Thursday, February 14, 2013

USDA Announces Conservation Innovation Grant Availability for Mississippi River Basin Work

Today (February 14) the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 to, as put by NRCS, "stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies."

Among several grant categories there is a special "Mississippi River Basin Category" for this CIG grant cycle. Under that category pre-proposals must address "(1) at least one bulleted topic specific to the Mississippi River Basin and (2) the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) objectives to manage and optimize nutrient management, reduce downstream nutrient loads, maintain agricultural productivity, and enhance wildlife and other ecosystem services." The NRCS announcement contains nearly four pages of "bulleted topics" specific to the River Basin, under the general categories of Program Outreach, Water Management, Soil Health, Vegetative Practices, Nutrient Management, and Adaptive Management.

Support of this program in FY 2013 will be up to $25 million, nationally. At least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

The CIG grant award process is a two-step process, and only pre-proposals are being solicited at this time. Applications for the pre-proposal phase should be received by NRCS before 4 p.m. (EDT) on March 15. NRCS will announce the selected CIG pre-proposal applications by April 5, and selected applicants will be required to submit a full proposal to NRCS by May 3.

Here is the link to the full CIG grant announcement.

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