The SCCD provides cost-share assistance for livestock (relocating corrals, stockwater, grazing management) and septic system improvements along impaired streams in Sheridan County. Typical cost-share assistance for livestock improvements is between 50% and 80%, depending upon available funding. The SCCD offers 50% cost-share assistance for septic system replacements. “In-kind” contributions, including materials and/or labor, can be used as a landowner portion. The overriding priority for project selection is the potential to benefit water quality.
Water Quality Improvement Program Application Requirements
The Sheridan County Conservation District (SCCD) will only pay for activities completed after a project contract and budget have been signed by the landowner AND the SCCD Board. Project and contract development can take a considerable amount of time. In addition to the SCCD staff time, permitting and/or other requirements imposed by the granting agencies typically have a review and response period associated with them. SCCD staff will work with the applicant to ensure that all of the items are completed; however, the applicant will have some work involved too. The following information is required before a contract can be approved by the Board:
Completed landowner self-assessment;
Project application, signed by landowner and SCCD staff;
All permits/authorizations, including but not limited to:
WDEQ authorization for funding (will be requested by SCCD),
SHPO authorization (will be requested by SCCD staff, SHPO has 60 days to respond),
County Septic Permit, if applicable (submitted by landowner/contractor),
City of Sheridan Sewer Tap Permit, if applicable (submitted by landowner/contractor),
Well and/or SAWS permit, if applicable (submitted by landowner/contractor), and
WDEQ Turbidity Waiver, if applicable (submitted by landowner/contractor),
Contract and budget, signed by landowner and SCCD staff;
Step-By Step Process Summary
Landowner identifies concerns and contacts SCCD/NRCS-Complete A Self-Assessment/SCCD Site Visit
This could include a phone call/email or could be more formal such as submission of the project application or a self-assessment. The SCCD staff is more than willing to assist the landowner with completion of the self-assessment and/or the project application.
Depending on the complexity of the project and whether engineering/surveys are needed, there may be some technical work completed by SCCD/NRCS before the actual application is submitted; however, a signed application will be needed before development of the contract.
SCCD will use project ranking sheets to determine the project priority in relation to other project requests, priority watersheds, and available funding/assistance.
SCCD determines project eligibility and submits cultural resource clearances
The funding that SCCD provides comes from federal and/or state grants that have certain requirements. SCCD is required to submit a project description and location to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and other granting agencies for authorization to use the funds on a specific project. In addition, SCCD is required to submit the same information to the State Historic Preservation Office for a cultural resource clearance. These agencies have 60 days to respond; it is better to submit these as early as possible.
SCCD/NRCS and Landowner develop alternatives/project designs
Based on resource concerns, site conditions, and landowner preferences, SCCD (with assistance from NRCS) will develop a project plan that identifies what practices will be completed and where. There can sometimes be quite a bit of time here with developing and modifying alternatives to meet landowner and program goals.
Landowner secures and/or verifies necessary permits, easements, water rights, etc.
Wells or other permits for water sources must be submitted to the appropriate agency; any instream construction will require a turbidity waiver from WDEQ. All of these need to be submitted by the landowner.
For septic system and/or sewer projects, the landowner (or their contractor) must submit a permit application to Sheridan County or the City of Sheridan. The permit application will require excavation of a test pit and percolation tests and also includes the size/design information. An approved permit is required for SCCD to develop the contract/budget. SCCD will allow costs associated with preparation of the permit application to be retroactively included as part of the landowner match for the project. Other construction activities MUST wait until after a SCCD contract is signed.
For other projects, costs associated with engineering plans/designs and permits will be discussed on a case by case basis and an eligibility determination made by the Board.
Landowner obtain cost estimates for materials, labor, equipment needed to complete the project
For construction/projects that will be completed by a contractor, the SCCD requires at least one cost estimate to use in contract/budget development. SCCD may request a second estimate if they feel one is needed. For materials/labor that the landowner will complete themselves and without a contractor, SCCD will base the budget on the NRCS Payment Schedule and may make adjustments in consultation with the landowner.
SCCD develops a contract/budget for landowner and Board consideration
A contract needs to be signed by the landowner and the Board prior to ANY project construction. SCCD staff will use all of the provided information, designs, cost estimates, to develop the budget and contract.
Landowner selects contractor and/or initiates project construction
Once the contract has been approved and signed, the landowner can start project construction. The landowner can use any contractor, even one that did not submit a cost estimate. However, the project payment will be limited to what was included in the budget. The landowner is responsible for communicating project objectives and requirements to contractors; SCCD/NRCS can meet with the contractor and landowner if needed. For any work not completed by a contractor, the landowner is responsible for maintaining documentation of hours and rates for any labor, equipment, etc. SCCD/NRCS does not assist in actual project construction; but may stop out during construction to evaluate progress.
Landowner submits bills/payment documentation to SCCD and SCCD verifies
Upon completion of contract items, SCCD will visit the project and take measurements, photos, gps points, and other notes needed to validate measurements and construction elements for project payment. SCCD does not provide inspection for regulatory compliance.
SCCD submits reimbursement request to funding agencies and makes payment to landowner
Upon receipt of the bills/documentation, SCCD will submit a reimbursement request to the funding agencies. Please note that SCCD can only submit requests once per month and if a request has already been submitted, the request will have to wait until the next month. Upon receipt of the funds from the granting agency, SCCD will make payment to the landowner at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. Please note that this payment can take up to 90 days after SCCD receives the bills from the landowner. The landowner is responsible for making any and all payments to the contractor.
Landowner returns payment voucher and W-9 to SCCD
SCCD is required to maintain a payment voucher for disbursements; these need to be signed by the landowner and returned to the SCCD. SCCD is also required to submit 1099 information returns to the IRS for all cost-share payments; the W-9 ensures that we have the proper information. The landowner will have to complete all of the information, including providing a social security number or Tax Identification Number. The form must be signed and returned to the SCCD.
Landowners who are interested in participating in SCCD cost-share programs should take a moment to view the following documents:
How does “In-Kind” apply to the landowner portion of the project expense?
Program participants are required to pay a certain percentage of their project costs. However, this does not have to be cash. Participants who have time and equipment to do the work could have very little out-of-pocket expense. Regardless of a participants ability to do all the work by themselves, any “in-kind” work that they can do on their own project will help reduce their overall cost.
What happens if I visit with the SCCD about a project and decide not to do it?
Landowners are under no obligation to complete a project until a contract is signed. Even then, it is possible to cancel or modify a project or portion of the project. People are encouraged to come into the SCCD/NRCS office to discuss any concerns they may have. We understand there are many factors to be considered and hope to make this process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
What types of projects are eligible for funding?
Projects must be located in the Tongue River, Goose Creek or Prairie Dog Creek Watersheds to be eligible for cost-share assistance through SCCD (although projects in other areas may be eligible through USDA-NRCS). Projects must address a water quality concern related to bacteria or sediment. Septic projects have additional eligibility criteria established by the State of Wyoming.