Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities

The new Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities (GIGO) Program funds projects to construct green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) that prevent, eliminate, or reduce water quality impairments by decreasing stormwater runoff into Illinois' rivers, streams, and lakes. Projects that implement treatment trains (multiple BMPs in a series) and/or multiple BMPs within the same watershed may be more effective and efficient than a single large green infrastructure BMP.

The GIGO application forms will be posted in early 2021.
Applications will be due in early-Spring 2021.


Green Infrastructure

For the purpose of Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities (GIGO), green infrastructure means any stormwater management technique or practice employed with the primary goal to preserve, restore, mimic, or enhance natural hydrology. Green Infrastructure includes, but is not limited to, methods of using soil and vegetation to promote soil percolation, evapotranspiration, and filtering or the harvesting and reuse of precipitation.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, localized and riverine flooding will likely become more frequent. Localized flooding happens when rainfall overwhelms the capacity of the urban drainage systems, while riverine flooding happens when river flows exceed the capacity of a river channel. By reducing stormwater runoff in urban areas, detaining water away from impacted areas, and reconnecting streams to their floodplains, GIGO can improve water quality through the reduction of the number and duration of both localized and riverine flood events.

Eligible Projects

Eligible projects will provide water quality improvement through the construction of BMPs to decrease stormwater runoff prior to release into rivers, streams, and lakes, and include:

  1. Reconnection of a stream with its floodplain (e.g., two-stage ditch, daylighting); 
  2. Treatment and flow control of stormwater runoff at sites directly upstream or downstream of an impervious area that currently impacts river, stream, or lake water quality through stormwater runoff discharge; and/or
  3. Treatment and flow control of water generated from impervious surfaces associated with urban development (such as roads and buildings).

Examples of Project Types/BMPs that may be funded through the GIGO are provided below. The list is not all-inclusive, and inclusion of a BMP here does not equate to an automatic eligibility for funding under the GIGO.

Bioinfiltration

  • Vegetated practices designed to facilitate the infiltration of stormwater and remove pollutants through infiltration media and/or vegetation uptake (e.g., bioretention areas, swales, infiltration basins, and green roofs

Retention/Infiltration

  • Practices which allow stormwater to infiltrate into underlying soil; filter some pollutants (e.g., permeable pavement/pavers (roadway, alleys, and parking lots); underground infiltration, and retention areas)

Detention Pond Creation/Retrofit

  • Projects which create a new wet detention basin;
  • Projects which retrofit an existing dry retention basin into a wet detention basin;
  • Projects which modify an existing wet detention basin to increase its stormwater retention and treatment capacity (e.g., additional freeboard).

Wetland Creation/Modification

  • Projects which create a wetland to intercept runoff, reduce peak flows, decrease runoff volume, and mitigate pollution to rivers, streams, and lakes
  • Projects which modify an existing wetland (within limits of State and federal law) to improve its stormwater retention and treatment capacity

Floodplain Reconnection

  • Projects which reconnect a river, stream, or lake to its floodplain to increase water infiltration through access to larger water retention area and/or for a longer water retention period o A two-stage ditch includes a ‘floodplain’ within its channel design.
    • Daylighting restores an originally open-air watercourse previously diverted below-ground back into an above-ground channel to allow the watercourse to reconnect with its floodplain.
    • A levee retrofit allows water access back to a specific area within its floodplain.

Watershed-Wide Projects

  • Smaller BMPs (e.g., rain gardens, green walls, trees, tree boxes, infiltration planters, dry wells, pocket wetlands, etc.) and the BMPs listed above that are constructed throughout the watershed. This type of project benefits communities without access to large tracts of land to convert into green infrastructure.
    • NOTE - Applicant must describe the ranking process used for watershed-wide projects to confirm that the BMP sites proposed address the most critical areas with structural and non-structural practices that, if properly managed, will provide the greatest protection or improvement in water quality for the longest duration.

Rainwater Harvesting

  • Projects that capture, divert, and store rainwater for later use (e.g., rain barrels and cisterns)

Downspout Disconnections

  • Projects which redirect flow from a roof, currently connected to a sewer system, into a rain barrel or to another area, usually a lawn or rain garden, where it can soak into the ground

BMP Design and Construction

  • Projects including both BMP design and its construction (See Section D.4. for funding restrictions for design costs.)

Funding

Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities utilizes funds distributed by the State of Illinois generated under the Build Illinois Bond Fund. Illinois EPA expects to award a total of $5,000,000 annually beginning FY2021-FY2025 and anticipates distributing this amount across two (2) to ten (10) awards per year. GIGO has a set maximum total grant award of $2,500,000 with a minimum grant award of $75,000. No more than 50 percent of the program total, per funding cycle, shall be allocated to any one applicant or project.

GIGO is a reimbursement program. The grantee must perform the work, pay project costs, and submit an invoice with supporting documentation before Illinois EPA will reimburse the grantee for any approved eligible costs. Illinois EPA shall only make reimbursements to the grantee and shall reimburse the grantee no more frequently than monthly.

The Illinois EPA may elect to partially fund an application by funding discrete portions or phases of the project scope of work. This could be due to ineligible components identified in the application or inadequate funds available to complete the entire project.

Eligibility Information

Eligible Applicants

  • GIGO funds are available to any Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Qualified entity that has legal status to accept funds from the State of Illinois. These may include local watershed groups, land conservancies or trusts, public and private profit and nonprofit organizations and institutions, units government (county, municipal, township, or state), universities and colleges, park districts and other local land managing agencies, soil and water conservation districts, and conservation organizations.
  • GIGO applicants must have the financial ability to initiate the project, pay expenses, and then request reimbursement from the Illinois EPA, while continuing to finance their normal operating expenses.
  • GIGO applicants must have the authority and ability to implement the proposed project or propose to subcontract portions of the project to the appropriate entities for implementation.
Project Match

  • GIGO may provide up to 75 percent of the approved project costs, except for those applicants that propose projects within a defined disadvantaged area1 which may be eligible for up to 85 percent GIGO assistance.2 The remaining 25 percent (15 percent for approved disadvantaged areas) is the responsibility of the grantee and constitutes the match. Match may include money spent or in-kind services utilized to complete the approved project tasks. Match can be provided by the grantee, sub-contractor, or project partners (e.g., State programs, private foundations, landowners). A grantee may match greater than 25 percent (15 percent for projects located within an approved disadvantaged area).
  • If an applicant wants to use a grant from another funding agency as match, the applicant should check with the funding agency issuing the grant to ensure that it may be used as match for a GIGO grant. The following applies when using other grants to match a GIGO grant:
    • The matching grant scope of work must directly satisfy a portion of the GIGO scope of work;
    • The date that the grantee incurs costs for the matching grant must fall within the effective and expiration dates of the GIGO grant agreement; and
    • The costs incurred under the matching grant must be eligible according to the GIGO criteria.
Indirect Costs

  • GIGO is limited to BMP implementation and limited design expenses. GIGO shall not compensate for indirect costs, overhead, equipment purchase, or administrative expenses associated with the execution of the project.
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1 A disadvantaged area has a Median Household Income (MHI) below 75% of the State Average MHI as documented in the 2010 US Census.
2 Provided that no more than 10% of the amount so appropriated in any fiscal year, is made available for the additional assistance for disadvantaged local governments.

Applications

The GIGO application forms will be posted in early 2021. Applications will be due in early-Spring 2021. Applications must be submitted electronically.

If you have any questions regarding the program or application, contact:

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Bureau of Water
Watershed Management Section
Green Infrastructure Grant Opportunities
1021 North Grand Avenue East
P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62794-9276
(217) 782-3362