RESTORE Council Grants Management System Portal

Welcome to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) Grants Management System Portal. The Council utilizes a two system “unified solution” to Grants Management. The two components of this unified solution are (1) GrantSolutions and (2) PIPER. These two systems are used in tandem for grant and interagency agreement applications, and to perform grant or agreement administrative tasks. (read more)
PIPER is the Council’s Program Information Platform for Ecosystem Restoration. PIPER allows recipients to:
  • Submit proposals for Council-Selected Restoration Component projects or programs for Council consideration
  • Submit programmatic information related to applications and awards for Council-Selected Restoration Component activities (Buckets 2) and State Expenditure Plan activities (Bucket 3)
  • Report upon and amend award milestones
  • Submit performance reports, including the programmatic sections of final closeout reports

GrantSolutions is the Council’s online grants management platform, and allows recipients to:
  • Submit required federal and Council application financial information
  • Accept a grant or interagency agreement
  • Request award amendments
  • Submit required financial and progress reports, including final financial closeout reports
  • Submit required and supporting award documentation

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Submit an Application
Both the PIPER and GrantSolutions systems are used together to submit a formal application for funding. (read more)

The Council Grants Office administers grants and interagency agreements under both the Council-Selected Restoration Component (“Bucket 2”) and the Spill Impact Component (“Bucket 3”). Bucket 2 projects and programs are approved for funding through Funded Priorities Lists (FPLs). Bucket 3 grants are awarded based upon approved State Expenditure Plans (SEPs). For both FPL and SEP applications, applicants are required to utilize both PIPER and GrantSolutions to submit the necessary components for grant and interagency agreement applications.

In the PIPER side of the application, program data from the approved FPL or SEP is carried over or entered into an electronic form, including narrative details about the activity and information regarding metrics, milestones, leveraged funding, environmental compliance, observational data collection and management, and GIS.

In the GrantSolutions side of the application, applicants submit detailed budgetary information and required forms for federal grant administration, including the Application for Federal Assistance, certifications and assurances, and disclosure of lobbying activities.

Once submitted in both systems, Council staff review the application to evaluate consistency with the approved FPL/SEP, and to ensure that the materials submitted are in accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and Council guidelines. If an issue is identified during the review, Council staff will notify the applicant and return the application in PIPER and GrantSolutions so that necessary edits can be made and the application resubmitted for review.

Detailed instructions on submitting applications in PIPER and GrantSolutions are available in the PIPER Application Module User Guide and the “GrantSolutions Users’ Guide” on the Grants User Guides and Templates webpage.

Resources

  • Submit application narrative and activity information
  • Submit milestones

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  • Submit application, application budget forms, certification forms, and other supporting documentation
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Manage an Award
Award recipients manage awards using PIPER for annual performance reporting and financial reporting milestone updates; and GrantSolutions for financial reporting. To amend an award, information may need to be submitted in both systems, depending on the type of request. (read more)
Performance and Financial Reporting

In order to meet reporting requirements, financial and performance reports are submitted to Council staff for review according to the reporting schedule listed in the award document. Award recipients have 30 days after the reporting period end date to complete and submit reports for Council staff review, after which they are marked ‘past due’ unless an extension is requested prior to the due date.

Performance reports for Council awards are submitted annually through PIPER. The performance report functions in PIPER include functions to edit, submit, and view performance reports associated with an award. If updates are made to the Observational Data Plan (ODP) for the activity during the reporting period, the updated ODP should be provided as an upload. The performance report form in PIPER also requests that recipients review and update the draft metadata record for the activity in MERLIN, the Council’s Metadata Records Library and Information Network.

Financial reports for Council awards are submitted primarily through GrantSolutions. These reports are normally submitted on an annual basis, but more frequent submissions may be required as shown in the reporting schedule found in the award. Council financial reports include the Federal Financial Report (FFR), also referred to as the SF-425, as well as expenditure data and narrative information supplied via FFR attachments. In addition, financial reports are required to include updated milestones documenting project and/or program progress. Updated milestones should be submitted via PIPER.


Amending an Award

FPL or SEP amendments may be required for certain changes to listed projects (e.g., material changes in scope or cost, transfer of sponsorship to another Council member). Award amendments are processed in both PIPER and GrantSolutions, depending upon the type of changes requested.

To initiate an amendment, a change request form must be submitted in GrantSolutions using the Grant Note functionality for review and approval by Council staff. Upon review of the change request form, Council staff will contact the recipient to provide information on what information is needed and in which system. Submission of an amendment request in GrantSolutions will always be required. The PIPER application for the existing award usually will also be reopened so that the information (e.g., milestones) may be modified to reflect the changes requested.

Once the amended application materials are submitted in the appropriate systems, Council staff review the application to evaluate consistency with the approved FPL/SEP, and to ensure that the materials submitted are in accordance with federal statutes, regulations, and guidelines. If an issue is identified during the review, Council staff will notify the applicant and return the application in PIPER and GrantSolutions so that necessary edits can be made and the application resubmitted for review.

Resources

  • Performance Reporting
  • Milestones Reporting
  • Post-Award Amendment
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  • Annual Financial Reporting
  • Provide Information (Note)
  • Post-Award Amendment
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  • Review and edit ISO-19115 compliant metadata records for the award
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Closeout an Award
At award closeout, recipients complete the final performance report for the award in PIPER and the final financial report in GrantSolutions. Along with these reports, the Google Form Observational Data Plan closeout form is also required, along with review and publication of the associated award metadata in MERLIN. (read more)

Award closeout tasks are completed in both PIPER and GrantSolutions at the end of the period of performance. Specific tasks are listed in the award closeout checklist below.

The final performance report is submitted in PIPER. Many of the steps for completing a closeout performance report are similar to those for completing a normal performance report in PIPER; however a closeout report includes additional “closeout” uploads as the final step in closing an award. In addition to the final performance report, recipients will submit a final Observational Data Plan, a completed Observational Data Plan Closeout Form, final GIS files, and will review and publish the MERLIN metadata record associated with the activity. A final update to the Milestones for the project or program will also be completed in PIPER.

On the GrantSolutions side, recipients closing out an award will submit the final financial report, which includes the final Federal Financial Report (FFR) form in Grant Solutions, completed expenditures, a final financial reporting narrative, and a certification of closeout. In some cases, additional information, such as final deliverables, a real or intangible property status report (SF-428, SF-429) or request for disposition instructions (SF-429-C), may also be required.

Once both final reports are submitted, Council staff will review the submitted reports and associated uploads. Upon approval, the award is considered closed.

Resources

  • Complete final performance report and associated closeout requirements for an award


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  • Complete final financial report and associated closeout requirements (see checklist) for award once all financial transactions are completed
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  • Complete and submit the required ODP forms at award closeout
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  • Review, edit, and publish ISO-19115 compliant metadata records for the award
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