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1. To OWEB partners,

Under direction from OWEB’s Board and the Oregon legislature, OWEB began reviewing the council support grant program in 2010. Council participation has been essential to this review, starting with council listening sessions in 2010, and participation on the Council Support Work Groups in 2010 and 2011-2012. This Survey refers to the proposed process and policy changes described more fully in the email from Tom Byler on October 16, 2012. The materials can also be downloaded from the OWEB website at: Your responses to this survey and participation in the upcoming Listening Sessions kick off a broader stakeholder discussion that will inform OWEB as we develop proposals for Board decision in 2014.

Why the existing program needs to change
• The current process is overly burdensome and inefficient for councils and OWEB.
• Current policies lack clarity and reflect the past rather than the future vision.

Future Vision for Council Capacity
• Watershed councils are successful, stable organizations, producing watershed restoration and community engagement results across the state.
• OWEB contributes to council capacity over the long term.
• OWEB does not, alone, support the capacity needs of councils. Community support, and local, state, and regional partnerships, will sustain council capacity most successfully over the long term.

This vision is accomplished by a council support grant program that:
• Is administratively efficient for OWEB and councils.
• Ensures the most effective, efficient and accountable use of public funds.
• Encourages councils to maximize partnerships, collaboration, and operating efficiencies to become more self-sustaining.
• Provides a stable number of capacity grants for:
• a more efficient granting process for OWEB, and
• more predictable and equitable distribution of capacity grants for councils.
• Provides councils local flexibility, innovation and creativity within OWEB’s program and funding structure.
• Encourages a whole watershed approach by investing in geographically and ecologically based “ridgetop to ridgetop” council capacity areas.

We want your ideas for how to achieve the future vision.
OWEB has developed ideas for process and policy changes to support the future vision. We are open to other ways to achieve this future vision, and we need to hear your ideas. No decisions have been made at this point. Your feedback will be considered before the Board makes decisions.

Provide feedback on the Future Vision Statement for council capacity.

* 2. Questions 2-9 address the proposed process and policy changes to the council support capacity funding program. To help staff prepare for the listening sessions, indicate which listening session you plan to attend. Then answer questions 2-9 to indicate your level of concern for each of the proposed process and policy changes. There is also a comment box provided for each proposed change.

I will attend listening sessions:

3. The proposed process changes are based on the Outcome Based Review and Award Process concept developed by the 2011-2012 Council Support Work Group.
The five key process changes are listed below.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
Work-plan based application
Streamlined merit threshold criteria
Streamlined review for those that meet the merit threshold criteria
External review and interview process when there are questions or concerns
Annual, online, work-plan based reporting

4. OWEB’s rules on council support funding result in a range of funding for watershed councils. OWEB is proposing to move toward equal distribution of capacity funds to councils that are (1) eligible to apply and (2) meet the merit threshold criteria.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
Equal distribution for eligible councils that meet the merit threshold criteria.
Reduced funding for councils that do not meet the merit threshold criteria.
Targeted capacity fund for all councils.

5. Proposed new “purpose” statement:

The purpose of the watershed council support grant program is to help support effective watershed councils to engage people and communities in their watershed in order to carry out collaborative, voluntary watershed restoration activities for the purpose of restoration and enhancement of native fish or wildlife habitat and natural watershed functions to improve water quality or stream flows.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
Proposed purpose statement

6. OWEB is proposing changes to the current eligibility criteria. These changes were described more fully in the email from Tom Byler on October 16, 2012. The materials can also be downloaded from the OWEB website at: Questions 6-9 address these proposed policy changes.

OWEB is proposing requiring standard governance and accountability provisions in council bylaws, fiscal policies and procedures, and a board-adopted action plan.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
Bylaws
Fiscal policies
Council policies and procedures
Action Plan

7. The council must have official county commission recognition. OWEB is proposing this because Oregon statutes define councils as those designated by local governments convened by a county. This makes councils unique. County recognition encourages a whole watershed approach and broad opportunities for partnerships and collaboration.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
County government recognition required

8. OWEB grant agreements should be with a legal entity which can be held accountable for management of public funds. Because of this the council must be (i) a legal entity registered with the State of Oregon, such as a limited liability corporation or a 501(c)(3), or (ii) must have a written fiscal sponsorship agreement with a legal entity or 501(c)(3) that meets IRS requirements.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
The council must be a legal entity or must have a fiscal sponsorship agreement.

9. The current council support program and funding structure encourages separation or formation of new councils rather than sharing and collaboration, which may result in inefficiencies and can inhibit, rather than encourage, partnerships and a whole watershed approach to restoration. OWEB believes that a defined geographic funding structure can:
• Encourage councils to maximize partnerships, collaboration, and operating efficiencies to become more self-sustaining.
• Encourage a whole watershed approach by investing in geographically and ecologically based “ridgetop to ridgetop” council capacity areas.
• Provide a stable number of capacity grants for a more efficient granting process for OWEB, and a more predictable and equitable distribution of capacity grants for councils.
• Provide councils with local flexibility, innovation and creativity within OWEB’s program and funding structure.

Proposed Change: A council’s county-approved geographic boundaries must cover one of 45 Council Support Capacity Areas (Areas). These Areas are based on the USGS geographic scale, which is based on stream drainage basins. Each Area receives one council support capacity area grant. Some Areas are comprised of one watershed council; others by several.

  Not concerned/Does not need to be discussed Slightly concerned/Should be discussed if time allows Very concerned/Needs to be discussed
45 Council Support Capacity Areas based on the USGS geographic scale.

10. Please provide any additional thoughts, comments, or suggestions on the proposed changes to the council support capacity grant program or the future vision for council capacity.

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