Progress and Plans for Meeting RCW 70.146.090 Requirements (Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee) Water Quality Program Financial Assistance
Evolution of “JLARC” Statute • Legislative interest in state investments by all environmental financial programs. • Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) Evaluation in 2000 • Audited 12 environmental grant and loan programs • Six (6) state agencies.
Evolution of “JLARC” Statute (cont.) • Two primary audit themes: • Effectiveness at producing high environmental quality returns, and • Services provided by state to local governments.
The Audit Found a Need for.…. • Major shift of program focus from: • Distributing funds, to • Strategic investment of funds, and • Streamlined, integrated service between programs. • Yearly Reports to Legislature.
Key Recommendations…. • Uniform Project Reporting System (UPERS) Implementation • Develop meaningful output & outcome measures for: • project and program investment performance contributing to adaptive management • Collaborate on strategic plan for water quality and salmon recovery > SSB 5637
Key Recommendations (cont)…. • Incorporate “Key Investment Practices” • Application Process • Selection Process • Investment Process • Implementation • Monitoring’ • Adaptive Management • Coordination
Key Recommendations (cont)…. 5. Joint, collaborative work with other agencies to streamline across funding programs e.g: • Definitions, • Assessment protocols, • Application forms, • Priority criteria, etc. 6. Agencies report to Legislature annually on efforts and progress.
Statutory Direction Outcomes and Collaboration • Statutes and funding authorizations for all six agencies including Water Quality’s Centennial Statute (Chapter 70.146 RCW, Water Pollution Control Facilities Financing Act) were amended by the Legislature in 2001:
2001 Statutory Requirements: RCW 70.146.090…. “Grants and loans to local governments -- Statement of environmental benefits -- Development of outcome-focused performance measures. In providing grants and loans to local governments, the department (of Ecology) shall: (actively address three  multi-year tasks):
2001 Statutory Requirements: 1. Require recipients to incorporate the environmental benefits of the project into their applications, and the department (of Ecology) shall utilize the statement of environmental benefits in its grant and loan prioritization and selection process. (Implemented - but ongoing effort)
2001 Statutory Requirements: 2. The department shall also develop appropriate outcome-focused performance measures to be used both for management and performance assessment of the grant and loan program. (Some efforts completed – others under development).
2001 Statutory Requirements: 3. To the extent possible, the department should coordinate its performance measure system with other natural resource-related agencies as defined in RCW 43.41.270. The department shall consult with affected interest groups in implementing this section.” (Ongoing, but needs continued refinement).
The Past………. • Goals, objectives, and milestones were subsets of tasks and solutions in all grant/loan applications. • Responses to solution questions received priority points. • Ecology’s “Final Performance Evaluation” tracked accomplishments at project completion (only). • Ecology had no integrated method to track on project and program environmental benefits, e.g. dollars invested vs. environmental results derived.
The Present… Water Quality “Goals” are defined as major changes in the environment. Specifically they are one or more of the following three (3) measures:
Applicants must address at least one (1) of three (3) “Water Quality Goals:” • Eliminate “Severe Public Health Hazard” or “Public Health Emergency.” • Restore or protect designated beneficial uses: e.g. 303(d) listed water bodies de-listed and/or prevent healthy waters from being degraded. • Regulatory compliance with a consent decree, compliance order, TMDL or waste load allocation, etc., achieved.
Water Quality Outcomes…. “OUTCOMES” are defined as environmental changes that the applicant/recipient can expect to achieve from a successful project, e.g. Establishment and maintenance of a properly functioning 12 mile riparian corridor by: • Planting and maintaining at least 15,000 trees. • Documenting 90%, 8 year survival rate to provide shade. • Excluding all cattle from the corridor for a period of at least 20 years along 12 miles of stream.
Water Quality Milestones MILESTONES” are defined as performance items that measurably lead to the achievement of the “Water Quality Outcomes and Goals.” e.g: • Five Meetings of the watershed action committee by May 31, 2005. • Gather and train by July 31, 2005, a “stream team” to plant the trees and install fence. • Acquisition of at least 8,000 trees by August 31, 2005. • Prepare 3 mile planting area by September 30, 2005. • Install fence, p1ant, fertilize, and apply deer repellent to 7,000 trees by October 31, 2005, etc.
What Have We Done? During the FY 2003 and 04 funding cycles, the rating and ranking process recognized (points assigned to): • Addressing long-term “Water Quality Goals.” • Identifying “Water Quality Outcomes” achievable by completing the project. • Meeting identified “Water Quality Milestones.” • Committing to long–term monitoring and maintenance.
Assessing Project Effectiveness A “Special Condition” will be included in all grant /loan agreements beginning in FY04 that will require recipients to: • Coordinate and help Ecology to assess project effectiveness. • Participate in a survey and interview process. • Determine the effectiveness of the investment.
Assessment Timing and Process • Three to five (3-5) years after project completion, the recipient: • Completes a one-page survey e-mailed by Ecology to the recipient (after phone call). • Participates in a 1 - 2 hour interview (as needed, based on survey).
What’s in the Survey? • The most critical and specific “Outcome(s)” achieved by the project. • Evidence of the continued maintenance and effectiveness of the project. • The status of the Water Quality Goal(s) at the time of the assessment. • Other completed, ongoing, and subsequent work needed to achieve the Goal(s).
The Interview…. • Interview will go into more depth - building on the survey. • Sharing of success stories about the project and others in the area, etc.
Ongoing Efforts… • Complete Field Test of Survey & Interview. • Develop Tracking System for Outcomes, Goals. • Implement and follow this strategy. • Coordinate efforts with other state agencies • Report to both Legislature and EPA re: Goals & addressing investment strategy.