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e-CFR data is current as of January 15, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter BPart 923 → Subpart K


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 923—COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM REGULATIONS


Subpart K—Coastal Zone Enhancement Grants Program


Contents
§923.121   General.
§923.122   Objectives.
§923.123   Definitions.
§923.124   Allocation of section 309 funds.
§923.125   Criteria for section 309 project selection.
§923.126   Pre-application procedures.
§923.127   Formal application for financial assistance and application review and approval procedures.
§923.128   Revisions to assessments and strategies.

Authority: Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456).

Source: 57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992, unless otherwise noted. Redesignated at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996.

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§923.121   General.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to set forth the criteria and procedures for awarding coastal zone enhancement grants under section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1456). This subpart describes the criteria States must address in developing and implementing coastal zone enhancement objectives, the procedures for allocating section 309 funds between weighted formula and individual review of proposals of special merit, how the amount of section 309 weighted formula grants will be determined, the criteria NOAA will use to evaluate and rank individual proposals of special merit, and the procedures for applying for financial assistance under section 309. This subpart also allows use of section 309 funds for implementation of program changes for up to 2 fiscal years following the fiscal year in which a program change was approved.

(b) A coastal State with an approved program under section 306 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1455), is eligible for grants under this subpart if the State meets the following requirements:

(1) The State must have a NOAA approved Assessment and Strategy, submitted in accordance with NOAA guidance and 923.128;

(2) The State must be found to be adhering to its approved program and must be making satisfactory progress in performing grant tasks under section 306, as indicated by not being under interim or final sanctions; and

(3) The State must be making satisfactory progress in carrying out its previous year's award under section 309.

(c) If the Assistant Administrator finds that a State is not undertaking the actions committed to under the terms of a section 309 grant, the Assistant Administrator shall suspend the State's eligibility for future funding under this section for at least one year.

(d) A State's eligibility for future funding under this section will be restored after the State demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Assistant Administrator, that it will conform with the requirements under this part.

(e) Funds awarded to States under section 309 are for the enhancement of existing coastal zone management programs. A State which reduces overall State financial support for its CZM program as a result of having been awarded section 309 funding may lose eligibility for funding under section 309 in subsequent years.

(f) All applications for funding under section 309 of the CZMA, as amended, including proposed work programs, funding priorities and funding awards, are subject to the administrative discretion of the Assistant Administrator and any additional NOAA guidance.

(g) Grants awarded under section 309 may be used:

(1) To support up to 100 percent of the allowable costs of approved projects under section 309 of the CZMA, as amended; or

(2) To implement program changes approved by the Secretary for up to two fiscal years following the fiscal year in which a program change was approved.

(h) All application forms are to be requested from and submitted to: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Coastal Programs Division, 1305 East-West Highway (N/ORM3), Silver Spring, MD 20910.

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996; 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

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§923.122   Objectives.

(a) The objective of assistance provided under this part is to encourage each State with a federally-approved coastal management program to continually improve its program in specified areas of national importance. The Secretary is authorized to make grants to a coastal State for the development and submission for Federal approval of program changes that support attainment of one or more coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(b) As required by section 309(a) of the Act, for purposes of this part, the term coastal zone enhancement objective means any of the following objectives:

(1) Protection, restoration, or enhancement of the existing coastal wetlands base, or creation of new coastal wetlands.

(2) Preventing or significantly reducing threats to life and destruction of property by eliminating development and redevelopment in high-hazard areas, managing development in other hazard areas, and anticipating and managing the effects of potential sea level rise and Great Lakes level rise.

(3) Attaining increased opportunities for public access, taking into account current and future public access needs, to coastal areas of recreational, historical, aesthetic, ecological, or cultural value.

(4) Reducing marine debris entering the Nation's coastal and ocean environment by managing uses and activities that contribute to the entry of such debris.

(5) Development and adoption of procedures to assess, consider, and control cumulative and secondary impacts of coastal growth and development, including the collective effect on various individual uses or activities on coastal resources, such as coastal wetlands and fishery resources.

(6) Preparing and implementing special area management plans for important coastal areas.

(7) Planning for the use of ocean resources.

(8) Adoption of procedures and enforceable policies to help facilitate the siting of energy facilities and Government facilities and energy-related activities and Government activities which may be of greater than local significance.

(9) Adoption of procedures and policies to evaluate and facilitate the siting of public and private aquaculture facilities in the coastal zone, which will enable States to formulate, administer, and implement strategic plans for marine aquaculture.

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated at 61 FR 33818, June 28, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

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§923.123   Definitions.

(a) Program change means “routine program change” as defined in 15 CFR 923.84 and “amendment” as defined in 15 CFR 923.80, and includes the following:

(1) A change to coastal zone boundaries that will improve a State's ability to achieve one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(2) New or revised authorities, including statutes, regulations, enforceable policies, administrative decisions, executive orders, and memoranda of agreement/understanding, that will improve a State's ability to achieve one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(3) New or revised local coastal programs and implementing ordinances that will improve a State's ability to achieve one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(4) New or revised coastal land acquisition, management and restoration programs that improve a State's ability to attain one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(5) New or revised Special Area Management Plans or plans for Areas of Particular Concern (APC), including enforceable policies and other necessary implementing mechanisms or criteria and procedures for designating and managing APCs that will improve a State's ability to achieve one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(6) New or revised guidelines, procedures and policy documents which are formally adopted by a State and provide specific interpretations of enforceable CZM policies to applicants, local governments and other agencies that will result in meaningful improvements in coastal resource management and that will improve a State's ability to attain one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(b) Assessment means a public document, prepared by a State and approved by NOAA in accordance with guidance on Assessments and Strategies issued by NOAA (hereafter referred to as the guidance1), that identifies the State's priority needs for improvement with regard to the coastal zone enhancement objectives. The Assessment determines the extent to which problems and opportunities exist with regard to each of the coastal zone enhancement objectives and the effectiveness of efforts to address those problems. The Assessment includes the factual basis for NOAA and the States to determine the priority needs for improvement of management programs in accordance with this part.

1NOAA guidance is available from the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Coastal Programs Division, 1305 East-West Highway (N/ORM3), Silver Spring, MD 20910.

(c) Strategy means a comprehensive, multi-year statement of goals and the methods for their attainment, prepared by a State in accordance with NOAA guidance and these regulations and approved by NOAA, that sets forth the specific program changes the State will seek to achieve in one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives. The Strategy will address only the priority needs for improvement identified by the Assistant Administrator, after careful consultation with the State. The strategy will include specific task descriptions, cost estimates and milestones, as appropriate.

(d) Weighted Formula Project means a project or task for which NOAA awards funding based on the criteria at §923.125(a). Such tasks are essential to meeting the milestones and objectives of each state's strategy. As funding for weighted formula tasks is more predictable than for projects of special merit, basic functions necessary to achieve the objectives of the strategy, such as hiring of full time staff should be included in weighted formula tasks.

(e) Projects of Special Merit (PSM) means a project or task that NOAA will rank and evaluate based on criteria at §923.125(b). As PSM funds will be awarded competitively on an annual basis, these projects should further the objectives of the strategy but may not be essential to meeting specific benchmarks in the strategy. PSM projects should not be dependent on long term levels of funding to succeed.

(f) Fiscal needs means the extent to which a State must rely solely on Federal funds to complete a project under section 309 because State funds are not otherwise available.

(g) Technical needs means the extent to which a State lacks trained personnel or equipment or access to trained personnel or equipment to complete a project under section 309.

(h) Assistant Administrator means the Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management, or the NOAA Official responsible for directing the Federal Coastal Zone Management Program.

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, 33819, June 28, 1996]

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§923.124   Allocation of section 309 funds.

(a)(1) As required by section 309(e) of the Act, a State will not be required to contribute any portion of the cost of any proposal for which funding is awarded under this section.

(2) As required by section 309(f) of the Act, beginning in fiscal year 1991, not less than 10 percent and not more than 20 percent of the amounts appropriated to implement sections 306 and 306A of the Act shall be retained by the Secretary for use in implementing this section, up to a maximum of $10,000,000 annually.

(b) The Assistant Administrator will annually determine the amount of funds to be devoted to section 309, which shall be not less than 10 percent nor more than 20 percent of the total amount appropriated under section 318(a)(2) of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1464), taking into account the total amount appropriated under section 318(a)(2). The total amount of funds to be devoted to section 309 shall not exceed $10,000,000 annually.

(c) Of the total amount determined in paragraph (b) of this section, the Assistant Administrator will annually determine the proportion to be awarded to eligible coastal States by weighted formula and the proportion to be awarded to eligible coastal States for projects of special merit. This determination will take into account the total amount appropriated under section 318(a)(2) of the CZMA, as amended.

(d) Weighted formula funding. (1)(i) A weighted formula funding target will be determined for each State that meets the eligibility requirements at §923.121(b). The weighted formula funding target will be the State base allocation determined by the application of the formula at §923.110(c), multiplied by a weighting factor derived from the Assistant Administrator's evaluation and ranking of the quality of the State's Strategy (as described in (d)(1) of this section), as supported by the State's Assessment.

(ii) The application of the weighting factor may result in a weighted formula funding target that is higher or lower than the State's base allocation. Each State's weighted formula funding target will be adjusted to reflect the funds available.

(iii) The Assistant Administrator may establish minimum and maximum weighted formula funding targets under §923.124(d).

(2) The Assistant Administrator will determine each State's weighting factor based on an evaluation and ranking of the State's Strategy that takes into consideration the following:

(i) The scope and value of the proposed program change(s) contained in the Strategy in terms of improved coastal resource management;

(ii) The technical merits of the Strategy in terms of project design and cost effectiveness;

(iii) The likelihood of success that the State will have in attaining the proposed program change(s), including an evaluation of the State's past performance and support for the Strategy; and,

(iv) The fiscal and technical needs of the State.

(3) Each State will be notified individually of its weighting factor, the reasons for assigning this weighting factor, and any changes thereto. In consultation with the Assistant Administrator, a State may choose to make substantive changes to its approved Assessment and Strategy to improve its weighting factor, in accordance with the procedures at §923.128.

(e) Funding for projects of special merit. The Assistant Administrator will award the remaining section 309 funds, which are not awarded under §923.124(d), to States based on an annual evaluation and ranking of projects of special merit, as defined in §923.123(d). Funding of projects of special merit will be limited to the highest ranked projects based on the criteria at §923.125(b).

(f) The Assistant Administrator will notify each State annually of the total amount of funds to be devoted to section 309 pursuant to §923.124(b), the proportion to be awarded by weighted formula pursuant to §923.124(c), the State's weighted formula funding target pursuant to §923.124(d), and the total amount of funds available for funding for projects of special merit pursuant to §923.124(e).

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, 33819, June 28, 1996]

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§923.125   Criteria for section 309 project selection.

(a) Section 309 criteria for weighted formula funding. (1) For those projects that will be funded by weighted formula, the Assistant Administrator will determine that:

(i) The project is consistent with the State's approved Assessment and Strategy and advances the attainment of the objectives of the Strategy;

(ii) Costs are reasonable and necessary to achieve the objectives of both the project and the Strategy. Allowability of costs will be determined in accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular A-87: Cost Principles for State and Local Governments

(iii) The project is technically sound;

(iv) The State has an effective plan to ensure proper and efficient administration of the project; and

(v) The State has submitted the required project information as specified in §923.126(b)(1).

(2) In reviewing projects that will be considered under the weighted formula, the Assistant Administrator will take into consideration the fiscal and technical needs of proposing States and the overall merit of each proposal in terms of benefits to the public.

(b) Section 309 criteria for evaluation and ranking of projects of special merit. (1) After determining those projects that will be funded under weighted formula funding, the Assistant Administrator will evaluate and rank State funding proposals of special merit which may be funded under 15 CFR 932.4(e).

(2) In addition to meeting the criteria in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, proposals will be evaluated and ranked under this subsection using the following criteria:

(i) Merit. (90 points) The Assistant Administrator will review each application to determine the following:

(A) Degree to which the project significantly advances the program improvements and leads to a program change identified in the State's Strategy. In making this determination, the Assistant Administrator shall consider the weighting factor derived from the evaluation of the quality of the State's Strategy, as supported by the State's Assessment, relative to the weighting factors assigned to other eligible States;

(B) Overall benefit of the project to the public relative to the project's cost;

(C) Innovativeness of the proposal;

(D) Transferability of the results to problems in other coastal States; and

(E) The State's past performance under section 309.

(ii) Fiscal needs. (5 points) The Assistant Administrator will review each application to determine the “fiscal needs” of a State as defined in §923.123(e).

(iii) Technical needs. (5 points) The Assistant Administrator will review each application to determine the “technical needs” of a State as defined in §923.123(f).

(c) Section 309 funds not awarded to States under §923.125(a) will be awarded to States under §923.125(b).

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, 33819, June 28, 1996]

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§923.126   Pre-application procedures.

(a) Pre-submission consultation. Each State is strongly encouraged to consult with the Assistant Administrator prior to the submission of its draft proposal (see §923.126(b)) and formal application for section 309 funding. The purpose of the consultation will be to determine whether the proposed projects are consistent with the purposes and objectives of section 309 and with the State's approved Strategy, to resolve any questions concerning eligibility for funding under section 309 (see §923.121(b)), and to discuss preliminarily the State's recommendations regarding which projects should be funded by weighted formula and which projects should be individually evaluated and ranked as projects of special merit.

(b) Draft proposals. States shall submit draft proposals for section 309 funding annually on a schedule to be determined by the Assistant Administrator. These draft proposals shall contain all of the information needed for final application, including the following:

(1) A clear and concise description of the projects that the State proposes to be funded under section 309. This description shall explain the relationship of each proposed project to the State's approved Assessment and Strategy and how each proposed project will accomplish all or part of a program change that the State has identified in its Strategy. In addition, each project description shall include:

(i) A specific timetable for completion of each project;

(ii) A description of the activities that will be undertaken to complete each project and by whom;

(iii) The identification of any subawardees, pursuant to §923.94(d)(3)(ii); and

(iv) The estimated total cost for each project.

(2) Section 309 funds may be used for any of the following allowable uses which support the attainment of a program change:

(i) Personnel costs;

(ii) Supplies and overhead;

(iii) Travel;

(iv) Equipment (pursuant to 15 CFR part 24);

(v) Projects, studies and reports; and

(vi) Contractual costs including subcontracts, subawards, personal service contracts with individuals, memoranda of agreement/understanding, and other forms of passthrough funding for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of section 309.

(3) Funds may not be used for land acquisition or low cost construction projects.

(4) The State may recommend which projects should be funded by weighted formula under §923.125(a) and which projects should be funded as projects of special merit under §923.125(b).

(5) The draft proposal shall contain documentation of fiscal needs and technical needs, if any. This documentation shall include:

(i) For fiscal needs, information on the current State budget (surplus or deficit), the budget of the applying agency (increase or decrease over previous fiscal year), future budget projections, and what efforts have been made by the applying agency, if any, to secure additional State funds from the Legislature and/or from off-budget sources such as user fees; and

(ii) For technical needs, identification of the technical knowledge, skills and equipment that are needed to carry out proposed projects and that are not available to the applying agency, and what efforts the applying agency has made, if any, to obtain the trained personnel and equipment it needs (for example, through agreements with other State agencies).

(6) The Assistant Administrator may request additional documentation of fiscal and technical needs.

(7) Following the first year of funding under section 309, the draft proposal shall describe how the past year's work contributed to the attainment of a program change as defined in §923.123(a) in one or more of the coastal zone enhancement objectives.

(8) If the sum of estimated project costs for projects the State recommends be funded under §923.125(a) exceeds the State's weighted formula funding target pursuant to §923.124(d), NOAA shall determine, in consultation with the State, which projects are appropriate for funding with weighted formula funds.

(c) Review of draft proposals. (1) The Assistant Administrator will make the final determination of which projects should be funded by weighted formula and which projects should be funded as projects of special merit, taking into account the State's recommendations.

(2) The Assistant Administrator may seek advice from technical experts in the fields of the coastal zone enhancement objectives as to the technical soundness and overall merit of section 309 project proposals.

(3) The Assistant Administrator will make the final determinations on project selection using the criteria at §923.125(a) and evaluate and rank projects of special merit based on the criteria at §923.125(b).

(4) If the Assistant Administrator determines that a State's project proposal(s) for weighted formula funding fails to meet the criteria at §923.125(a), the Assistant Administrator may either reduce or deny the amount available to the State under §923.124(d).

(5) Each state will be notified of the results of the review of draft proposals, as described in paragraphs (c) (3) and (4) of this section, in time to include approved section 309 projects in their applications for financial assistance pursuant to subpart I of 15 CFR part 923.

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, 33819, June 28, 1996]

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§923.127   Formal application for financial assistance and application review and approval procedures.

(a) Applications for financial assistance under this part must be developed and submitted on the same schedule as applications for financial assistance under subpart I of 15 CFR part 923.

(b) Applications for financial assistance under this part must be in a separate section of the application and must contain the information specified at §923.126(b)(1) for each approved section 309 project.

(c) Applications will be reviewed for conformance with the regulations at subpart I of 15 CFR part 923.

(d) States will be notified of their section 309 awards at the time they are notified of their section 306/306A awards.

(e) If the Assistant Administrator seeks technical advice pursuant to §923.126(c)(2), anonymous copies of the project reviews provided to the Assistant Administrator on projects proposed by a State will be made available to the State upon request after October 1 of each year.

[57 FR 31116, July 14, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 61 FR 33818, 33819, June 28, 1996]

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§923.128   Revisions to assessments and strategies.

(a) A State, in consultation with the Assistant Administrator, may propose to revise its approved Strategy. Revision(s) to an approved Strategy must be submitted to and approved by the Assistant Administrator prior to the initiation of the contemplated change.

(b) The Assistant Administrator will review such proposed revision(s) and determine if public review and comment is required. This determination will be based on the extent to which the proposed revision(s) changes the original scope of the State's Strategy.

(c) If the Assistant Administrator determines that public review and comment is necessary, he/she will notify the State of his/her determination. The State will be required to provide public review and comment in accordance with NOAA guidance.

(d) A State that wants to revise substantively the program changes identified in its approved Strategy or to address new enhancement objectives not identified as a priority in the original Assessment, also must revise the Assessment through a public process as described in NOAA's guidance.

(e) The Assistant Administrator, in consultation with the State, may reduce a state's weighting factor assigned to its Strategy as a result of failure to meet the milestones in its Strategy.

(f) The Assistant Administrator will notify the State of his/her decision to approve or deny the proposed revision(s) to the Strategy, and any change in the weighting factor assigned to its Strategy.

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