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Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
15.254 OSM/VISTA AmeriCorps

AUTHORIZATION:

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977; Public Law 95-87; 91 Stat. 445-532.
OBJECTIVES: Click here for help!
To work with community and volunteer watershed groups in the Appalachian coal country and in western mining towns impoverished by environmental degradation to build local capacity, strengthen environmental stewardship, enhance outreach and education initiatives, engage economic redevelopment, provide professional development for OSMRE/VISTAs, and build stronger partnerships with agencies and industry.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE:

Direct Payments for Specified Use
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USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS:

To support and innovative partnership working directly for watershed groups concerned with poverty, environmental reclamation and safety, and community environmental stewardship and economic improvement.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Applicant Eligibility:   All interns accepted to participate in the OSM Watershed Intern Program must be interested in and able to work in support of a public or private nonprofit institution/organization. Applicants are required to have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies or the equivalent.

OSM/AmericCorps* VISTA requires qualified watershed groups to be nonprofit organizations or be sponsored by a nonprofit. Established watershed organizations in the following states are currently participating: Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Beneficiary Eligibility:   Watershed organizations in communities impacted by streams polluted by acid mine drainage will benefit from this program.

Credentials/Documentation:   Proof of not-for-profit, IRS 501(c)(3), status is required of nonprofit watershed organizations. Proof of student status or the completion of two years of college is required of all intern applicants. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

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APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCESS:
Pre-application Coordination:   Preapplication coordination is not applicable. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure:   This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Guidelines for application are provided by the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et.al. (2 CFR, Part 200). Guidelines and application procedures can also be obtained from the OSMRE website, www.osmre.gov Paper copy of guidelines and application procedures can be obtained from the OSMRE headquarters.

Award Procedure:   OSMRE has cooperative agreements with a non-profit sponsor for the OSMRE/VISTA Team and OSMRE Interns. Team support offices, managed through the non-profit sponsor, handle OSMRE/VISTA applications from sites and individuals, screen and rank applications, and oversee the administration of the program. The non-profit sponsor oversees the distribution of stipends for OSMRE Interns. For more information see: www.osmrevista.org and www.gobridgenet.org.

Deadlines:   Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   

Not Applicable.

Appeals:   

Not Applicable.

Renewals:   

Not Applicable.

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ASSISTANCE CONSIDERATIONS:

Formula and Matching Requirements:   

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: This program has no statutory formula. Partners are encouraged to make monetary contributions or provide in-kind services. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   

The intern program is usually a full-time position for 10-15 weeks. Each OSMRE/VISTA position is awarded to the host organization for a three-year full-time period. Each OSMRE/VISTA Volunteer must make, at least, a one year commitment. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded: www.osmrevista.org or www.gobridgenet.org. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Information not available.

POST ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Reports:   Quarterly and a final programmatic report is required. Cash reports are not applicable. Progress reports are not applicable. Quarterly and a final financial report using the Federal Financial Report SF 425 are required. Quarterly performance is required.

Audits:   In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records:   Records will be maintained in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR Chapter I, Chapter II, Part 200, et.al. (2 CFR, Part 200).

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

Account Identification:  

14-5015-0-2-999.

Obligations:   (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 15 $200,000; FY 16 est $200,000; and FY 17 est $200,000 - OSMRE/VISTA Team. (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 15 $33,000; FY 16 est $33,000; and FY 17 Estimate Not Available - OSMRE Intern Program.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:  

OSMRE/VISTA Team: Range and average $200,000. OSMRE Intern Program: Range and average $33,000.

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PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Fiscal Year 2015: OSMRE/Vista Teams forged 1,556 partnerships among community groups, both state and federal agencies, and local businesses; spreading commitment, adding new sources of support and enabling an expanded agenda for community improvement.

OSMRE/VISTA Teams secured $532,480 in cash resources and non-grant resources for their communities. Fiscal Year 2016: OSMRE/VISTA Teams logged 32,114 volunteer service hours from local citizens to monitor polluted water, plant trees on abandoned mine land sites, work with local schools and much more.

OSMRE/VISTA Teams generated $716,000 in grants secured for their partner organization. Fiscal Year 2017: Information not available.

REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND LITERATURE:

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Section 404, Public Law 95-87.

INFORMATION CONTACTS:

Regional or Local Office:   See Regional Agency Offices. See Catalog Appendix IV for addresses.

Headquarters Office:   Director, Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, 1951 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20240 Phone: (202) 208-2585.

Web Site Address:   http://www.osmre.gov

EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS:

Fiscal Year 2015: While OSMRE does not directly fund "projects" the funding provided supports non-profit, voluntary, community watershed associations whose projects engage their communities in identifying AMD problems as well as potential solutions and address related watershed/community projects.

In an effort to seek ways to reignite and engage economic redevelopment in Wyoming County, WV, OSMRE/VISTA working at the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, Inc. (RAIL), and RAIL President Dewey Houck, gathered state and community leaders in Mullens, WV to discuss the future of agricultural education, farming, and land use in the county. The main focus of discussion was on the use of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) and developing youth leadership opportunities in southern West Virginia. The idea is to convert AML areas to mass-yielding high-tunnel farms, which would provide food for local schools, revenue for local residents and opportunities for young farmers, an idea that met with resounding community support. Event participants heard from Agricultural Commissioner Walt Helmick (the first WV Agricultural Commissioner to visit Wyoming County), and a panel of state officials and community leaders. Community leaders and officials shared resources, program, knowledge, and possibilities for funding with local community members to drive this new initiative. With 22% of Wyoming County residents living at or below the poverty line, a program that utilizes Abandoned Mine Lands as important resources in creating community benefits can create sustainable enterprise in the county. Fiscal Year 2016: OSMRE/VISTA, serving with Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) (Morgantown, WV) completed multiple projects focused on acid mine drainage (AMD), remediation, and public interpretation. Most notably, the VISTA completed the Richard Mine Community Report on the largest single source of contamination within the Deckers Creek watershed and the last serious AMD discharge to remain untreated. The report compiled the history of the mine, AMD chemistry and local geology, potential treatment methods and costs, and potential economic benefits. The report was funded through an EPA Urban Small Waters grant and serves as an important outreach tool for FODC in raising awareness of issues surrounding AMD discharge from the Richard Mine.

OSMRE/VISTA serving with the Schuylkill Headwaters Association (Pennsylvania), is continually finding ways to introduce new career opportunities to low-income students by partnering with local organizations. One major partnership is with The Blue Mountain School District. Students from the middle and high school spent the day at the Silver Creek abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment system where they learned about the history of mining in the area, how AMD is formed, and how the Silver Creek system is working to clean the water. Fiscal Year 2017: Information not available.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PROPOSALS:

Each proposed watershed project must clearly enhance the sustainability of the watershed organization and must contribute directly to the remediation of acid mine drainage. Candidates must be able to organize their work, work well with community groups and on their own, have an understanding of acid mine drainage remediation and the national Clean Streams program, and write well.

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