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News Release

NRCS CARIBBEAN AREA CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE

Contact:
Jaime Valentín, 787-766-5206 x.121


Roller-crimper terminates Sunn hemp (Crotolaria) cover crop in St. Croix.

The application submission deadline has been extended to June 27, 2014!

April 30, 2014 – San Juan, PR – USDA-NRCS Caribbean Area Director, Edwin Almodóvar, announces the availability of the 2014 Caribbean Area Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies (en Español). Applications will be accepted from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and will be awarded on a competitive basis.

CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches into NRCS policy, technical manuals, guides, and references, or to the private sector. CIG does not fund research projects. CIG is used to apply or demonstrate new or previously-proven technology with a new approach. CIG funds projects targeting innovative, on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations.

Resource Concerns

For Fiscal Year 2014, CIG is focusing on the following topics – one or more may be selected for proposals (proposals for hydroponics will not be accepted):

  • Soil Erosion:
    • Validate the life span for existing hillside ditch in twenty farms in the humid mountains and valleys for the Caribbean MRLA used in various crops and soil types;
  • Soil Health:
    • Demonstrate, validate and quantify the impacts of cover crops, other than known local cover crops (Canavalia, Mucuna, Crotalaria and Cowpea), in steep and mountainous farming areas on slopes 15º (25% slope) or higher in the Caribbean Area;
    • Develop optimual species mixes, seeding rates and seeding methods for at least 5 new plant family species with different dcomposition rates, including grasses, legumes (other than Canavalia, Mucuna, Crotalaria and Cowpea) and forbs to enhance cover crop establishment/ survival and increase soil organic matter.
  • Water Quality & Quantity:
    • Validate the efficiency and effective performance of infiltration ditches (NRCS Conservation Practice code 753) as waste disposal methods and observe and record the differences in operation and maintenance processes on different soils types in the Caribbean Area;
    • Assess, evaluate and validate the life span for existing different fence types (NRCS Conservation Practice code 382) and thier components among humid and dry areas in the Caribbean Area;
  • Plants:
    • Evaluate and recommend alternative native tree species other than the existing shade coffee multi-story model (NRCS Conservation Practice code 379) developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service;
    • Evaluate, demonstrate and recommend different systems, species and management practices to establish, improve and implement successful intercropping systems;
  • Energy:
    • Obtain data comparing conventional coffee processing system versus the established coffee processing ecological devices to obtain energy reduction data and validate the reduction in water consumption;
    • Evaluate and demonstrate renewable energy systems increasing energy efficiency and/or environmental contaminants in coffee processing plants.
  • Conservation Outreach to Under-served Farmers/Clients:
    • This project will be used to translate into Spanish critical information on routine maintenance procedures of installed conservation practices and other information as indicated by NRCS. The selected organization will meet with NRCS to select the publications, fact sheets and other appropriate material to be translated to be distributed and to train underserved farmers/clients as to the proper use of information.
    • Create video clips or other appropriate video material related to routine maintenance procedures of installed conservation practices to provide knowledge and train underserved farmers/clients as to the proper use of information.
  • Nutrient Management:
    • Demonstrate and quantify the optimal combinations of right nutrient source, right application rate, right placement, and right application timing (4 Rs ), as measured by impact on nutrient use efficiency and yield for one or more of the following: root crop, vegetables, hay/pasture, plantains, banana, coffee, orchard and any other tropical crop. Demonstrations are encouraged to show how these optimal combinations change for one or more of the following comparisons: irrigated vs. non-irrigated management, tillage vs. reduced tillage systems, manure-amended vs. non manure-amended systems, and/or organic vs. conventional production systems.
    • Validate and quantify parameters and procedure to compost different livestock manure and agricultural by products; to supplement local Conservation Practice Standard.
  • Wildlife:
    • Develop regional, crop-specific guidance providing the vegetative species, landforms, and necessary acreage to support appropriate populations of managed and wild pollinators per unit area of pollinated crops (e.g., describe the components of the landscape).

The Caribbean Area NRCS will have approximately $190,000 available in FY 2014 to be distributed among selected projects. Applications will be accepted from eligible government agencies, non-governmental organizations or individuals for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration. Applications must be received by NRCS before COB 4:30 p.m. on June 27, 2014. NRCS anticipates announcing selected proposal applications by July 30, 2014. Late applications will not be considered.

For More Information