A Performance Audit
An Audit Report on Grant Management at the Soil and Water Conservation Board
The Soil and Water Conservation Board’s (Board) processes help ensure that the Board awards grants in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and procedures. Additionally, the Board has processes and related controls to monitor whether grantees comply with grant requirements.
Although the Board overall has effective processes for awarding and monitoring grants, it should improve its oversight of the state’s 216 soil and water conservation districts (conservation districts).
In addition, the Board should strengthen its oversight of conservation districts’ selection of Water Supply Enhancement Program grant recipients.
The Board’s Processes Help Ensure That the Board Awards Grants in Accordance with Applicable Requirements; However, the Board Should Strengthen Its Processes for Monitoring Grantees
The Board has documented processes, including policies, procedures, and guidelines, to help ensure compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. However, it should add a rule that addresses potential conflicts of interests in awarding the Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Abatement Program’s Water Quality Management Plan grants, as recommended by its internal auditor in a May 2015 report.
The Board has processes and related controls to monitor whether grantees comply with grant requirements. It made payments for Flood Control, and Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement grants in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and Board processes. Most of the Board’s payments for the Water Supply Enhancement Program also complied with those requirements.
The Board’s policies and procedures for the Flood Control, Water Supply Enhancement Program, and the Program Management and Assistance grants do not include procedures for documenting expenditures in accordance with the Uniform Grant Management Standards requirements.
The Board Should Increase Its Monitoring of Conservation Districts’ Administration of Grants and Selection of Grant Recipients
Although the Board has effective processes for awarding and monitoring grants, it should improve its oversight of the conservation districts’ administration of grants and selection of grant recipients. Specifically, the Board should consistently enforce its financial reporting requirements for conservation districts and strengthen its monitoring of conservation districts’ selection of Water Supply Enhancement Program grant recipients.
As part of its monitoring of those grant funds, the Board established financial reporting requirements for the conservation districts in the Texas Administrative Code. For 12 of the 22 instances of noncompliance, the Board did not suspend payments to the conservation districts and did not document its reasons for not suspending payments.
For the Water Supply Enhancement Program, the Board did not monitor the conservation districts’ processes for land owner solicitation and selection, including notifying all eligible land owners, using a competitive process to select the land owners for grant awards, and ensuring that land associated with grant awards were in high-priority areas.
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