Subpart C--Acquisition, Development and Preparation of the Final
Sec. 921.20 General.
The acquisition and development period is separated into two major phases. After NOAA approval of the site, draft management plan and draft MOU, and completion of the final EIS, a coastal state is eligible for an initial acquisition and development award(s). In this initial phase, the state should work to meet the criteria required for formal research reserve designation; e.g., establishing adequate state control over the key land and water areas as specified in the draft management plan and preparing the final management plan. These requirements are specified in Sec. 921.30. Minor construction in accordance with the draft management plan may also be conducted during this initial phase. The initial acquisition and development phase is expected to last no longer than three years. If necessary, a longer time period may be negotiated between the state and NOAA. After Reserve designation, a state is eligible for a supplemental acquisition and development award(s) in accordance with Sec. 921.31. In this post-designation acquisition and development phase, funds may be used in accordance with the final management plan to construct research and educational facilities, complete any remaining land acquisition, for program development, and for restorative activities identified in the final management plan. In any case, the amount of Federal financial assistance provided to a coastal state with respect to the acquisition of lands and waters, or interests therein, for any one National Estuarine Research Reserve may not exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs of the lands, waters, and interests therein or $5,000,000, whichever amount is less, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available.
Sec. 921.21 Initial acquisition and development awards.
(a) Assistance is provided to aid the recipient prior to designation
(1) Acquiring a fee simple or less-than-fee simple real property interest in land and water areas to be included in the Reserve boundaries (see Sec. 921.13(a)(7); Sec. 921.30(d));
(2) Minor construction, as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section;
(3) Preparing the final management plan; and
(4) Initial management costs, e.g., for implementing the NOAA approved draft management plan, hiring a Reserve manager and other staff as necessary and for other management-related activities. Application procedures are specified in subpart I.
(b) The expenditure of Federal and state funds on major construction activities is not allowed during the initial acquisition and development phase. The preparation of architectural and engineering plans, including specifications, for any proposed construction, or for proposed restorative activities, is permitted. In addition, minor construction activities, consistent with paragraph (c) of this section also are allowed. The NOAA-approved draft management plan must, however, include a construction plan and a public access plan before any award funds can be spent on construction activities.
(c) Only minor construction activities that aid in implementing portions of the management plan (such as boat ramps and nature trails) are permitted during the initial acquisition and development phase. No more than five (5) percent of the initial acquisition and development award may be expended on such activities. NOAA must make a specific determination, based on the final EIS, that the construction activity will not be detrimental to the environment.
(d) Except as specifically provided in paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section, construction projects, to be funded in whole or in part under an acquisition and development award(s), may not be initiated until the Reserve receives formal designation (see Sec. 921.30). This requirement has been adopted to ensure that substantial progress in establishing adequate state control over key land and water areas has been made and that a final management plan is completed before major sums are spent on construction. Once substantial progress in establishing adequate state control/acquisition has been made, as defined by the state in the management plan, other activities guided by the final management plan may begin with NOAA's approval.
(e) For any real property acquired in whole or part with Federal funds for the Reserve, the state shall execute suitable title documents to include substantially the following provisions, or otherwise append the following provisions in a manner acceptable under applicable state law to the official land record(s):
(1) Title to the property conveyed by this deed shall vest in the [recipient of the award granted pursuant to section 315 of the Act, 16
U.S.C. 1461 or other NOAA approved state agency] subject to the condition that the designation of the [name of National Estuarine
Reserve] is not withdrawn and the property remains part of the federally designated [name of National Estuarine Research Reserve]; and (2) In the event that the property is no longer included as part of the Reserve, or if the designation of the Reserve of which it is part is withdrawn, then NOAA or its successor agency, after full and reasonable consultation with the State, may exercise the following rights regarding the disposition of the property:
(i) The recipient may retain title after paying the Federal
Government an amount computed by applying the Federal percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the current fair market value of the property;
(ii) If the recipient does not elect to retain title, the Federal
Government may either direct the recipient to sell the property and pay the Federal Government an amount computed by applying the Federal percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the proceeds from the sale (after deducting actual and reasonable selling and repair or renovation expenses, if any, from the sale proceeds), or direct the recipient to transfer title to the Federal Government. If directed to transfer title to the Federal Government, the recipient shall be entitled to compensation computed by applying the recipient's percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the current fair market value of the property; and
(iii) Fair market value of the property must be determined by an independent appraiser and certified by a responsible official of the state, as provided by Department of Commerce regulations at 15 CFR part
24, and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for
Federal and Federally assisted programs at 15 CFR part 11.
(f) Upon instruction by NOAA, provisions analogous to those of
Sec. 921.21(e) shall be included in the documentation underlying less-then-fee-simple interests acquired in whole or part with Federal funds.
(g) Federal funds or non-Federal matching share funds shall not be spent to acquire a real property interest in which the state will own the land concurrently with another entity unless the property interest has been identified as a part of an acquisition strategy pursuant to
Sec. 921.13(7) which has been approved by NOAA prior to the effective date of these regulations.
(h) Prior to submitting the final management plan to NOAA for review and approval, the state shall hold a public meeting to receive comment on the plan in the area affected by the estuarine research reserve. NOAA will publish a notice of the meeting in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the public meeting. The state shall be responsible for having a similar notice published in the local newspaper(s).
Subpart D--Reserve Designation and Subsequent Operation
Sec. 921.30 Designation of National Estuarine Research Reserves.
(a) The Under Secretary may designate an area proposed for designation by the Governor of the state in which it is located, as a
National Estuarine Research Reserve if the Under Secretary finds:
(1) The area is a representative estuarine ecosystem that is suitable for long-term research and contributes to the biogeographical and typological balance of the System;
(2) Key land and water areas of the proposed Reserve, as identified in the management plan, are under adequate state control sufficient to provide long-term protection for reserve resources to ensure a stable environment for research;
(3) Designation of the area as a Reserve will serve to enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas, and provide suitable opportunities for public education and interpretation;
(4) A final management plan has been approved by NOAA;
(5) An MOU has been signed between the state and NOAA ensuring a long-term commitment by the state to the effective operation and implementation of the area as a National Estuarine Research Reserve;
(6) All MOU's necessary for reserve management (i.e., with relevant
Federal, state, and local agencies and/or private organizations) have been signed; and
(7) The coastal state in which the area is located has complied with the requirements of subpart B.
(b) NOAA will determine whether the designation of a National
Estuarine Research Reserve in a state with a federally approved coastal zone management program directly affects the coastal zone. If the designation is found to directly affect the coastal zone, NOAA will make a consistency determination pursuant to Sec. 307(c)(1) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1456, and 15 CFR part 930, subpart C. See Sec. 921.4(b). The results of this consistency determination will be published in the
Federal Register when the notice of designation is published. See Sec. 921.30(c).
(c) NOAA will publish the notice of designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Federal Register. The state shall be responsible for having a similar notice published in the local media.
(d) The term state control in Sec. 921.30(a)(3) does not necessarily require that key land and water areas be owned by the state in fee simple. Acquisition of less-than-fee simple interests e.g., conservation easements) and utilization of existing state regulatory measures are encouraged where the state can demonstrate that these interests and measures assure adequate long-term state control consistent with the purposes of the research reserve (see also Secs. 921.13(a)(7); 921.21(g)). Should the state later elect to purchase an interest in such lands using NOAA funds, adequate justification as to the need for such acquisition must be provided to NOAA.
Sec. 921.31 Supplemental acquisition and development awards.
After National Estuarine Research Reserve designation, and as specified in the approved management plan, a coastal state may request a supplemental acquisition and/or development award(s) for acquiring additional property interests identified in the management plan as necessary to strengthen protection of key land and water areas and to enhance long-term protection of the area for research and education, for facility and exhibit construction, for restorative activities identified in the approved management plan, for administrative purposes related to acquisition and/or facility construction and to develop and/or upgrade research, monitoring and education/interpretive programs. Federal financial assistance provided to a National Estuarine Research Reserve for supplemental development costs directly associated with facility construction (i.e., major construction activities) may not exceed 70 percent of the total project cost, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs. NOAA must make a specific determination that the construction activity will not be detrimental to the environment.
Acquisition awards for the acquisition of lands or waters, or interests therein, for any one reserve may not exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs of the lands, waters, and interests therein of
$5,000,000, whichever amount is less, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available. In the case of a biogeographic region (see appendix I) shared by two or more states, each state is eligible independently for Federal financial assistance to establish a separate National Estuarine Research Reserve within their respective portion of the shared biogeographic region. Application procedures are specified in subpart I. Land acquisition must follow the procedures specified in Secs. 921.13(a)(7), 921.21(e) and (f) and 921.81.
Sec. 921.32 Operation and management: Implementation of the management plan.
(a) After the Reserve is formally designated, a coastal state is eligible to receive Federal funds to assist the state in the operation and management of the Reserve including the management of research, monitoring, education, and interpretive programs. The purpose of this
Federally funded operation and management phase is to implement the approved final management plan and to take the necessary steps to ensure the continued effective operation of the Reserve.
(b) State operation and management of the Reserves shall be consistent with the mission, and shall further the goals of the National Estuarine Research Reserve program (see Sec. 921.1).
(c) Federal funds are available for the operation and management of the Reserve. Federal funds provided pursuant to this section may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of operating and managing the
Reserve for any one year, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs. In the case of a biogeographic region (see Appendix I) shared by two or more states, each state is eligible for Federal financial assistance to establish a separate Reserve within their respective portion of the shared biogeographic region (see Sec. 921.10).
(d) Operation and management funds are subject to the following limitations:
(1) Eligible coastal state agencies may apply for up to the maximum share available per Reserve for that fiscal year. Share amounts will be announced annually by letter from the Sanctuary and Reserves Division to all participating states. This letter will be provided as soon as practicable following approval of the Federal budget for that fiscal year.
(2) No more than ten percent of the total amount (state and Federal shares) of each operation and management award may be used for construction-type activities.
Sec. 921.33 Boundary changes, amendments to the management plan, and addition of multiple-site components.
(a) Changes in the boundary of a Reserve and major changes to the final management plan, including state laws or regulations promulgated specifically for the Reserve, may be made only after written approval by NOAA. NOAA may require public notice, including notice in the Federal Register and an opportunity for public comment before approving a boundary or management plan change. Changes in the boundary of a Reserve involving the acquisition of properties not listed in the management plan or final EIS require public notice and the opportunity for comment; in certain cases, a categorical exclusion, an environmental assessment and possibly an environmental impact statement may be required.
NOAA will place a notice in the Federal Register of any proposed changes in Reserve boundaries or proposed major changes to the final management plan. The state shall be responsible for publishing an equivalent notice in the local media. See also requirements of Secs. 921.4(b) and 921.13(a)(11).
(b) As discussed in Sec. 921.10(b), a state may choose to develop a multiple-site National Estuarine Research Reserve after the initial acquisition and development award for a single site has been made. NOAA will publish notice of the proposed new site including an invitation for comments from the public in the Federal Register. The state shall be responsible for publishing an equivalent notice in the local newspaper(s). An EIS, if required, shall be prepared in accordance with section Sec. 921.13 and shall include an administrative framework for the multiple-site Reserve and a description of the complementary research and educational programs within the Reserve. If NOAA determines, based on the scope of the project and the issues associated with the additional site(s), that an environmental assessment is sufficient to establish a multiple-site Reserve, then the state shall develop a revised management plan which, concerning the additional component, incorporates each of the elements described in Sec. 921.13(a). The revised management plan shall address goals and objectives for all components of the multi-site Reserve and the additional component's relationship to the original site(s).
(c) The state shall revise the management plan for a Reserve at least every five years, or more often if necessary. Management plan revisions are subject to (a) above.
(d) NOAA will approve boundary changes, amendments to management plans, or the addition of multiple-site components, by notice in the Federal Register. If necessary NOAA will revise the designation document (findings) for the site.
Subpart E--Ongoing Oversight, Performance Evaluation and Withdrawal of
Sec. 921.40 Ongoing oversight and evaluations of designated National Estuarine Research Reserves.
(a) The Sanctuaries and Reserve Division shall conduct, in accordance with section 312 of the Act and procedures set forth in 15 CFR part 928, ongoing oversight and evaluations of Reserves. Interim sanctions may be imposed in accordance with regulations promulgated under 15 CFR part 928.
(b) The Assistant Administrator may consider the following indicators of non-adherence in determining whether to invoke interim sanctions:
(1) Inadequate implementation of required staff roles in administration, research, education/interpretation, and surveillance and enforcement. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: No Reserve Manager, or no staff or insufficient staff to carry out the required functions.
(2) Inadequate implementation of the required research plan, including the monitoring design. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not carrying out research or monitoring that is required by the plan, or carrying out research or monitoring that is inconsistent with the plan.
(3) Inadequate implementation of the required education/interpretation plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not carrying out education or interpretation that is required by the plan, or carrying out education/interpretation that is inconsistent with the plan.
(4) Inadequate implementation of public access to the Reserve.
Indicators of inadequate implementation of public access could include:
Not providing necessary access, giving full consideration to the need to keep some areas off limits to the public in order to protect fragile resources.
(5) Inadequate implementation of facility development plan.
Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not taking action to propose and budget for necessary facilities, or not undertaking necessary construction in a timely manner when funds are available.
(6) Inadequate implementation of acquisition plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not pursuing an aggressive acquisition program with all available funds for that purpose, not requesting promptly additional funds when necessary, and evidence that adequate long-term state control has not been established over some core or buffer areas, thus jeopardizing the ability to protect the Reserve site and resources from offsite impacts.
(7) Inadequate implementation of Reserve protection plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Evidence of non-compliance with Reserve restrictions, insufficient surveillance and enforcement to assure that restrictions on use of the Reserve are adhered to, or evidence that Reserve resources are being damaged or destroyed as a result of the above.
(8) Failure to carry out the terms of the signed Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) between the state and NOAA, which establishes a long-term state commitment to maintain and manage the Reserve in accordance with section 315 of the Act. Indicators of failure could include: State action to allow incompatible uses of state-controlled lands or waters in the Reserve, failure of the state to bear its fair share of costs associated with long-term operation and management of the Reserve, or failure to initiate timely updates of the MOU when necessary.
Sec. 921.41 Withdrawal of designation.
The Assistant Administrator may withdraw designation of an estuarine area as a National Estuarine Research Reserve pursuant to and in accordance with the procedures of section 312 and 315 of the Act and
regulations promulgated thereunder.
Subpart F--Special Research Projects
Sec. 921.50 General.
(a) To stimulate high quality research within designated National
Estuarine Research Reserves, NOAA may provide financial support for research projects which are consistent with the Estuarine Research
Guidelines referenced in Sec. 921.51. Research awards may be awarded under this subpart to only those designated Reserves with approved final management plans. Although research may be conducted within the immediate watershed of the Reserve, the majority of research activities of any single research project funded under this subpart may be conducted within Reserve boundaries. Funds provided under this subpart are primarily used to support management-related research projects that will enhance scientific understanding of the Reserve ecosystem, provide information needed by Reserve management and coastal management decision-makers, and improve public awareness and understanding of estuarine ecosystems and estuarine management issues. Special research projects may be oriented to specific Reserves; however, research projects that would benefit more than one Reserve in the National
Estuarine Reserve Research System are encouraged.
(b) Funds provided under this subpart are available on a competitive basis to any coastal state or qualified public or private person. A notice of available funds will be published in the Federal Register. Special research project funds are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with Sec. 921.81(e)(4) (``allowable costs''), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.
Sec. 921.51 Estuarine research guidelines.
(a) Research within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System shall be conducted in a manner consistent with Estuarine Research
Guidelines developed by NOAA.
(b) A summary of the Estuarine Research Guidelines is published in the Federal Register as a part of the notice of available funds discussed in Sec. 921.50(c).
(c) The Estuarine Research Guidelines are reviewed annually by NOAA. This review will include an opportunity for comment by the estuarine research community.
Sec. 921.52 Promotion and coordination of estuarine research.
(a) NOAA will promote and coordinate the use of the National
Estuarine Research Reserve System for research purposes.
(b) NOAA will, in conducting or supporting estuarine research other than that authorized under section 315 of the Act, give priority consideration to research that make use of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.
(c) NOAA will consult with other Federal and state agencies to promote use of one or more research reserves within the National
Estuarine Research Reserve System when such agencies conduct estuarine research.
Subpart G--Special Monitoring Projects
Sec. 921.60 General.
(a) To provide a systematic basis for developing a high quality estuarine resource and ecosystem information base for National Estuarine Research Reserves and, as a result, for the System, NOAA may provide financial support for basic monitoring programs as part of operations and management under Sec. 921.32. Monitoring funds are used to support three major phases of a monitoring program:
(1) Studies necessary to collect data for a comprehensive site description/characterization;
(2) Development of a site profile; and
(3) Formulation and implementation of a monitoring program.
(b) Additional monitoring funds may be available on a competitive basis to the state agency responsible for Reserve management or a qualified public or private person or entity. However, if the applicant is other than the managing entity of a Reserve that applicant must submit as a part of the application a letter from the Reserve manager indicating formal support of the application by the managing entity of the Reserve. Funds provided under this subpart for special monitoring projects are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with Sec. 921.81(e)(4) (``allowable costs''), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.
(c) Monitoring projects funded under this subpart must focus on the resources within the boundaries of the Reserve and must be consistent with the applicable sections of the Estuarine Research Guidelines referenced in Sec. 921.51. Portions of the project may occur within the immediate watershed of the Reserve beyond the site boundaries. However, the monitoring proposal must demonstrate why this is necessary for the success of the project.
Subpart H--Special Interpretation and Education Projects
Sec. 921.70 General.
(a) To stimulate the development of innovative or creative interpretive and educational projects and materials to enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas, NOAA may fund special interpretive and educational projects in addition to those activities provided for in operations and management under Sec. 921.32. Special interpretive and educational awards may be awarded under this subpart to only those designated Reserves with approved final management plans.
(b) Funds provided under this subpart may be available on a competitive basis to any state agency. However, if the applicant is other than the managing entity of a Reserve, that applicant must submit as a part of the application a letter from the Reserve manager indicating formal support of the application by the managing entity of the Reserve. These funds are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with Sec. 921.81(e)(4) (``allowable costs''), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.
(c) Applicants for education/interpretive projects that NOAA
determines benefit the entire National Estuarine Research Reserve System may receive Federal assistance of up to 100% of project costs.
Subpart I--General Financial Assistance Provisions
Sec. 921.80 Application information.
(a) Only a coastal state may apply for Federal financial assistance awards for preacquisition, acquisition and development, operation and management, and special education and interpretation projects under subpart H. Any coastal state or public or private person may apply for
Federal financial assistance awards for special estuarine research or monitoring projects under subpart G. The announcement of opportunities to conduct research in the System appears on an annual basis in the Federal Register. If a state is participating in the national Coastal
Zone Management Program, the applicant for an award under section 315 of the Act shall notify the state coastal management agency regarding the application.
(b) An original and two copies of the formal application must be submitted at least 120 working days prior to the proposed beginning of the project to the following address: Sanctuaries and Reserves Division
Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW., suite 714, Washington, DC
20235. Application for Federal Assistance Standard Form 424 (Non-construction Program) constitutes the formal application for site selection, post-site selection, operation and management, research, and education and interpretive awards. The Application for Federal Financial Assistance Standard Form 424 (Construction Program) constitutes the formal application for land acquisition and development awards. The application must be accompanied by the information required in subpart B (predesignation), subpart C and Sec. 921.31 (acquisition and development), and Sec. 921.32 (operation and management) as applicable. Applications for development awards for construction projects, or restorative activities involving construction, must include a preliminary engineering report, a detailed construction plan, a site plan, a budget and categorical exclusion check list or environmental assessment. All applications must contain back up data for budget estimates (Federal and non-Federal shares), and evidence that the application complies with the Executive Order 12372, ``Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.'' In addition, applications for acquisition and development awards must contain:
(1) State Historic Preservation Office comments;
(2) Written approval from NOAA of the draft management plan for initial acquisition and development award(s); and
(3) A preliminary engineering report for construction activities.
Sec. 921.81 Allowable costs.
(a) Allowable costs will be determined in accordance with applicable OMB Circulars and guidance for Federal financial assistance, the financial assistant agreement, these regulations, and other Department of Commerce and NOAA directives. The term ``costs'' applies to both the Federal and non-Federal shares.
(b) Costs claimed as charges to the award must be reasonable, beneficial and necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the financial assistance award and must be incurred during the award period.
(c) Costs must not be allocable to or included as a cost of any other Federally-financed program in either the current or a prior award period.
(d) General guidelines for the non-Federal share are contained in Department of Commerce Regulations at 15 CFR part 24 and OMB Circular A-110. Copies of Circular A-110 can be obtained from the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division; 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW., suite 714; Washington, DC 20235. The following may be used in satisfying the matching requirement:
(1) Site selection and post site selection awards. Cash and in-kind contributions (value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to this part of the project) are allowable.
Land may not be used as match.
(2) Acquisition and development awards. Cash and in-kind contributions are allowable. In general, the fair market value of lands to be included within the Reserve boundaries and acquired pursuant to the Act, with other than Federal funds, may be used as match. However, the fair market value of real property allowable as match is limited to the fair market value of a real property interest equivalent to, or required to attain, the level of control over such land(s) identified by the state and approved by the Federal Government as that necessary for the protection and management of the National Estuarine Research Reserve. Appraisals must be performed according to Federal appraisal standards as detailed in Department of Commerce regulations at 15 CFR part 24 and the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property
Acquisition for Federal land Federally assisted programs in 15 CFR part
11. The fair market value of privately donated land, at the time of donation, as established by an independent appraiser and certified by a responsible official of the state, pursuant to 15 CFR part 11, may also be used as match. Land, including submerged lands already in the state's possession, may be used as match to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The value of match for these state lands will be calculated by determining the value of the benefits foregone by the state, in the use of the land, as a result of new restrictions that may be imposed by Reserve designation. The appraisal of the benefits foregone must be made by an independent appraiser in accordance with
Federal appraisal standards pursuant to 15 CFR part 24 and 15 CFR part
11. A state may initially use as match land valued at greater than the Federal share of the acquisition and development award. The value in excess of the amount required as match for the initial award may be used to match subsequent supplemental acquisition and development awards for the National Estuarine Research Reserve (see also Sec. 921.20). Costs related to land acquisition, such as appraisals, legal fees and surveys, may also be used as match.
(3) Operation and management awards. Generally, cash and in-kind contributions (directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to operations and management), except land, are allowable.
(4) Research, monitoring, education and interpretive awards. Cash and in-kind contributions (directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the scope of work), except land, are allowable.
Sec. 921.82 Amendments to financial assistance awards.
Actions requiring an amendment to the financial assistance award, such as a request for additional Federal funds, revisions of the approved project budget or original scope of work, or extension of the performance period must be submitted to NOAA on Standard Form 424 and approved in writing.
Appendix I to Part 921-- Biogeographic Classification Scheme
1. Northern of Maine (Eastport to the Sheepscot River.)
2. Southern Gulf of Maine (Sheepscot River to Cape Cod.)
3. Southern New England (Cape Cod to Sandy Hook.)
4. Middle Atlantic (Sandy Hook to Cape Hatteras.)
5. Chesapeake Bay.
6. North Carolinas (Cape Hatteras to Santee River.)
7. South Atlantic (Santee River to St. John's River.)
8. East Florida (St. John's River to Cape Canaveral.)
9. Caribbean (Cape Canaveral to Ft. Jefferson and south.)
10. West Florida (Ft. Jefferson to Cedar Key.)
11. Panhandle Coast (Cedar Key to Mobile Bay.)
12. Mississippi Delta (Mobile Bay to Galveston.)
13. Western Gulf (Galveston to Mexican border.)
14. Southern California (Mexican border to Point Conception.)
15. Central California (Point Conception to Cape Mendocino.)
16. San Francisco Bay.
17. Middle Pacific (Cape Mendocino to the Columbia River.)
18. Washington Coast (Columbia River to Vancouver Island.)
19. Puget Sound.
20. Lake Superior (including St. Mary's River.)
21. Lakes Michigan and Huron (including Straits of Mackinac, St.
Clair River, and Lake St. Clair.)
22. Lake Erie (including Detroit River and Niagara Falls.)
23. Lake Ontario (including St. Lawrence River.)
24. Southern Alaska (Prince of Wales Island to Cook Inlet.)
25. Aleutian Island (Cook Inlet Bristol Bay.)
26. Northern Alaska (Bristol Bay to Damarcation Point.)
27. Hawaiian Islands.
28. Western Pacific Island.
29. Eastern Pacific Island.
Appendix II to Part 921-- Typology of National Estuarine Research
This typology system reflects significant differences in estuarine characteristics that are not necessarily related to regional location.
The purpose of this type of classification is to maximize ecosystem variety in the selection of national estuarine reserves. Priority will be given to important ecosystem types as yet unrepresented in the reserve system. It should be noted that any one site may represent several ecosystem types or physical characteristics.
Class I--Ecosystem Types
A. Maritime Forest-Woodland. That have developed under the influence of salt spray. It can be found on coastal uplands or recent features such as barrier islands and beaches, and may be divided into the following biomes:
1. Northern coniferous forest biome: This is an area of predominantly evergreens such as the sitka spruce (Picea), grand fir (Abies), and white cedar (Thuja), with poor development of the shrub and herb leyera, but high annual productivity and pronounced seasonal periodicity.
2. Moist temperate (Mesothermal) coniferous forest biome: Found along the west coast of North America from California to Alaska, this area is dominated by conifers, has relatively small seasonal range, high humidity with rainfall ranging from 30 to 150 inches, and a well-developed understory of vegetation with an abundance of mosses and other moisture-tolerant plants.
3. Temperate deciduous forest biome: This biome is characterized by abundant, evenly distributed rainfall, moderate temperatures which exhibit a distinct seasonal pattern, well-developed soil biota and herb and shrub layers, and numerous plants which produce pulpy fruits and nuts. A distinct subdivision of this biome is the pine edible forest of the southeastern coastal plain, in which only a small portion of the area is occupied by climax vegetation, although it has large areas covered by edaphic climax pines.
4. Broad-leaved evergreen subtropical forest biome: The main characteristic of this biome is high moisture with less pronounced differences between winter and summer. Examples are the hammocks of Florida and the live oak forests of the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts.
Floral dominants include pines, magnolias, bays, hollies, wild tamarine, strangler fig, gumbo limbo, and palms.
B. Coast shrublands. This is a transitional area between the coastal grasslands and woodlands and is characterized by woody species with multiple stems and a few centimeters to several meters above the ground developing under the influence of salt spray and occasional sand burial. This includes thickets, scrub, scrub savanna, heathlands, and coastal chaparral. There is a great variety of shrubland vegetation exhibiting regional specificity:
1. Northern areas: Characterized by Hudsonia, various erinaceous species, and thickets of Myricu, prunus, and Rosa.
2. Southeast areas: Floral dominants include Myrica, Baccharis, and
3. Western areas: Adenostoma, arcotyphylos, and eucalyptus are the dominant floral species.
C. Coastal grasslands. This area, which possesses sand dunes and coastal flats, has low rainfall (10 to 30 inches per year) and large amounts of humus in the soil. Ecological succession is slow, resulting in the presence of a number of seral stages of community development.
Dominant vegetation includes mid-grasses (5 to 8 feet tall), such as
Spartina, and trees such as willow (Salix sp.), cherry (Prunus sp.), and cottonwood (Pupulus deltoides.) This area is divided into four regions with the following typical strand vegetation:
1. Arctic/Boreal: Elymus;
2. Northeast/West: Ammophla;
3. Southeast Gulf: Uniola; and
4. Mid-Atlantic/Gulf: Spartina patens.
D. Coastal tundra. This ecosystem, which is found along the Arctic and Boreal coasts of North America, is characterized by low temperatures, a short growing season, and some permafrost, producing a low, treeless mat community made up of mosses, lichens, heath, shrubs, grasses, sedges, rushes, and herbaceous and dwarf woody plants. Common species include arctic/alpine plants such as Empetrum nigrum and Betula nana, the lichens Cetraria and Cladonia, and herbaceous plants such as
Potentilla tridentata and Rubus chamaemorus. Common species on the coastal beach ridges of the high arctic desert include Bryas
intergrifolia and Saxifrage oppositifolia. This area can be divided into two main subdivisions:
1. Low tundra: Characterized by a thick, spongy mat of living and
undecayed vegetation, often with water and dotted with ponds when not frozen; and
2. High Tundra: A bare area except for a scanty growth of lichens and grasses, with underlaying ice wedges forming raised polygonal areas.
E. Coastal cliffs. This ecosystem is an important nesting site for many sea and shore birds. It consists of communities of herbaceous,
graminoid, or low woody plants (shrubs, heath, etc.) on the top or along rocky faces exposed to salt spray. There is a diversity of plant species including mosses, lichens, liverworts, and ``higher'' plant representatives.
Group II--Transition Areas
A. Coastal marshes. These are wetland areas dominated by grasses
(Poacea), sedges (Cyperaceae), rushes (Juncaceae), cattails Typhaceae), and other graminoid species and is subject to periodic flooding by either salt or freshwater. This ecosystem may be subdivided into: (a)
Tidal, which is periodically flooded by either salt or brackish water;
(b) nontidal (freshwater); or (c) tidal freshwater. These are essential habitats for many important estuarine species of fish and invertebrates as well as shorebirds and waterfowl and serve important roles in shore stabilization, flood control, water purification, and nutrient transport and storage.
B. Coastal swamps. These are wet lowland areas that support mosses and shrubs together with large trees such as cypress or gum.
C. Coastal mangroves. This ecosystem experiences regular flooding on either a daily, monthly, or seasonal basis, has low wave action, and is dominated by a variety of salt-tolerant trees, such as the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia Nitida), and the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa.) It is also an important habitat for large populations of fish, invertebrates, and birds. This type of ecosystem can be found from central Florida to extreme south Texas to the islands of the Western Pacific.
D. Intertidal beaches. This ecosystem has a distinct biota of microscopic animals, bacteria, and unicellular algae along with macroscopic crustaceans, mollusks, and worms with a detritus-based nutrient cycle. This area also includes the driftline communities found at high tide levels on the beach. The dominant organisms in this ecosystem include crustaceans such as the mole crab (Emerita), amphipods (Gammeridae), ghost crabs (Ocypode), and bivalve mollusks such as the coquina (Donax) and surf clams (Spisula and Mactra.)
E. Intertidal mud and sand flats. These areas are composed of unconsolidated, high organic content sediments that function as a short-term storage area for nutrients and organic carbons. Macrophytes are nearly absent in this ecosystem, although it may be heavily colonized by benthic diatoms, dinoflaggellates, filamintous blue-green and green algae, and chaemosynthetic purple sulfur bacteria. This system may support a considerable population of gastropods, bivalves, and polychaetes, and may serve as a feeding area for a variety of fish and wading birds. In sand, the dominant fauna include the wedge shell Donax, the scallop Pecten, tellin shells Tellina, the heart urchin
Echinocardium, the lug worm Arenicola, sand dollar Dendraster, and the
sea pansy Renilla. In mud, faunal dominants adapted to low oxygen levels include the terebellid Amphitrite, the boring clam Playdon, the deep sea scallop Placopecten, the Quahog Mercenaria, the echiurid worm Urechis, the mud snail Nassarius, and the sea cucumber Thyone.
F. Intertidal algal beds. These are hard substrates along the marine edge that are dominated by macroscopic algae, usually thalloid, but also filamentous or unicellular in growth form. This also includes the rocky coast tidepools that fall within the intertidal zone. Dominant fauna of these areas are barnacles, mussels, periwinkles, anemones, and chitons.
Three regions are apparent:
1. Northern latitude rocky shores: It is in this region that the community structure is best developed. The dominant algal species include Chondrus at the low tide level, Fucus and Ascophylium at the mid-tidal level, and Laminaria and other kelplike algae just beyond the
intertidal, although they can be exposed at extremely low tides or found in very deep tidepools.
2. Southern latitudes: The communities in this region are reduced in comparison to those of the northern latitudes and possesses algae consisting mostly of single-celled or filamentour green, blue-green, and red algae, and small thalloid brown algae.
3. Tropical and subtropical latitudes: The intertidal in this region is very reduced and contains numerous calcareous algae such as
Porolithon and Lithothamnion, as well and green algae with calcareous particles such as Halimeda, and numerous other green, red, and brown algae.
Group III--Submerged Bottoms
A. Subtidal hardbottoms. This system is characterized by a consolidated layer of solid rock or large pieces of rock (neither of biotic origin) and is found in association with geomorphological features such as submarine canyons and fjords and is usually covered with assemblages of sponges, sea fans, bivalves, hard corals, tunicates, and other attached organisms. A significant feature of estuaries in many parts of the world is the oyster reef, a type of subtidal hardbottom. Composed of assemblages of organisms (usually bivalves), it is usually found near an estuary's mouth in a zone of moderate wave action, salt content, and turbidity. If light levels are sufficient, a covering of microscopic and attached macroscopic algae, such as keep, may also be found.
B. Subtidal softbottoms. Major characteristics of this ecosystem are an unconsolidated layer of fine particles of silt, sand, clay, and gravel, high hydrogen sulfide levels, and anaerobic conditions often existing below the surface. Macrophytes are either sparse or absent, although a layer of benthic microalgae may be present if light levels are sufficient. The faunal community is dominated by a diverse population of deposit feeders including polychaetes, bivalves, and burrowing crustaceans.
C. Subtidal plants. This system is found in relatively shallow water (less than 8 to 10 meters) below mean low tide. It is an area of extremely high primary production that provides food and refuge for a diversity of faunal groups, especially juvenile and adult fish, and in some regions, manatees and sea turtles. Along the North Atlantic and
Pacific coasts, the seagrass Zostera marina predominates. In the South
Atlantic and Gulf coast areas, Thalassia and Diplanthera predominate.
The grasses in both areas support a number of epiphytic organisms.
Class II--Physical Characteristics
A. Basin type. Coastal water basins occur in a variety of shapes, sizes, depths, and appearances. The eight basic types discussed below ill cover most of the cases:
1. Exposed coast: Solid rock formations or heavy sand deposits characterize exposed ocean shore fronts, which are subject to the full force of ocean storms. The sand beaches are very resilient, although the dunes lying just behind the beaches are fragile and easily damaged. The dunes serve as a sand storage area making them chief stabilizers of the ocean shorefront.
2. Sheltered coast: Sand or coral barriers, built up by natural forces, provide sheltered areas inside a bar or reef where the ecosystem takes on many characteristics of confined waters-abundant marine grasses, shellfish, and juvenile fish. Water movement is reduced, with the consequent effects pollution being more severe in this area than in exposed coastal areas.
3. Bay: Bays are larger confined bodies of water that are open to the sea and receive strong tidal flow. When stratification is pronounced the flushing action is augmented by river discharge. Bays vary in size and in type of shorefront.
4. Embayment: A confined coastal water body with narrow, restricted inlets and with a significant freshwater inflow can be classified as an embayment. These areas have more restricted inlets than bays, are usually smaller and shallower, have low tidal action, and are subject to sedimentation.
5. Tidal river: The lower reach of a coastal river is referred to as a tidal river. The coastal water segment extends from the sea or estuary into which the river discharges to a point as far upstream as there is significant salt content in the water, forming a salt front. A combination of tidal action and freshwater outflow makes tidal rivers well-flushed. The tidal river basin may be a simple channel or a complex of tributaries, small associated embayments, marshfronts, tidal flats, and a variety of others.
6. Lagoon: Lagoons are confined coastal bodies of water with restricted inlets to the sea and without significant freshwater inflow.
Water circulation is limited, resulting in a poorly flushed, relatively stagnant body of water. Sedimentation is rapid with a great potential for basin shoaling. Shores are often gently sloping and marshy.
7. Perched coastal wetlands: Unique to Pacific islands, this wetland type found above sea level in volcanic crater remnants forms as a result of poor drainage characteristics of the crater rather than from sedimentation. Floral assemblages exhibit distinct zonation while the faunal constituents may include freshwater, brackish, and/or marine species. Example: Aunu's Island, American Samoa.
8. Anchialine systems: These small coastal exposures of brackish water form in lava depressions or elevated fossil reefs have only a subsurface connection in the ocean, but show tidal fluctuations.
Differing from true estuaries in having no surface continuity with streams or ocean, this system is characterized by a distinct biotic community dominated by benthis algae such as Rhizoclonium, the mineral encrusting Schiuzothrix, and the vascular plant Ruppia maritima.
Characteristic fauna which exhibit a high degree of endemicity, include the mollusks Theosoxus neglectus and Tcariosus. Although found throughout the world, the high islands of the Pacific are the only areas within the U.S. where this system can be found.
B. Basin structure. Estuary basins may result from the drowning of a river valley (coastal plains estuary), the drowning of a glacial valley (fjord), the occurrence of an offshore barrier (bar-bounded estuary), some tectonic process (tectonic estuary), or volcanic activity (volcanic estuary).
1. Coastal plains estuary: Where a drowned valley consists mainly of a single channel, the form of the basin is fairly regular forming a simple coastal plains estuary. When a channel is flooded with numerous tributaries an irregular estuary results. Many estuaries of the eastern
United States are of this type.
2. Fjord: Estuaries that form in elongated steep headlands that alternate with deep U-shaped valleys resulting from glacial scouring are called fjords. They generally possess rocky floors or very thin veneers of sediment, with deposition generally being restricted to the head where the main river enters. Compared to total fjord volume river discharge is small. But many fjords have restricted tidal ranges at their mouths due to sills, or upreaching sections of the bottom which limit free movement of water, often making river flow large with respect to the tidal prism. The deepest portions are in the upstream reaches, where maximum depths can range from 800m to 1200m while sill depths usually range from 40m to 150m.
3. Bar-bounded estuary: These result from the development of an offshore barrier such as a beach strand, a line of barrier islands, reef formations a line of moraine debris, or the subsiding remnants of a deltaic lobe. The basin is often partially exposed at low tide and is enclosed by a chain of offshore bars of barrier islands broken at intervals by inlets. These bars may be either deposited offshore or may be coastal dunes that have become isolated by recent seal level rises.
4. Tectonic estuary: These are coastal indentures that have formed through tectonic processes such as slippage along a fault line (San Francisco Bay), folding or movement of the earth's bedrock often with a large inflow of freshwater.
5. Volcanic estuary: These coastal bodies of open water, a result of volcanic processes are depressions or craters that have direct and/or subsurface connections with the ocean and may or may not have surface continuity with streams. These formations are unique to island areas of volcanic orgin.
C. Inlet type. Inlets in various forms are an integral part of the estuarine environment as they regulate to a certain extent, the velocity and magnitude of tidal exchange, the degree of mixing, and volume of discharge to the sea.
1. Unrestricted: An estuary with a wide unrestricted inlet typically has slow currents, no significant turbulence, and receives the full effect of ocean waves and local disturbances which serve to modify the shoreline. These estuaries are partially mixed, as the open mouth permits the incursion of marine waters to considerable distances upstream, depending on the tidal amplitude and stream gradient.
2. Restricted: Restrictions of estuaries can exist in many forms: Bars, barrier islands, spits, sills, and more. Restricted inlets result in decreased circulation, more pronounced longitudinal and vertical salinity gradients, and more rapid sedimentation. However, if the estuary mouth is restricted by depositional features or land closures, the incoming tide may be held back until it suddenly breaks forth into the basin as a tidal wave, or bore. Such currents exert profound effects on the nature of the subtrate, turbidity, and biota of the estuary.
3. Permanent: Permanent inlets are usually opposite the mouths of major rivers and permit river water to flow into the sea.
4. Temporary (Intermittent): Temporary inlets are formed by storms and frequently shift position, depending on tidal flow, the depth of the sea, and sound waters, the frequency of storms, and the amount of littoral transport.
D. Bottom composition. The bottom composition of estuaries attests to the vigorous, rapid, and complex sedimentation processes characteristic of most coastal regions with low relief. Sediments are derived through the hydrologic processes of erosion, transport, and deposition carried on by the sea and the stream.
1. Sand: Near estuary mouths, where the predominating forces of the sea build spits or other depositional features, the shore and substrates of the estuary are sandy. The bottom sediments in this area are usually coarse, with a graduation toward finer particles in the head region and other zones of reduced flow, fine silty sands are deposited. Sand deposition occurs only in wider or deeper regions where velocity is reduced.
2. Mud: At the base level of a stream near its mouth, the bottom is typically composed of loose muds, silts, and organic detritus as a result of erosion and transport from the upper stream reaches and organic decomposition. Just inside the estuary entrance, the bottom contains considerable quantities of sand and mud, which support a rich fauna. Mud flats, commonly built up in estuarine basins, are composed of loose, coarse, and fine mud and sand, often dividing the original channel.
3. Rock: Rocks usually occur in areas where the stream runs rapidly over a steep gradient with its coarse materials being derived from the higher elevations where the stream slope is greater. The larger fragments are usually found in shallow areas near the stream mouth.
4. Oyster shell: Throughout a major portion of the world, the oyster reef is one of the most significant features of estuaries, usually being found near the mouth of the estuary in a zone of moderate wave action, salt content, and turbidity. It is often a major factor in modifying estuarine current systems and sedimentation, and may occur as an elongated island or peninsula oriented across the main current, or may develop parallel to the direction of the current.
A. Circulation. Circulation patterns are the result of combined influences of freshwater inflow, tidal action, wind and oceanic forces, and serve many functions: Nutrient transport, plankton dispersal, ecosystem flushing, salinity control, water mixing, and more.
1. Stratified: This is typical of estuaries with a strong freshwater influx and is commonly found in bays formed from ``drowned'' river valleys, fjords, and other deep basins. There is a net movement of freshwater outward at the top layer and saltwater at the bottom layer, resulting in a net outward transport of surface organisms and net inward transport of bottom organisms.
2. Non-stratified: Estuaries of this type are found where water movement is sluggish and flushing rate is low, although there may be sufficient circulation to provide the basis for a high carrying capacity. This is common to shallow embayments and bays lacking a good supply of freshwater from land drainage.
3. Lagoonal: An estuary of this type is characterized by low rates of water movement resulting from a lack of significant freshwater influx and a lack of strong tidal exchange because of the typically narrow inlet connecting the lagoon to the sea. Circulation whose major driving force is wind, is the major limiting factor in biological productivity within lagoons.
B. Tides. This is the most important ecological factor in an estuary as it affects water exchange and its vertical range determines the extent of tidal flats which may be exposed and submerged with each tidal cycle. Tidal action against the volume of river water discharged into an estuary results in a complex system whose properties vary according to estuary structure as well as the magnitude of river flow and tidal range. Tides are usually described in terms of the cycle and their relative heights. In the United States, tide height is reckoned on the basis of average low tide, which is referred to as datum. The tides, although complex, fall into three main categories:
1. Diurnal: This refers to a daily change in water level that can be observed along the shoreline. There is one high tide and one low tide per day.
2. Semidiurnal: This refers to a twice daily rise and fall in water that can be observed along the shoreline.
3. Wind/Storm tides: This refers to fluctuations in water elevation to wind and storm events, where influence of lunar tides is less.
C. Freshwater. According to nearly all the definitions advanced, it is inherent that all estuaries need freshwater, which is drained from the land and measurably dilutes seawater to create a brackish condition. Freshwater enters an estuary as runoff from the land either from a surface and/or subsurface source.
1. Surface water: This is water flowing over the ground in the form of streams. Local variation in runoff is dependent upon the nature of the soil (porosity and solubility), degree of surface slope, vegetational type and development, local climatic conditions, and volume and intensity of precipitation.
2. Subsurface water: This refers to the precipitation that has been absorbed by the soil and stored below the surface. The distribution of subsurface water depends on local climate, topography, and the porosity and permeability of the underlying soils and rocks. There are two main subtypes of surface water:
a. Vadose water: This is water in the soil above the water table.
Its volume with respect to the soil is subject to considerable fluctuation.
b. Groundwater: This is water contained in the rocks below the water table, is usually of more uniform volume than vadose water, and generally follows the topographic relief of the land being high hills and sloping into valleys.
A. Salinity. This reflects a complex mixture of salts, the most abundant being sodium chloride, and is a very critical factor in the distribution and maintenance of many estuarine organisms. Based on salinity, there are two basic estuarine types and eight different salinity zones (expressed in parts per thousand-ppt.)
1. Positive estuary: This is an estuary in which the freshwater influx is sufficient to maintain mixing, resulting in a pattern of increasing salinity toward the estuary mouth. It is characterized by low oxygen concentration in the deeper waters and considerable organic content in bottom sediments.
2. Negative estuary: This is found in particularly arid regions, where estuary evaporation may exceed freshwater inflow, resulting in increased salinity in the upper part of the basin, especially if the estuary mouth is restricted so that tidal flow is inhibited. These are typically very salty (hyperhaline), moderately oxygenated at depth, and possess bottom sediments that are poor in organic content.
3. Salinity zones (expressed in ppt):
a. Hyperhaline--greater than 40 ppt.
b. Euhaline--40 ppt to 30 ppt.
c. Mixhaline--30 ppt to 0.5 ppt.
(1) Mixoeuhaline--greater than 30 ppt but less than the adjacent
(2) Polyhaline--30 ppt to 18 ppt.
(3) Mesohaline--18 ppt to 5 ppt.
(4) Oligohaline--5 ppt to 0.5 ppt.
d. Limnetic: Less than 0.5 ppt.
B. pH Regime: This is indicative of the mineral richness of
estuarine waters and falls into three main categories:
1. Acid: Waters with a pH of less than 5.5.
2. Circumneutral: A condition where the pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.4.
3. Alkaline: Waters with a pH greater than 7.4.
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Coastal Training Program Strategic Plan 2003-2008