not meet objectives, are not providing progress reports in a timely fashion, are significantly delayed, or are not performing to standards.

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