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USDA announces 2008 sign-up for $20M in Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA announces 2008 sign-up for $20M in Conservation Innovation Grants

Tennessee’s State Conservationist Kevin Brown, the director of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Tennessee, recently announced a request for proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants. The grants for fiscal year 2008 are designed to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.
“Conservation Innovation Grants are awarded to public and private organizations with plans to promote the conservation of our natural resources by adopting promising technologies and new conservation approaches,” says Brown.
NRCS Chief Arlen Lancaster in Washington, D.C., adds, “CIG benefits agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement.”
The Department of Agriculture’s NRCS administers CIG. For fiscal year 2008, up to $20 million is available for the National CIG competition. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. Proposals are due Feb. 20.
There are two CIG categories available to Tennesseans:
• Natural Resource Concerns Category — proposals addressing one or more of the CIG natural resource concerns.
• Technology Category — proposals addressing one or more of the CIG technology categories.
Applicants should explain how large a geographic area the project would benefit. 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(s).
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 $1 million. 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.
Applications must be received in the NRCS National Headquarters by 4 p.m. on Feb. 20.
Send applications to: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Conservation Innovation Grants Program; Financial Assistance Programs Division, Room 5239-S; 1400 Independence Ave, SW.; Washington, DC 20250.
To apply electronically visit: http://www.grants.gov/. For more information, visit: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov, or visit the nearest USDA Service Center.
Published in The Messenger 1.22.08

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