1. How does the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program work?
SRC Aggregator Startup Grants fund technical and outreach work to identify cost-effective GI opportunities.
DOEE expects that participants will develop GI at the most optimal locations so that they can participate in the SRC Price Lock Program. Participation in the SRC Price Lock Program will allow the project to sell their SRCs to DOEE if they cannot find a seller on the market.
2. How many applications will be accepted? Is there an application deadline?
Applications will be reviewed as they are received as long as funding is available. DOEE is currently accepting applications for the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant program, with individual grants of up to $75,000 each. The call for applications will be closed once funding has been fully allocated, although it may be reopened if additional funds become available. DOEE’s non-profit partner, the Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) will notify you of a decision within two weeks of your application.
DOEE expects that the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program will make it easier to generate SRCs on land owned by non-profits, such as churches, cemeteries, schools, and similar institutions. DOEE will prioritize funding for these projects.
3. What type of entity is eligible to apply to the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program?
Applicants may be non-profit organizations (including those with IRS 501(c)(3) or 501(c) (4) determinations), faith-based organizations, universities and educational intuitions, or private enterprises. Individuals are not eligible to apply.
4. Can I apply for the SRC Price Lock Program for Stormwater Retention Credits generated by GI identified using SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funds?
Yes, DOEE intends for participants in the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program to apply for the SRC Price Lock Program for the sites that have been identified through the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant. To participate, you must submit a separate SRC Price Lock Program application.
5. Why is the use of SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funding restricted to the MS4 area?
The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) receives runoff from about 2/3 of the District. In the MS4 area, stormwater drains directly into waterbodies via overland flow or through a storm sewer, in most cases with no treatment. This makes GI especially important in areas served by the MS4, but DOEE estimates that a GI retrofit of the entire MS4 would cost over $7 billion.
In the Combined Sewer System (CSS), which receives runoff from about 1/3 of the District, rain can cause the sewer to overflow, dumping sewage mixed with stormwater directly into our waterbodies. Large tunnels are under construction to prevent overflow from the CSS and ensure that it is treated at the Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant before it is discharged.
Click on a location in the map below to see if it is located in the MS4 or CSS areas:
6. Do I need to secure funding for implementing GI on sites identified through the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program prior to applying?
No, applicants are not required to have secured funding for GI construction. However, DOEE’s expectation is that participation in the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program and subsequent participation in the SRC Price Lock Program will assist you in identifying and securing funding sources. All else equal, applications that include a credible plan for securing funding for implementation will receive higher scores during the review process, with additional points for having already secured this funding.
7. Will I be required to construct GI opportunities identified or GI plans developed using SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funding? Will property owners be required to do so?
No, neither grantees nor property owners are required to construct GI concept designs. However, you should not apply for the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program unless you have a serious interest in pursuing a GI project.
8. Can I use SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funds to identify GI opportunities on sites where large development or redevelopment projects are planned or underway?
SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funds cannot be used to develop GI designs to comply with regulatory requirements for a project triggering the District’s stormwater management regulations. For large properties where regulated projects are occurring (such as campuses), there may be other areas on the property that are eligible for evaluation under an SRC Aggregator Startup Grant.
9. Why can’t I participate in the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program for areas that have existing GI or other BMPs?
If a site has BMPs (including GI and other BMPs), then the areas draining to those BMPs cannot be used to generate SRCs for the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program. However, other areas on the same site that do not drain into an existing BMP may be eligible.
DOEE’s goal in establishing the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program was to encourage new GI in the MS4 to capture stormwater runoff from existing impervious surfaces that are not currently draining into BMPs. There are many potential projects that have the ability to generate SRCs by increasing the size of existing GI or existing stormwater treatment BMPs. However, it is more beneficial for the District’s waterbodies for DOEE to support new GI in areas that are currently unmanaged. Additionally, many existing BMPs were built to comply with the District’s stormwater management regulations.
10. What is an “existing BMP?”
Existing BMPs include stormwater management practices and landscape features that fall into one of the following categories:
- The feature is permitted as a BMP on a Stormwater Management Plan for the property.
- Construction of the feature was funded (in whole or in part) through a DOEE program.
- The feature is substantially similar to a BMP type listed in the Stormwater Management Guidebook. If it is unclear whether a site has an existing BMP that fits this category, program participants must receive a determination from CWP regarding the presence of an existing BMP. CWP’s determination may be involve an evaluation of existing stormwater management plans, review of site photographs, and visual observations.
11. Do I need to have letters of support from property owners in order to apply for a SRC Aggregator Startup Grant?
You are not required to have letters of support from property owners when you apply for a SRC Aggregator Startup Grant. However, you must provide a letter of support from the site owner prior to engaging in more detailed field analysis (utility location, topographic survey, infiltration testing, structural analysis, etc.) and preliminary GI design. This letter of support may be obtained during the grant-funded project period. DOEE expects that grantees will do preliminary assessments and conduct outreach to the owners of suitable properties in order to obtain letters of support in the first phase of their assessment, then move on to this more detailed field analysis in a second phase.
12. Can I apply for the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program in order to identify GI opportunities on publicly-owned land?
Yes, publicly-owned sites can be evaluated with SRC Aggregator Startup Grant funds.
13. Do I need to evaluate a minimum number of sites or a minimum area for GI opportunities in order for my application to be considered?
Applications are not required to include a minimum number of sites or minimum area. However, DOEE expects that projects working across larger areas and multiple sites will be more cost-effective due to economies of scale. All else equal, DOEE expects that these applications will receive higher scores during the review process.
14. Are there restrictions on the type of GI practice that may be included in preliminary designs developed using SRC Aggregator Startup Grants?
At this time, no restrictions have been placed on GI practices beyond the program’s minimum eligibility criteria, as long as the practice is designed to achieve stormwater retention in accordance with the DOEE Stormwater Management Guidebook.
15. What factors will DOEE consider in assessing cost effectiveness? What can I do to make my proposal more cost-effective?
Applicants should explain why their proposed activities are cost-effective in the project description attached to your application. Cost-effectiveness will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and will consider both the cost-effectiveness of the process proposed for identifying GI sites and the likelihood of that process resulting in preliminary designs for cost-effective GI.
As an example, it may be more cost-effective for an SRC Aggregator Startup Grant project to evaluate sites for a particular type of GI practice, which may reduce engineering costs. Other factors that could increase a project’s cost-effectiveness include evaluating numerous GI opportunities across many sites; focusing on sites with similar ownership or land use characteristics; focusing on properties owned by a single entity; focusing within a specific geographic area; focusing on sites suitable for a particular GI practice or design; focusing on sites within the non-tidal MS4; or identifying other sources of matching funds.
16. The SRC Aggregator Startup Grant scoring criteria include achievement of environmental justice benefits. What is environmental justice?
Historically, low-income and minority communities have been disproportionately impacted by pollution, poor environmental quality, and related health hazards. Environmental justice is the concept that environmental benefits and burdens should be shared equally and that all people should be able to participate in decisions that affect their environment.
GI can have a broad range of environmental justice benefits, including improving the quality of waterbodies located in low-income or minority communities; providing co-benefits to these communities including attractive green spaces, improved air quality, and reduced heat island effects; and creating economic opportunities for these communities such as jobs developing, constructing, and maintaining GI.
Applicants should describe any environmental justice benefits that they anticipate resulting from their project. DOEE anticipates that projects may provide these benefits if they:
- are located in low-income or minority communities,
- focus on non-profits such as churches, cemeteries, schools, and similar institutions, particularly those that serve low-income or minority communities,
- focus on the Anacostia River watershed, or
- use vegetated practices that may improve air quality or reduce urban heat.
17. The SRC Aggregator Startup Grant scoring criteria include achievement of additional environmental benefits. What are examples of these benefits?
Additional environmental benefits could include any environmental benefit of GI not related to stormwater management. For example, vegetative practices such as bioretention can also provide wildlife habitat and reduce heat island effects. Applicants should describe any additional environmental benefits that they anticipate resulting from their project.
18. How can my application effectively demonstrate that that my project meets the objectives of the grant?
The application project narrative should directly and specifically address the scoring criteria in the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program Guide. The scoring criteria provide flexibility for different project types, scales and contexts, and you must demonstrate that your project fits the objectives of this grant program.
19. Who is included in the project team? Can one team member satisfy multiple training and experience requirements?
The project team is made up of the individuals associated with the project, including representatives of an SRC aggregator, engineers, and others associated via contract or who are otherwise retained to provide services. These individuals may be affiliated with different organizations participating in the project. The training and experience requirements to participate in these programs can be met by different members of the project team or by a single member of the project team.
20. How many SRC Aggregator Startup Grants can I receive?
The SRC Aggregator Startup Grant program is designed to allow an SRC-aggregating business to receive one grant of up to $75,000. However, being a member of the project team on one grant does not necessarily preclude an individual or contractor from being a member of the project team on another grant. For example, two separate SRC-aggregating businesses could receive separate SRC Aggregator Startup Grants, each working with the same engineering firm to conduct site assessments.
21. What resources does DOEE provide to help me identify potential project partners?
22. Is my project subject to the Limitations on SRC Generation by DOEE-Funded Stormwater Retention BMPs?
Participation in the SRC Aggregator Startup Grant Program does not mean that the project is considered DOEE-funded. These projects will not be subject to the limitations policy.