SOURCE: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

January 03, 2007 14:10 ET

Conservation Innovation Grants Announced

HARRISBURG, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 3, 2007 --USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the request for proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). For fiscal year 2007, up to $300,000 will be awarded to help Pennsylvania farmers and other business owners improve water quality while they conserve energy.

"The CIG program stimulates the development and adoption of new and innovative approaches and technologies to managing our natural resources more effectively and efficiently," said Craig Derickson, State Conservationist. "It allows applicants to create practical solutions to address conservation and resource management."

NRCS administers CIG. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, will be awarded through a competitive grants process. Applications will be accepted from all eligible government or non-government organizations or individuals, including federally-recognized tribes. In addition to a state component, entities may be eligible for the National CIG component, in which $20 million is available and awarded projects can go up to $1 Million.

There are four natural resource concerns categories in which applications will be accepted for FY 2007:

--  Water Resources- Items to be considered include feed Management to
    reduce nutrients, nutrient management, and integrated pest management.

--  Soil Resources- Items to be considered include soil erosion, organic
    matter depletion, and soil condition deterioration.

--  Atmospheric Resources- Item to be considered includes objectionable
    odors.

--  Wildlife Habitat- Item to be considered includes restoration or
    improvement of critical habitat for threatened and endangered
    and/or declining species.
Applicants should explain how large a geographic area the project would benefit. These projects may be watershed-based, regional, multi-state or nationwide in scope. Applications should describe the use of innovative technologies or approaches, or both, to address a natural resource conservation concern or concerns.

Funding for CIG is made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. All proposed CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers. CIG funds that are used to provide direct or indirect payments to individuals or entities to implement structural, vegetative or management practices are subject to the $450,000 EQIP payment limitation. CIG is not a research program but rather a tool to stimulate the adoption of conservation approaches or technologies that have been studied sufficiently to indicate a high likelihood of success, and are likely candidates for eventual technology transfer.

CIG will fund projects targeting innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. Technologies and approaches that are commonly used in the geographic area covered by the application, and which are eligible for funding through EQIP, are not eligible for funding through CIG. Proposed projects must conform to the description of innovative conservation projects or activities published in the Announcement of Program Funding.

CIG funds pilot projects and conservation field trials that can last from one to three years. Grants for approved projects cannot exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. The federal contribution for a single project cannot exceed $75,000.

At least 50 percent of the total cost of the project must come from non-Federal matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions) provided by the grantee. While NRCS will provide technical oversight for each project receiving an award, the grantee is responsible for providing the technical assistance required to successfully complete the project.

To view the Announcement of Program Funding or to apply visit www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig.html for the state component. For national CIG component information, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig, or www.grants.gov/. For more information about other NRCS conservation programs visit www.nrcs.usda.gov or visit the nearest USDA Service Center.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture with the legislated directive to provide one-on-one technical assistance to landowners to conserve and improve the natural resources, primarily on private working lands. NRCS works in cooperation with conservation districts and other federal, state, and local governments as well as private organizations to accomplish this goal. NRCS is proud to be a member of the Pennsylvania Conservation Partnership.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Barry Frantz
    717-237-2216