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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

U.S. Geological Survey Instructional Memorandum

No: IM OA 2016-002

Issuance Date:  July 26, 2016

Expiration Date:  Retain Until Suspended

Subject:  Instructional Memorandum Series for the Hurricane Sandy Supplemental and Department of the Interior and Bureau Governance and Reporting Policy and Guidelines, Round 3 Funding

1.  Purpose.  This Instructional Memorandum (IM) is an extension of the IM AEI 2013-05 and establishes the policies and procedures which must be followed when utilizing the third round of Disaster Relief Appropriations Act funding.

2.  Background.   Public Law 113–2, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, signed into law by the President on January 29, 2013, appropriated to the Department of the Interior (DOI), Departmental Operations account, $360 million for activities to restore and rebuild national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other Federal public assets; and to increase the resiliency and capacity of coastal habitat and infrastructure to withstand storms and reduce the amount of damage caused by such storms.

3.  Department of the Interior Governance and Project Approval Process.   The DOI established a structure headed by the DOI Executive Council to develop plans for spending the $360 million provided for mitigation activities in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (DRA).   Bureaus proposed projects from which the Secretary of the Interior selected, with the input of bureau directors.   The funds provided for mitigation are no-year, but the Department has indicated that funding should be obligated in a shorter period; i.e., DRA funds received prior to 2016 should be obligated within 2 years of the date of award, and completely expended within 3 years.   For DRA funds awarded by DOI to the USGS in 2016, all funds should be obligated by November 30, 2016 and expended by November 30, 2018.

Minor, incidental costs, collectively not to exceed five percent of the total project budget, may be approved for non-labor obligations between November 30, 2016 and November 30, 2018 by the Theme lead.   For amounts exceeding this threshold, approval must be obtained by the Sandy Coordination Team lead.   Requests will not be automatically approved, and documentation will be required to justify any exceptions.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) submitted project proposals to the Department in two categories.   The USGS received $18.8 million in May 2013 in the first category, termed “Immediate Need” projects.   The second category of projects is termed “Mitigation and Resiliency,” and the USGS was awarded an additional $22.4 million in DRA funds supporting nine projects in October 2013.   During the proposal process DOI held contingency funds to allow for unexpected overages to approved projects.   In 2016, DOI issued a new call for GAP proposals and approved three USGS projects as part of the “Round Three” proposal process.

For DRA funds received prior to 2016, all outlays shall be completed within 3 years (May 2016 for Immediate Need projects, November 2016 for Mitigation and Resiliency projects). For DRA funds received in 2016, all outlays shall be completed by November 30, 2018 (for GAP projects).

Due to Departmental reporting requirements, the USGS is required to track the funding and costs by each project.   This financial reporting transparency will drive the tracking of these costs as outlined below.

In addition to the DOI timelines above, an additional timeline established by the Disaster Relief Act applies to any funds applied toward contracts, grants, or cooperative agreements.   For these actions, funding must be fully expended within 24 months of the grant, unless additional time is approved via a waiver request submitted to the DOI Office of Acquisition and Property Management and subsequently approved by OMB.   The approval process is rigorous and requesters should not expect automatic approval.   Since the total project life should not exceed two years, this requirement for expenditure within 24 months of the obligation would only apply to projects with approved spending extensions.

A.  Recording and Tracking Costs in FBMS and BASIS+.   Outlined below are details for tracking the DRA funds in FBMS and in BASIS+.   This structure has been established to ensure that the detailed reporting requirements outlined by the Department can be met.

(1)   FBMS Allocation Organization and Cost Centers.   Supplemental funding will be distributed via the weekly allocation matrix.   Included in the matrix will be the name and project number of the funds being allocated so that detailed tracking can take place to determine which cost centers received funds within each project (see the BASIS+ Projects section below).   Program Coordinators or those responsible for allocating these funds shall use the allocation form located in Chapter 3.4 of the Financial Operating Procedures Handbook.   A separate allocation form shall be used for each project so that the initial allocations and changes of allocation can be tracked more efficiently.

(a)  Treasury Account Fund Symbol (TAFS).   Hurricane Sandy Supplemental funds will be appropriated to the USGS through a transfer of DOI Operations funds.   The TAFS for the USGS will be linked to this fund.

(i)  Departmental Operations, Office of the Secretary, Interior: 014X0102 - Entered in FBMS as: 1414X0102.008.

(ii)  New FBMS Fund Code:   13XG010200.

(2)   BASIS+ Projects, Tasks and Subtasks.   The Secretary of the Interior has approved a list of projects for the USGS.   Attachment A provides a breakdown of the round three projects along with the appropriate tasks which have been created by the Office of Accounting and Financial Management (OAFM).   The cost centers most likely to receive supplemental funding are also identified along with the tasks specific to these cost centers.   As more cost centers are allocated funds, additional tasks may be created by OAFM.   If new tasks are necessary, please contact the OAFM Administrative and Bureau Operations Branch.

(a)  Access to the projects will be given to appropriate Theme Leads.   Theme Leads are responsible for adding the appropriate Associate Project Chiefs and Task Leaders once they have been identified.   If a member of the USGS project team requires access to the project/task and does not have a BASIS+ account, he or she may submit a BASIS+ request form to gain access.   The form can be found at:

(b)   Project Budgets.   Detailed budgets will be entered by the assigned Project Chief and must equal the amounts allocated via the allocation matrix each week. Narratives must include specific project milestones identified in the USGS DRA Program Plan.   The Geospatial location/footprint must be entered to track spending.   Refer to Kevin T. Gallagher’s email dated February 26, 2009, Subject: Release of BASIS+ Footprinter, posted on the intranet at:

(c)   BASIS+ Project Structure.   The BASIS+ project structure is outlined in the following table (as well as in Attachment A to this IM).   Please note that the start date for all projects is September 30, 2013.   This allows the Tasks and WBS' to be created in FY13 in BASIS+.

DOI Project Number BASIS Project Name BASIS+ Project Number Fund Functional Area ABC Code
3S3–2A Assessing Relation of Backbay Water Levels and Barrier Island Breaches AE03GGG 13XG010200 GD0600000 J8
GS3–2B Assessment of Barrier Island Recovery to Support Fire Island Sediment Management Plan AE03GGH 13XG010200 GD0600000 N8
GS3–3B Assess Coastal Storm Impacts to Wetland Environments and Expand SWaTH in USFWS refuges AE03GGJ 13XG010200 G40107000 U6

(d)   Establishment of WBS Elements.   Cost centers that receive DRA funds shall create appropriate project and common services WBS elements as needed.   Project WBS elements will be linked to the BASIS+ projects/tasks, fund code, functional area, and ABC code as outlined above and Attachment A to this IM.   Cost centers need to fund all DRA accounts in line with the funding that has been provided to them via the weekly allocation matrix.

As with all no–year funds, the DRA supplemental is being tracked by the source year of the appropriation (FY 2013).   Due to this all WBS elements established in FY 2016 must be created in BASIS+ with a fiscal year of 2013 and an account number which starts with GX13 since digits 3 and 4 of the WBS element have to match positions 1 and 2 of the fund.

In order to track the overhead funding that is broken out into separate COM accounts by BASIS+ and FBMS when project WBS elements are funded, a unique common services parent WBS element will have to be created for each DOI project for which a cost center receives funds.  Cost centers will establish these common services WBS elements following the scheme outlined below:

DOI Project Number Common Services WBS Element Scheme BASIS+ Project Number Fund Functional Area
3S3–2A GX13FFFFCOMG100 Use Center Support Project 13XG010200 GD0600000
GS3–2B GX13FFFFCOMG200 “ ” 13XG010200 GD0600000
GS3–3B GX13FFFFCOMG300 “ ” 13XG010200 GD0600000

Note: FFFF is the four-digit fund center code.

4.   Projects – Direct Charging of Expenditures and Obligations.

A.   Expenditure Transactions.   Cost centers authorized to receive DRA funding will record payments (expenditures) against the specific account assigned to that project.   If cost centers are processing expenditure adjustments into or out of DRA WBS elements, these adjustments shall be done by the specific transaction being moved.   Do not “lump” or consolidate transactions into one large document.   This will aid in reporting with any potential audits related to these funds.

B.   Requisition Preparation.   Cost centers involved with DRA projects will prepare their requisitions for processing.   You must include the words “Disaster Recovery Act Funds” on the header of the requisition and “DRA” in the line item short text field in FBMS.

C.   New and Modified Obligations.   New and modified obligations can be direct charged to the assigned project account.   If obligations are established using both DRA and non–DRA funds, both lines of accounting must be referenced in the purchase request and the award, including modifications to existing contract awards.

D.   Documentation.   As expenditures and obligations are made against DRA funds, cost centers will need to keep detailed records of all transactions to support potential audits of these funds.   Supporting documentation may include details about salary–related costs and what was done to support the project, travel vouchers, details about why certain administrative costs were charged directly to the DRA project, copies of contracts obligated under these funds, and details about expenditure movements made within the DRA WBS elements.

5.   Administrative and Support Activities.   Administrative and support activities are defined as temporary, discrete, unique, and severable costs associated with management, oversight, and execution of DRA projects.   Two percent will be held in a program level account to cover costs associated with the overall management of the DRA supplemental at the program level.   This will cover communication and outreach material that supports all DRA projects as well as the Sandy Coordination team activities and support.   Cost centers are authorized to charge a maximum of 20 percent common services rate to DRA funds.   If a center’s normal rate is below this threshold, the standard rate should be utilized.   If this is insufficient to cover indirect administrative costs associated with the funding received within a specific fund center, direct charging is authorized within the DRA project account.   Direct costs are defined as costs that are non–severable from the project activity and include administrative and cost center management support.

A.   Administrative support includes DRA contract management; DRA travel arrangements; DRA account management such as account creation, funding transfers, expenditure adjustments, reconciliation, and tracking; and DRA human resources–related activities.

B.   Cost center management support includes DRA project and task management and meeting with cooperators to discuss DRA project activities and products.

C.   As cost centers create their project WBS element(s) fund source records, they should choose the “Reduced Rate Yes” radio button and input a common services rate no greater than 20 percent.   Cost centers must also identify the common services WBS element created for the DRA overhead funds.   It is important that the common services WBS element scheme above is followed to allow the Department to track all funds related to a specific DOI project number.

6.   Milestone Tracking.   Progress toward project completion will be tracked using quarterly milestones.   It is important to enter detailed products, completion status, and outcomes in the BASIS+ project/task structure so that milestone reporting can be facilitated centrally as much as possible.   Periodic progress data calls may be required.   Science Theme Leads shall work with the Project and Task Leads as necessary to collect the requested information.

/s/ Jose R. Aragon                                                                                          July 26, 2016
_______________________________________________                          ________________
Jose R. Aragon                                                                                               Date
Associate Director for Administration

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