Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Environmental Quality
Department of Environmental Quality

General Notice
General Notice - 2016 Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program Request for Proposals
Date Posted: 9/2/2015
Expiration Date: 10/16/2015
Submitted to Registrar for publication: YES
No comment forum defined for this notice.

Purpose:  The purpose of the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program is to generate scientifically accurate, citizen-collected, water quality data.  The program helps to guide and support citizen water quality monitoring and stewardship activities.  Funded projects may focus on any or all of the following five categories:

1. List and delist impaired waters on the 303(d) Impaired Waters List and assess overall water quality

2. Identify sources of pollution that may help in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development

3. Track progress of TMDL or other restoration activities

4. Identify waters for future monitoring by DEQ

5. Educating the community on local impacts to water quality and land use activities

Background:  The Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program was established by a budget amendment in the 1999 Virginia General Assembly Session.  The General Assembly based this budget amendment on the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Report submitted by DEQ regarding the feasibility of a grant to fund citizen monitoring activities.  In 2015, the General Assembly allocated general funds for eligible activities by citizen monitoring organizations in Virginia.  .

General Eligibility:  Funds are available to assist in the development and growth of citizen based water quality monitoring activities. Any community or watershed based environmental or conservation organization, secondary school, college, or university who use volunteers to monitor Virginia waters may apply for these funds.  The maximum possible grant award is $10,000. Only one grant may be awarded per grantee per grant year.  Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Because of the limited funds available, partial funding may be awarded to maximize the effectiveness of the program. No match is required to receive the grant, but funding from other sources is encouraged. Grant awardees must be able to provide DEQ with a Federal Tax Identification Number. Non-profit organizations are encouraged to register at no charge with the Virginia e-Procurement Portal eVA.  Visit to register.   Grant funds cannot be used for office space.  Funded activities can begin as soon as January 1, 2016 and must be completed by December 31, 2016.

Eligible Activities:  Eligible activities include but are not limited to:

  • Water monitoring equipment expenses such as field test kits, probes, nets, sample containers and manuals.  Funded projects must monitor in areas representative of the sampled water(s) such as:

  1. Sampling occurs at or near the main area of flow of the waterbody,

  2. Sampling occurs just below the water surface or at deeper depths

  3. Sample site is well away from DEQ permitted discharge pipes and mixing zones such as those found at wastewater treatment plants.

  • Certain administrative costs such as printing of newsletters, educational materials, and related items.

  • Staff costs to cover direct volunteer coordination and training shall not exceed 20% of the total grant award.

  • If seeking funds to cover mileage reimbursement for volunteer sample collection and sample transport, the IRS rate of $0.14 per mile for charitable organizations is used.  Mileage reimbursement shall not exceed 20% of the total grant request.

  • Contractual services such as laboratory analysis and specialized services.  The contractor is otherwise not a paid employee of the organization receiving the grant funds.

Any water quality sampling should occur at safe, publically accessible locations such as at bridge crossings or boat ramps. If sampling occurs on private property, landowner permission must be obtained.

Evaluation Criteria:  Proposals must be complete and responsive to all applicable sections of the RFP. Proposals that do not fulfill all required solicitation requirements for the grant they are applying for or omit any of the requested contents may receive a reduced evaluation score. Proposals will be grouped based on the type of award being sought and ranked accordingly (Mini-Grant to Mini-Grant, Regular Grant to Regular Grant, etc.) Proposals shall be evaluated by a DEQ appointed committee using the following criteria:



Point Value


Part 1: General Project Description (For Mini, Regular, and Coordination Grants): Project goals and scope,    certification that volunteers will be used, budget, history and future plans of the project, completing Attachments A and B.  (This part will be evaluated and scored on Part 1 only, with a maximum score of 70)



Part 2: Site Selection and Quality Assurance (For Regular and Coordination Grants only): Location of proposed sample sites and relation to other monitoring activities, training needs of volunteers and quality assurance documentation. (This part will be evaluated and scored with Part 1 resulting in a combined maximum score of  140)



Part 3: Special Conditions (For Coordination Grants only): Number of sub-organizations, geographic area of coverage, proportion of monitoring in unmonitored waters and future plans of project improvement. (This part will be evaluated and scored  with Parts 1, and 2,  with a maximum score of  200)



Penalty if not meeting prior grant conditions during the past five (5) years.  Applied to the final score total

Up to -50

TOTAL:    Up to 200

Application Procedures:  

Electronic Submission: Electronic submission of the application is preferred.  To submit the application electronically, please e-mail a completed application and attachments to  In the subject line of the e-mail, please include the name of the applying organization and the type of grant being sought. Electronic submissions are due no later than 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16.

Standard Mail Delivery:  If delivering my mail, an original and four copies of the application and attachments must be received no later than 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16. Mail applications to:         

Mail Delivery:                                                          Street Delivery:

Stuart Torbeck                                                        Stuart Torbeck

VA Dept. of Environmental Quality                            VA Dept. of Environmental Quality

Water Quality Monitoring                                         Water Quality Monitoring

P.O. Box 1105                                                        629 East Main Street

Richmond, VA 23218                                               Richmond, VA 23218

No exceptions can be made to the above deadline.  Notification of awards will be made in December 2015. Funds will be available when a contract has been signed and returned to DEQ.  100% of the award may be distributed when the signed contract and a written request for payment are returned.  For groups who do not have a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) and who will collect water quality samples, a QAPP must be submitted for DEQ approval by the deadline listed below. If a QAPP is not developed and approved by DEQ, future grant applications from the organization may be disqualified.

Contractual Agreements:  All work to be accomplished through the Citizen Monitoring Grant Program must be legally embodied in a contract with the grant proposal.  This contract will serve as a memorandum of agreement in accordance with the adoption of the Code of Virginia §62.1-44.19:11.  This contract will be between the grantee (or designee) and DEQ. Upon submission of both a signed contract agreement and a written request for payment, grant funds will be made available to the grantee. If at any time the grantee organization cannot fulfill the requirements of the contract, the remainder of the grant funds and/or any equipment purchased through the grant must be returned to the DEQ Citizen Monitoring Grant Program for redistribution.

Report Requirements:  Progress reports providing updates on the project are required according to the schedule below:

Draft QAPP: February 1 2016 (draft due to DEQ for review, if a QAPP is required)

Final QAPP: April 1, 2016 (if applicable)

Interim Report: August 1, 2016 (status of grant funds spent, paragraph summary of work completed)

Final Report: February 15, 2017 (all monitoring data must be uploaded to the online DEQ database No other submissions of raw data will be accepted.)

In an effort to conserve paper, electronic submission of the final report is encouraged.  These reports can be submitted by either a CD or DVD R/RW or by e-mail to   Final reports should consist of the following*:

  1. Report summarizing the project and recorded observations along with a summary budget
  2. If applicable- Copies of publications, list of workshops, and related material that utilized grant funds

*If necessary, a hardcopy of these items can be sent to the mailing address listed below.

All water quality data collected using grant funds must be entered on the DEQ online database at  Instructions on how to upload this data will be provided when grant awards are announced in the winter of 2015.  The database will allow grant recipients to upload water quality data collected during the course of the project.  The public can view this data by accessing the website.

If the organization does not continue monitoring beyond the grant period, any equipment, such as meters or unopened reagents purchased with grant funds must be returned to DEQ at the address listed below to be redistributed or used for future training sessions.

Contact Information
Name / Title: Stuart Torbeck 
Address: 629 East Main Street
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, 23218
Email Address:
Telephone: (804)698-4461    FAX: ()-    TDD: ()-