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Applicant Resources at a Glance

FY24 Coping with Drought FAQ

Tribal Drought Resilience with IRA Support Competition

Updated December 12, 2023

General Questions

Q: If a Letter of Intent was submitted, can we make changes in submitting the full proposal (budget, PIs, partners, etc.)?

A: Yes! The Letter of Intent contains an estimated budget and initial thoughts on PIs, partners, etc. You have full latitude to make changes in the full proposal within the requirements of the Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity.

Q: Can I add a tribal co-primary investigator (co-PI) if they were not on the Letter of Intent?

A: Yes!

Q: If my Letter of Intent was Discouraged without Major Modifications or Discouraged can I still submit a full application?

A: Yes, the decision to submit a full application is at the discretion of the applicant.

Q: Would being a recipient of a previous NIDIS tribal drought resilience grant affect the likelihood of success this round?

A: No, there were no restrictions related to previous NIDIS funding in the NOFO.

Q: If a tribal nation is applying as the primary applicant, is a “statement of diversity and inclusion” required?

A: Yes, this is a required component of the application.

Q: If a tribal nation is applying so they have to include outside partners?

A: No, if the capacity to carry out the project sits within the tribe, no outside partners are required. We would still like to see an integrated project teams with appropriate expertise from within the tribe as warranted.

Q: Do you fund construction costs?

A: Any activity that can be linked to building tribal drought resilience in a changing climate can be proposed.

Q: Is a tribal resolution required for submission of a full application?

A: We expect each applicant to adhere to the governance structures and requirements of the tribal government that they represent or that they are working with. This can include the need for a tribal resolution, approval of tribal council, engagement/review/approval of the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, cultural review/approval, tribal IRB process, etc. It will be up to the applicant to understand the requirements and either have fulfilled them (attach documentation to the application) or to have laid out the process and where they are in the process with expected completion dates in the grant application, whichever is appropriate based on the requirements of the tribe.

Q: Can you talk about ideally what the breakdown of funds should look like, re: how much goes to the tribe vs non-tribal partners (e.g. can funds go to travel costs for academic partners to do in-person workshops with the tribe)?

A: There is not an ideal breakdown. This would be very project and application dependent. What we want to see is the full partnership of the tribe in the proposal (e.g., co-PI, funds to the tribe) from the initial stages of project development to the conclusion of the project.

Q: To justify the partnership with tribal communities, is it sufficient to include an extension university faculty who work directly on tribal lands?

A: No, the requirements of the competition are “Demonstrate full partnership of tribal nations. If the primary applicant is not a tribal nation, full partnership with a tribal nation can be demonstrated by: 1) including at least one full investigator on the project representing a federally recognized tribe and 2) indicating through the budget and budget justification that funds are being disseminated to the tribe.”

Q: Could you give some examples of ” at least one full investigator on the project representing a federally recognized tribe”?

A: Yes, you can look at either of these two currently funded projects under the NIDIS FY22 Coping with Drought Building Tribal Drought Resilience to see examples of a project led by a university in full partnership with a tribal government. Project 1 and Project 2.

Q: If I have additional questions about the feedback given regarding my Letter of Intent or the process for submitting a full application can I set up a meeting?

A: Yes, please contact Britt Parker ( with any additional questions.


Q: Where can I find more information about the National Integrated Drought Information System? 


Q: Where can I find the NIDIS Tribal Engagement Strategy?


Q: Where can I find more information about the NOAA Climate Program Office?


Q: Where can I find all the details about the FY24 Notice of Funding Opportunity Tribal Drought Resilience with IRA Support?


Q: Where can I find the current funding opportunity on


Q: Will this brief be posted and if so, where?

A: Yes, participants will receive an email with all materials, we will send it out via the NIDIS communication channels, and it will be posted at

Q: Where can I find information on past projects that have been funded to build tribal drought resilience?

A: Go to this webpage, scroll to the bottom and click on project titles to access an overview of the project:

Q: What other helpful resources are available if I plan to apply to the competition?

A: All resources can be accessed through the above webpage but here are some of the key resources that were discussed during the webinar.

Full NOFO: 

Information Sheet: 

Checklist for Applicants: 

Q: Will there be any other informational sessions?

A: Yes, we will be holding an additional informational session on December 6, 2023 at 2pm Eastern to talk through feedback on the letters of intent and answer any additional questions. You can register here:

Q: What is the purpose of the LOI?

A: The purpose of the LOI process is to provide information to potential applicants on the relevance of their proposed project to the competition in advance of preparing a full application. This also allows NIDIS to provide some standardized feedback on the project idea related to the requirements of the competition. While a LOI is not required and it is up to the applicant to decide if they want to submit a full proposal no matter what feedback they receive on the LOI (encourage or discourage), we hope that this saves the energy of both the applicants and reviewers if the project idea does not fit the scope of the competition. LOIs are due by 11:59 pm Eastern on November 2, 2023. 

Q: How do I submit a Letter of Intent?

A: The best way to submit a letter of Intent is using the FY24 CWD LOI submission form. Investigators unable to submit via the form should email their LOI to If you email your LOI you will receive confirmation of receipt, but if you do not, please follow-up.

Q: How do I submit a full application?

A: Full applications are due by 11:59 pm Eastern on February 15, 2024 though and all information can be found in the full NOFO. Please do not wait until the last minute to access, even if you are not ready to submit your full application to ensure you can access the system. It can take up to 4 weeks to get an account set up to access the system. 

Q: What is the level of funding for this competition?

A: Applicants can request funding between $400,000 and $700,000. Funds will be disseminated in year 1 and can be spent over the 3 years of the project period of performance.

Q: When will projects start?

A: Applicants should use September 1, 2024 as the start date. 

Q: What do you recommend if we want to include a federal agency partner? 

A: In order to submit a proposal that includes PIs from both non-federal and federal agencies, the PI would submit a proposal through and the federal partner would submit a proposal directly to the program manager (Britt Parker; Both proposals should adhere to the funding opportunity guidelines. Please consult the NOFO concerning what components of the proposal should match and where proposals would differ (primarily in the budget table and justification). If the proposed project is funded, monies would be distributed through two separate mechanisms – a cooperative agreement to the tribal nations/academic institution and an interagency transfer to the federal agency.  There are a few different ways to approach this a combination of federal and non-federal PIs, you are encouraged to reach out to the program manager (Britt Parker; to discuss options in terms of the process. 

Questions Related to the Focus of the FY24 Tribal Drought Resilience With IRA Support Webinar

Q: What is the level of emphasis on academic research? Seems this is heavily focused on academic approach. What if there are no Tribal Colleges and Universities identified or suitable or are willing to partner?

A: Projects do not need to have a heavy focus on an academic approach as long as the activity is focused on building resilience to drought in the context of climate change. While you can include an academic partner, that is not a requirement. We also recognize indigenous research approaches and that there are many approaches to research and multiple knowledge systems to bring to bear. If an activity is being proposed that includes a planning and implementation phase, it would be great to see that the efficacy of the activity might be assessed. If you look at the current projects there are those that have an academic partner but also many that are fully implemented by a tribal resource management entity.  

Q: Do you recommend specific irrigation practices to be implemented, and be valid with this NOFO? 

A: No, we are not recommending any specific practices be implemented. Any practice or activity that is proposed would be in line with approaches and address concerns of the tribal nation where the activity will take place. 

Q: I notice that drought was not defined in the NOFO. Would ecological drought be an appropriate subject or is this intended for hydrologic (water year) drought?

A: Ecological drought is absolutely appropriate. There are certainly many definitions of drought and we are not specifying any one definition for this competition.  

Q: Are replenishment programs considered part of Drought Resilience?

A: I am going to interpret replenishment as being activities that contribute to recharge of aquifers or reservoirs during wet periods or perhaps managing those systems differently during wet periods, to build resilience during drought and yes, those types of activities would be considered.

Q: Are there eligibility limitations for tribes that have existing awards?

A: No, we did not include any stipulations regarding existing awardees. 

Q: Is having a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) expert on the team encouraged?

A: We would leave that to the project team. We do not require a NEPA expert to be part of the team. We will work closely with the successful applicants to address NEPA though we would certainly encourage engagement with tribal historic preservation officers or equivalent in the development of proposals as warranted. 

Q: Is there an evaluation component to this funding?

A: While we would love to see that you are considering how to evaluate the efficacy of proposed activities, no there is no specific evaluation component to this funding. 

Q: How does this relate to or be helped with by climate vulnerability assessments or adaptation planning that a tribe might have already done?

A: If a tribe has a vulnerability assessment or adaptation plan in place they can certainly propose to implement an activity contained in the plan to build drought resilience - that is the best way to think about how they are related. 

Q: Is $2M for nationwide award? If yes, what level of competition do you expect?

A: The $2 million is the total for all awarded projects, remembering there is a geographical definition of this competition that is “the West” (see NOFO for how that is defined for this competition). Individual applications can request between $400,000 and $700,000 total. I can’t really comment on the level of competition as that can vary from competition to competition but in FY22, for our last Building Tribal Drought Resilience, we had 22 letters of intent, 11 full proposals, and funded 5 projects. Applicants should ask for the budget needed to complete the project.

Q: Could you please describe how tribal organizations would meet requirements?

A: If the tribal organization is officially part of a tribal government then certainly, that organization can apply. If it is more of a regional organization or an organization of a group of tribes, then they can apply, but we would want to see one or more Tribal Nations representatives as full Investigators on the project and that a tribe or group of tribes are benefiting directly from the work.

Q: Are these projects considered independent of other regulatory programs like the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)?

A: I am not familiar with this particular act but if you are proposing a project in a location where there are regulations in place we would want to see that what is proposed addresses those regulations. Importantly, in the case of tribal lands, we would want to see that the project is aligned with any requirements of the tribal nation to include engagement with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer or equivalent to ensure those resources are protected.

Q: Is there any emphasis on integrating drought into watershed planning efforts? For instance, NRCS  projects related to agricultural water management could possibly be linked to drought (and floods), therefore, the leveraging of USDA NRCS funding/outcomes could be acceptable?

A: It's always nice to see that projects are building on a foundation of other work that's been done and leveraging that work  but there is no emphasis or requirement. And again there is no cost share or matching requirement. 
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