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RULE §61.135Grants for Community Outreach Outdoor Programs

(a) Program purpose and priorities. All grant applications submitted to the department for community outdoor outreach programs are evaluated for program eligibility and prioritized according to the Project Priority Scoring System set forth in this section. In general, recommended priorities for community outdoor outreach projects are:

  (1) to ensure applicant compliance on previous grants;

  (2) to improve community outdoor outreach opportunities for inner-city, rural, low-income (for the purposes of this section, low income is defined as median income or lower according to the most recent U.S. census ()), ethnic minority, female, physically/mentally challenged, and youth citizens;

  (3) to reward partnerships between local applicants and other organized groups;

  (4) to increase the number of participants served;

  (5) to maximize the use of funds for direct community outdoor outreach opportunities;

  (6) to reward commitment of applicant resources;

  (7) to increase use of TPWD programs, personnel and facilities;

  (8) to serve youth-at-risk;

  (9) to promote activities related to TPWD initiatives; and

  (10) to reduce priority of new funding for applicants who have not fulfilled all previous grant reimbursement requirements.

(b) Community outdoor outreach program project priority scoring system.

  (1) Community outdoor outreach projects shall be scored according to the criteria, rating factors, and point values set forth in this subsection.

  (2) The priority ranking of a project will depend on its score in relation to the scores of other projects under consideration.

  (3) Funding of projects will depend on the availability of TRPA funds.

  (4) If the applicant is in full compliance with previously assisted grant projects in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter, the application will be scored and presented for award consideration. If the applicant does not meet the requirements of this paragraph, the application will not be scored or considered further.

  (5) A project proposal meeting the requirements of paragraph (4) of this subsection shall be evaluated according to:

    (A) Project description: 0-5 points. Project description should provide a basic overview that:

      (i) allows the department to quickly determine the key points of the project (location, time, scope, rationale, etc.);

      (ii) describes the goals and objectives of the project;

      (iii) includes an assessment instrument for measuring project progress from initiation to completion;

      (iv) addresses risk-management measures (safety training, first aid, etc.); and

      (v) includes an itemized list of expenses to be paid by co-op funds.

    (B) Project Action Plan: 0-3 points. A project action plan should include:

      (i) a one-year timeline for the project, beginning within six months of grant approval and proceeding to completion; and

      (ii) a detailed description of proposed sites, dates, and planned activities.

    (C) Budget Summary: 0-3 points. A budget summary should explain proposed expenses and costs, the dollar value of the grant being requested, and applicant's contribution.

    (D) Resolution: 1 point. An applicant is ineligible for a grant award under this subchapter unless the application includes a resolution signed by a governing board or authorized official that:

      (i) specifically authorizes the submission of the grant application to the department;

      (ii) identifies any sponsorship contribution;

      (iii) designates a project official by name; and

      (iv) is dated. A resolution bearing a date more than one year preceding the date of submission will not be accepted.

    (E) Proposed project's primary constituency. Maximum of 15 points.

      (i) inner city (city must have population of 100,000 or greater): 2 points, based on population figures of applicant location (may be inner-city or rural or neither, but not both);

      (ii) rural (cities or counties of 20,000 or less population: 2 points, based on population figures of applicant location (may be inner-city or rural or neither, but not both);

      (iii) ethnic minority (ethnic minorities within served population greater than or equal to 50% of total served population): 3 points;

      (iv) female (females within served population greater than or equal to 50% of total served population): 3 points;

      (v) low-income greater than or equal to 50% of total served population: 3 points;

      (vi) physically/mentally challenged (includes ADD, ADHD, special education and must be stated in a number or percentage of total population served): 2 points;

      (vii) youth must be stated in number or percentage served (age 17 and under): 2 points.

    (F) Proposed project encourages partnerships with organized groups. Application must include partnership letters from the partnering organization. Letters of endorsement will not receive credit. One point shall be awarded for each partnership agreement that commits cash contributions, volunteer labor, program materials, physical facilities use, transportation, food, etc. Letters must be current, dated, signed and state what the partners are providing to the program as well as the value of the contribution applicable. Maximum of 4 points.

    (G) Number of program participants the proposed project will serve. One point awarded per 25 persons served, up to a maximum of 10 points.

    (H) The extent to which the proposed project prioritizes direct service costs. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the direct service delivery costs by the total project cost and multiplying the result by 10. Maximum of 10 points.

    (I) The extent to which the applicant's funds and resources are committed to the project. Points shall be awarded on a percentage basis, determined by dividing the local/applicant funds by the total project cost and multiplying the result by 4. Applicant must provide auditable proof of the contribution. Maximum of 4 points.

    (J) The extent of the proposed project's direct relationship with TPWD programs and/or facilities. Maximum of 5 points. One point shall be awarded per instance of:

      (i) TPWD facility used (must name each department facility);

      (ii) TPWD personnel involvement (must provide letter of coordination from TPWD staff); and/or

      (iii) TPWD program provided (must identify each program).

    (K) Project specifically serves at-risk youth. Maximum of 4 points, as follows:

      (i) one point for each activity serving at-risk youth through natural resource mentoring programs; and

      (ii) two points for each activity serving at-risk youth through natural resource career development programs.

    (L) Project proposes activities related to TPWD initiatives. One point shall be awarded for each proposed activity related to a TPWD initiative (e.g., fishing, camping, hunting, environmental education, or other outdoor activity). Maximum of 5 points.

    (M) Project includes an outdoor service project. Eligible service projects must be related to the department's mission. Projects must be described in detail and must include a partnership letter from the involved entities or organizations. Examples of eligible service projects include but are not limited to: trail or habitat restoration, planting native vegetation, wildlife monitoring, students mentoring students and building/distributing bird houses. Maximum of 3 points. Points will be awarded on the following criteria:

      (i) environmental/conservation needs addressed by the proposed service project and how the proposed service project will address the needs identified in subparagraph (E) of this paragraph;

      (ii) the direct involvement of youth in the planning and problem solving process; and

      (iii) the prospective impact of the service project on youth and the community.

    (N) Applicant has fulfilled all previous community outdoor outreach grant reimbursement requirements. If no, deduct points from the application score determined by multiplying the remaining unspent grant balance by .0015 percent.

Source Note: The provisions of this §61.135 adopted to be effective August 31, 2000, 25 TexReg 8409; amended to be effective May 1, 2005, 30 TexReg 2556; amended to be effective July 3, 2008, 33 TexReg 5012; amended to be effective February 2, 2009, 34 TexReg 666; amended to be effective July 15, 2014, 39 TexReg 5407

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