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Stream Restoration Projects Receive Duplicative State Funding and Inadequate Performance Management (March 2019)

Summary

The Program Evaluation Division (PED) evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of the grant application process for stream restorations administered by the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) Division of Water Resources under the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (NRCS-EQIP).The Western Stream Initiative (WSI) is the source of federal NRCS-EQIP funds used for stream restoration projects within 31 of the western counties in North Carolina. PED found that state funding for WSI projects has been duplicative, which occurred when two state sources—the Water Resources Development Grant (WRDG) program and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF)—provided funding for identical work activities within a single project. Additionally, PED found that data necessary to demonstrate the grant program’s efficiency and effectiveness are not being tracked or reported, and of the data that are tracked, performance trends show diminishing returns. Lastly, WRDG-EQIP grant award calculations do not rely on historical project cost data, which results in imprecise awards and potential overawarding of funding. The General Assembly should consolidate grant resources with either WRDG-EQIP or the CWMTF; direct the WSI grant administrator to improve performance management; and direct the State Auditor to perform an audit of state funds for WSI projects managed by Resource Institute.

Final Report

Executive Summary

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PED Contact:

Program Evaluation Division, North Carolina General Assembly
Legislative Office Building, Suite 100
300 North Salisbury Street , Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
919-301-1404