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FY2008 Science Support Partnership Selections

I am very pleased to announce selections for FY2008 funding under the USGS/FWS Science Support Partnership (SSP). Please note that final awards are pending the FY2008 USGS appropriations including possible holdbacks and other reductions. Barring any significant, unforeseen changes to BRD budgets it is anticipated that SSP will be able to fund all of these activities in FY2008.

Background
The Science Support Partnership (SSP) is a collaborative program through which USGS scientists address priority research needs identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The SSP is supported by approximately $4 million of BRD funding each year, of which approximately $1.1 million was available for new activities in FY2008. The annual SSP call for proposals was issued this past spring followed by proposal reviews and selections over the summer. This resulted in 33 new projects being selected for funding and three on-going projects being extended into FY2008 (or beyond). In sum, SSP will fund 94 projects in FY2008.

Thank you to all who applied to the program, and congratulations to those selected for funding under this important partnership.

Fiscal Year 2008 Selections
Information regarding all FY2008 SSP activities is enclosed as an Excel file. Please note that there are three lists displaying similar information in different ways:

Tab 1: FY2008 Selections - Look here to see the results of the most recent RFP. This list includes only the 36 activities newly selected for FY2008.

Tab 2: All projects by USGS Centers - This list includes all SSP activities being supported in FY2008 (and beyond) and is organized by USGS Regions and Science Centers.

Tab 3: All projects by FWS Regions - This list includes all SSP activities being supported in FY2008 (and beyond) and is organized by FWS Regions.

As you review these lists, please note that some activities take place at more than one USGS Research Center, and some are supported by more than one FWS Region. A few SSP activities are also supported by the Quick Response Program; clarifying notes have been included on the Excel sheet where appropriate.

Next Steps - Status of Funds
Funding for continuing activities and new technical assistance activities are scheduled for distribution on the initial budget allocation. No further action or documentation is required for PIs to receive funds for these activities. Exactly when this will take place depends on the actions of Congress and the USGS appropriations.

New research activities require a peer reviewed study plan prior to the release of funds. PIs should initiate the peer review process using your local (Science Center or Coop Unit) peer review policy. Upon completion of the peer review process, please submit a copy of the study plan, including appropriate supervisory approval, to Steve Hilburger in Reston. Electronic copies are preferred, although hardcopy and faxes are also acceptable. Regardless of the submission method, supervisory approvals must be included as evidence of the review. Individual peer review comments are not required. Once the plan is received, a change of allocation (COA) will be prepared to distribute the funds.

Please refer to the "Study Plan" and "Status of Funds" columns of the announcement list to determine if your activity requires a study plan.

Next Steps - BASIS+
As with all USGS science, PIs or other appropriate Center/Coop Unit staff are required to include a description of the work and related products in BASIS+. All SSP activities are maintained under BASIS+ project 3210APN. A subtask number is assigned to each activity at the time funds are distributed, and the subtask number is provided on the COA form. The PI and AO are initially set up as Task Leaders, others may be added if required. Contact Steve Hilburger or Pat Dick with specific Task Leader requests.

Continuing Resolution
As we are currently under a continuing resolution through the middle of November and other CRs may be passed by Congress, there is an obvious question of how this impacts SSP funded activities. CR related guidance applies to the SSP as well as base-funds. Further, it is important to note that the Science Support Partnership is considered a single, on-going project with a number of tasks under it. Thus Cost Centers may spend as described in the CR in support of these activities, even those which are beginning this year. This may be helpful when, for example, field work is required at a certain time yet the budget is not yet passed. As SSP budgets for each individual activity may differ between FY2007 and FY2008, Cost Centers should apply the appropriate rate, as described in the CR, to the FY2008 budget for each activity.

With that said, Cost Centers are still advised to be cautious in their SSP related spending under the CR, but should also be aware of the flexibility that does exist if needed. Please keep in mind that this flexibility does not preclude the requirement for a peer reivewed study plan.

I submitted a proposal, but do not see it listed here.
This could be due to one of two things; either the proposal was not ranked high enough to be funded this year under SSP, or in some cases, it may have received funding under the SSP's sister program, the Quick Response Program (QRP) which is managed by the USGS Regional Offices.

QRP activities are limited to one year of funding and lower dollar amounts (typically under 50K). If your proposal fits these criteria, please refer to the appropriate QRU announcement. QRP announcements were made for Eastern Region by Glenn Holcomb on October 10 and for Central Region by Jay Hestbeck on October 17. QRP selectees in USGS Western Region - covering FWS Region 1 (both CNO and North) and Region 7 (Alaska) will be receiving an email from lief_horwitz@usgs.gov in the near future.

If a proposal was not ranked high enough to receive funding this year I encourage you to solicit feedback from FWS regarding this proposal. The FWS Project Officer may have already received feedback from the Regional Review panels. If not, you may wish to contact the appropriate FWS Regional Contact (http://biology.usgs.gov/ssp/contacts.html).

This announcement is being shared widely in USGS. Feel free to further distribute to interested staff. It will also be posted on the Science Support Partnership web site (http://biology.usgs.gov/ssp/) for future reference.

I welcome any comments or questions regarding the SSP or these activities.

Steve Hilburger
Science Support Partnership
US Geological Survey
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, MS301
Reston, VA 20192
shilburger@usgs.gov

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