10 Conservation Innovation Grants Awarded In California

Seven private companies and conservation and agricultural organizations have been awarded Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in California totaling $497,625. These are in addition to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) national awards for organizations in the state for over $1.5 million. The ultimate goal of the grants is to help the agency and California farmers and ranchers with technical tools to protect natural resources.

NRCS California State Conservationist Lincoln E. Burton announced the awarding of the grants that range from $47,625 up to $75,000 ($75,000 is the maximum allowed for state awards). All contain at least a 50 percent match from non-federal sources, as required by the program.

“The conservation landscape constantly changes and challenges us to be nimble in our ability to address these issues. Some of our best ideas for developing and adapting our technical tools to address modern challenges come from private groups and individuals,” said Burton. “The current set of awardees will bring us new insights into conservation technical solutions for water resources, grazing lands, energy, air quality and more.”

2011 California NRCS Selected Projects:

Project Applicant Project Summary Project Award
Audubon California Project will field test pulse-flooding of post-harvest ag fields to provide critical
resting and foraging places for early migrant shorebirds
Van Ommering Dairy, Robert Van Ommering, Natalie A. Cookson To develop an efficient and renewable agricultural waste treatment and bio energy production system $75,000
Placer Land Trust To make the process easier for land trusts and working ranches to participate in the compliance carbon offset market $75,000
San Mateo County Resource Conservation District Project is a demonstration of biochar use in ag applications in the specific local climatic and soil conditions of coastal San Mateo Co. and its economic feasibility in the region $75,000
Sustainable Conservation To adapt a water availability and water quality calculation tool to quantify ecosystem service improvements from implementing NRCS conservation practices in the lower Mokelumne River watershed $75,000
University of California, Davis To convert an available stationary instrumental trailer to a mobile ag air quality lab at UC Davis, using available gas-phase and particulate-phase analyzers $75,000
Calflora To make a new version of the “What Grows Here? (WGH-2)” Web application utilizing current Web mapping technology $47,625
   Total:      $497,625

Nationwide through CIG, the USDA-NRCS is investing nearly $22.5 million in innovative conservation technologies and approaches that address a broad array of existing and emerging natural resource issues.

Earlier this month, national CIG grants were awarded to the following California applicants ($1 million is the maximum allowed for national awards). All contain at least a 50 percent match from non-federal sources, as required by the program.

2011 Federal NRCS Selected Projects:

Project Applicant Project Summary Project Award
Western United Dairymen To install a groundwater monitoring network on dairies to utilizing fewer monitoring wells $1,000,000
Sustainable Conservation Mokelumne Watershed Environmental Benefit Program focuses on supporting ecosystem investments in conservation specifically for water quality objectives $372,478
Fiscalini Farms To develop, demonstrate and evaluate an enclosed aerobic manure drying system (EAMD)for dairy manure that will significantly decrease emissionsof ammonia, methane, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and volatile organic compounds $150,000
   Total:      $1,522,478

The CIG grants were established in the 2008 Farm Bill as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Additional information is available online at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig/.

-from press release

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