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News Release

USDA Provides Grants to Three Maine Recipients

Bangor, ME, September 10, 2013 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist, Juan Hernandez, has announced the award of more than $181,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) funds to three Maine recipients.  A component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, CIG is a statewide competitive grants process to address some of the state’s most pressing natural resource conservation needs.

Recipients of CIG funds are Community Energy Partners, LLC; Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement); and Cultivating Community.

The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.  CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches into NRCS technical manuals or guides, or to the private sector. 

“These grants offer an opportunity to provide innovative approaches to environmental enhancement and protection on working agricultural lands,” said Hernandez.  “Through these partnerships we hope to develop new technologies that increase the protection of Maine’s natural resources.  I look forward to working with them and seeing the environmental and economic results of the projects.”

Community Energy Partners, LLC, in Freeport received $50,000 for “Demonstrating Innovative Implementation of Greater On-Farm Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Reductions”.  The objectives of this project are to incentivize farmers to conduct full-scale energy assessments, to educate farmers in their actual energy usage through education and outreach on smart meters, to offer heavily-discounted wind speed data gathering for small wind turbines, to educate how to develop community wind projects, to demonstrate farmer-owned community wind project development, and to provide outreach and technical assistance to underserved producers, landowners and other eligible entities.

Project SHARE in Eastport received $57,000 for “Stream Connectivity Outreach and Implementation: Raising the ecological bar on road/stream crossing restoration”.  The objective of this project is to change public perception of the “status quo” of traditional road/stream crossings and increase the rate at which ecologically sound road/stream crossing restoration will take place.  This goal will be accomplished by: 1) continuing and increasing the level of public awareness of Stream Connectivity issues, and 2) increasing the capacity to deal with issue by training project managers statewide.

Cultivating Community in Portland received $74,000 for “Innovative Strategies for Teaching Conservation Practices to Low Literacy, Limited Resource Beginning Farmers”.  The objective of this project is to improve soil health and environmental quality in southern and central Maine by supporting low literacy, limited resource farmers in adopting appropriate conservation approaches and technologies.

NRCS, in existence since 1935, is the lead conservation agency that helps farmers conserve, maintain and improve natural resources through science-based conservation efforts, technical assistance and incentive-based programs.   For information on NRCS and its programs, visit

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.