Mariculture Incentive Grant Program

ROUND 1 OF THE MARICULTURE INCENTIVE GRANT PROGRAM HAS CLOSED.

Executive Summary

 

To facilitate the development of Alaska’s mariculture industry Governor Dunleavy worked with Alaska Legislature to appropriate $5 million to help realize the vision of what mariculture can mean to the people of Alaska. The grant was made to the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) for the Alaska Mariculture Alliance (AMA) to administer the Economic Recovery Mariculture Incentive Grant Program (MIGP).

The objective of this project is for AMA to establish a grant process to distribute funding to mariculture businesses throughout Alaska. The MIGP is also designed to:

 

    • Aid with investments that expand existing or start new farming operations;
    • Aid with the expansion of existing hatcheries or development of new hatcheries.
    • Facilitate the purchase of new mariculture processing equipment.

Please read all materials before preparing and submitting the application.

For answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions
For grant specific questions, please contact us at grants@alaskamariculture.org

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the MIGP is to provide dollar for dollar matching grant funds to mariculture farmers, processors, nurseries, and hatchery operations who are engaged in developing or expanding mariculture in Alaska. The MIGP is intended to promote a viable and sustainable mariculture industry producing shellfish and aquatic plants for the long term benefit of Alaska’s economy, environment, and communities.

 

Projected Timeline
  • Applications published online – October 9, 2023.
  • Application period closes – December 8, 2023 @ 11:59 p.m.
  • Grant award announcements: January 20, 2024.
  • All approved projects must be completed by June 20, 2025.
Applicant Eligibility
  • Applicants must have a permitted mariculture farm, hatchery, nursery, processing facility, or other mariculture-related business located in Alaska.
  • Nonprofits are not eligible to apply, with the exception of nonprofit shellfish and/or aquatic plant hatcheries.
  • Applicants may only apply for one grant per round – micro or standard.
  • Applicants may apply for grants during all application rounds but are limited to a cumulative total of $300,000 during the full MIGP period.
Project Eligibility
  • Grants may be issued for projects that are necessary and reasonable for the efficient operation and/or expansion of the permitted mariculture farm, processor, or hatchery.
  • The proposal must clearly demonstrate how the project will benefit the operation.
  • Only one grant will be issued per project and/or business in each round.
  • Only eligible expenses will be reimbursed (List of Eligible and Ineligible Expenses)
Match Requirement
  • Grant recipients will be required to meet a 1-to-1, dollar-for-dollar, match requirement. The recipient must provide verification of the matching funds. Verification of matching funds can be in the form of a:
    • Loan approval;
    • Bank statement;
    • Credit card statement indicating available funds; or
    • Receipts of allowable expenses that were incurred since October 1, 2023.

Funding Parameters

Applicants may apply for either a micro-grant or a standard grant, but not both.

  • Micro-grant: $5,000 ≥ $35,000.
  • Standard grant: > $35,001 and ≤ $150,000.

Selected Grant Recipients will receive funding for their projects on a cost reimbursement basis during the term of the grant agreement. Selected Grant Recipients must have the financial capability to pay all costs upfront.  Advance payment of up to 20% of the grant amount will be available in the Micro-Grant Category. Funds will not be advanced to Standard Grant Recipients.

Grant awards will be available for no less than $5,000 and no more than $150,000 for each Grant Recipient selected to receive an award under the program. Recipients will have up to eighteen (18) months to complete their projects and seek reimbursement for allowable grant expenses, as authorized by the approved project budget.

Program restrictions require the Grant Recipient to individually incur and pay project expenses upfront. All invoices/receipts generated under this project must be in the name of the Grant Recipient. If Grant Recipient is unable to incur cost up front for an expense greater than the size of their match, Grant Recipient must provide receipt of payment for their match percentage of the expense before AMA will release funds.

Grant Recipients will have up to 18 months to complete the approved project and utilize grants funds on allowable expenses. No extensions will be granted and all unused funds must be returned to the AMA.

Grant Recipients will be required to meet a 1:1 match requirement. For every dollar requested, the Grant Recipient must show expenditure(s), prior to reimbursement, of at least an equal amount of Grant Recipient matching funds from allowable sources.

Awards are subject to the availability of funds. If funds have been exhausted or are otherwise unavailable, applicants will be notified. Total funds available for grants in Round 1 of the MIGP is $1,500,000.

 

Timeline

 

Application Period

Fully completed applications, with all required accompanying documentation, may be submitted on or after October 9, 2023, and must be submitted by no later than 11:59 p.m. on December 8, 2023.  Incomplete or untimely applications will not be considered.

Evaluation of Applications

A multi-step process, developed by the Alaska Mariculture Alliance Board of Directors, will be followed for selecting Mariculture Incentive Grant awardees.

1. Applicant eligibility determination: Alaska Mariculture Alliance staff review applications to determine if all eligibility criteria for the applicant are met. Applicants will be contacted and provided 5 business days to resolve any eligibility issues.

2. Expense criteria determination: Alaska Mariculture Alliance staff review applications to determine if all planned expenses meet eligibility criteria. Applicants will be contacted and provided 5 business days to resolve any eligibility issues.

3. External review: Applications that meet eligibility and expense criteria are distributed to three to five external reviewers for written evaluation and comments, based on evaluation criteria (Table 1). These reviewers certify no conflict of interest.

4. Application ranking: Alaska Mariculture Alliance staff compile externally reviewed applications and ranking. The top ranked applications are selected for funding, up to the availability of funding.

5. Confidentiality of reviews: Reviewer identity and review discussions will be maintained in confidence. A review summary may be requested by applicants not selected for funding.

Table 1. Evaluation criteria.

Criteria Weighting Elements
Relevance 35% Importance, relevance and applicability of proposed project to support sustainability and growth in the mariculture industry of Alaska
Technical merit 35% The degree to which the activity is technically sound, feasible, or innovative; uses appropriate methods; includes clearly stated measurable objectives and mechanisms to evaluate success; and achieves anticipated implementation in the time proposed. 
Qualification of applicants 15% Applicants possess the necessary experience, training, facilities, and resources to accomplish the project, with consideration to new businesses and past performance. 
Project costs 15% Budget costs are realistic and commensurate with the project needs and time frame, reasonable given the availability of matching grant funds, and effectively leverage other resources to achieve project objectives. 

The AMA will review applications for completeness and notify the applicant if the application is complete or if it is missing any information or materials.

The Alaska Mariculture Alliance makes funding decisions and reserves the right to fully or partially fund any particular grant application. Award decisions are final.

Recipient Responsibilities
  • Timely perform the project;
  • Use funds only for activities necessary for the approved project;
  • Submit all required reports in a timely manner;
  • Perform reporting and record-keeping; and
  • Comply with all local, state and federal laws related to their project, including without limitation all lease and permit conditions.

Failure to comply with the terms of the grant agreement may result in termination of the grant or ineligibility for reimbursement of expenses.

Reporting Requirements

 

Grant recipients will be required to submit periodic performance reports to the AMA. Reporting timelines will be incorporated into the grant agreement. As part of the AMA’s ongoing monitoring of grant funds, Grant Recipients must regularly demonstrate progress toward achieving project goals. Failure to comply with reporting requirements may result in the withholding of requests for reimbursement and/or termination of the award.

Grant recipients must ensure that an adequate accounting system and internal controls are in place to properly report in a timely manner. This includes records relating to the authorized project, accounting records, financial records, reports, or any other project related documents.

Record Keeping Requirements

 

This program is entirely funded by a grant from the State of Alaska. Therefore, grant recipients must keep separate records and a bookkeeping account (with a complete record of all expenditures) for a project, to facilitate any audit or informal examination by the State or its representatives. The AMA and the State of Alaska shall have access to: all electronic data or records pertaining to the grant project; paper or other tangible documents or records, including the physical location where records are stored; and all locations related to project activities. Records shall be maintained for a minimum of six (6) years after the completion of the project, or as otherwise agreed upon with the AMA.

If any litigation, claim, negotiation, audit, or other action is initiated prior to the expiration of the six-year retention period, then all records and accounts must be retained until their destruction is authorized in writing by AMA. The AMA reserves the right to examine all books, documents, records, and accounts relating to the project, including all electronic records, at any time throughout the duration of the agreement until all litigation, claims, negotiations, audits, or other action pertaining to a grant is resolved, or until the expiration of the four-year retention period or a final judgment in litigation, whichever is longer.

If Grant Recipient has a financial audit performed during the time Grant Recipient is receiving funds from the AMA, upon request, the AMA shall have access to information about the audit, including the audit transmittal letter, management letter, any schedules, and the final report or result of such audit

 

General Information

Selected applicants will receive an electronic Notice of Grant Award (NOGA) and an official Grant Agreement from the AMA. The NOGA is not legally binding until a grant agreement is fully executed. The AMA reserves the right to fund projects partially or fully. The AMA reserves the right to negotiate individual elements of any application and to reject any and all applications. Where more than one application is acceptable for funding, AMA may request cooperation between Grant Recipients or application revisions or adjustments to avoid duplication and best realize the purpose of the MIGP.

Applicant Responsible for Costs.

The AMA reserves the right to reject all applications and is not liable for costs incurred by the applicant in the development, submission, or review of the application; or costs incurred by the applicant prior to October 1, 2023.

Right to Amend or Terminate Program.

The AMA reserves the right to alter, amend, or clarify any provisions, terms, or conditions of this program or any grant awarded as a result thereof, or to terminate this program at any time prior to the execution of an agreement, if AMA deems any such action to be in the best interest of AMA and of the purpose of the MIPG. The decision of AMA will be administratively final in this regard.

Proprietary and Public Information

In the event that a public information request for the application is received, the AMA shall process such request in accordance with State of Alaska Public Information Standards. Applicants are advised to consult with their legal counsel regarding disclosure issues and to take appropriate precautions to safeguard trade secrets or any other proprietary information. All applications submitted under this program are subject to release as public information, unless the application or specific parts of any such application can be shown to be exempt from disclosure under State of Alaska Public Information Law.

Conflict of Interest

The applicant is required to disclose any existing or potential conflicts of interest relative to this grant program. Failure to disclose any such relationship may result in the applicant’s disqualification or termination of any resulting grant agreement.

Application Assistance

If an applicant requires assistance with the grant application process for reasons such as disability, language barrier, or internet connectivity issues, assistance will be provided. Send an email to grants@alaskamariculture.org with “Assistance with Grant Application” in the subject line.

Reporting Fraud

Although this program is being administered by the AMA, a private nonprofit organization, the funds are subject to all the same penalties for fraud as if it was a state-run program.

The AMA is committed to promoting a culture of integrity within this program. Reports of suspected fraud or illegal activities involving state resources may be made by:

    • contacting Lindsay Reese, Grant Administrator, State of Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development – lindsay.reese@alaska.gov or 907.269.7906
    • contacting Jason Lessard, AMA Executive Director – jlessard@alaskamariculture.org

Questions?

Check out our FAQs here or reach out to us at grants@alaskamariculture.org