2006 Conservation Innovation Grants Awards
Information about the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) awardees for fiscal year 2006 is found below. The information includes the State(s) in which the project will be carried out, the total amount of NRCS funding provided, the project title, and a project summary.
Awards to Multiple States
Agflex, Inc. (DE, IA, IL, IN, MD, MI, MN, NE, NC, OH, PA, VA, WI)
Improving Conservation and Agricultural Economics with Water Quality Credit Trading and the BMP Challenge.
Agflex, Inc. will work with state personnel and crop advisory professionals to expand their capacity to assist farmers in implementing innovative strategies to meet conservation goals. Agflex, Inc. will highlight, teach and implement BMP performance guarantees for corn farmers reducing both nutrient use and tillage in DE, IA, IL, IN, MD, MI, IN, NC, NE, OR, P A, VA, WI and point-non-point water quality credit trading in MN and PA.
Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (IA, IL, IN, OH, MN)
Drainage Water Management for Midwestern Row Crop Agriculture
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition will promote and characterize the unique technology of drainage water management (DWM). This innovative multi-state project will develop a set of regional recommendations that are necessary to facilitate and encourage the widespread adoption of DWM. Farmers will play a central role in assessing the economic effects of DWM on farm profitability. Each pilot farm will use the latest technologies, including satellite-controlled water control structures, resulting in a truly managed water table by farming landowners. Through implementation of the project, significant data will be obtained to document nutrient savings from DWM, a necessary step in nutrient trading. The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition will use non-conventional outreach methods, such as farm forums, to utilize farmer-to-farmer contact.
Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System (IA, IL, MI, MN, SD, WI)
Energy *A* Syst Comprehensive Farmstead Energy Self Assessment Toolkit
This project of the University of Wisconsin will:
(1) Develop and implement Energy* A *Syst farm energy efficiency self assessment tool to be available through the Farm* A *Syst program platform. This self assessment tool will provide producers with a first assessment of whether they are candidates for specific energy efficient technologies;
(2) Develop detailed energy audit tools to be used by energy service professionals to estimate energy savings potential for the specific energy efficient technologies in the self assessment / tool kit;
(3) Develop Energy* A *Syst self assessment tool kit to assess potential for various renewable energy generation options;
(4) Develop detailed energy audit tools for use by trained energy auditors to estimate energy generation potential of renewable energy technologies for specific farms;
(5) Develop Energy* A *Syst self assessment tool kit to estimate greenhouse gas reduction for energy efficient and renewable energy generation technologies;
(6) Develop detailed audit tool to be used by energy service professionals to estimate greenhouse gas reduction for energy efficient and renewable energy generation technologies;
(7) Evaluate the application of both self assessment and detailed professional audit tools on no less than 30 EQIP eligible producer operations of which one-third will consist of producers outside the state of Wisconsin; and
(8) Assess accuracy of simplified self-assessment tools with more detailed professional energy audit tools.
Chicago Climate Exchange (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, PA, VT)
Carbon Credit Generation Program: Cost Effectiveness Procedures to Estimate, Aggregate, Verify and Deliver Carbon Credits to Private Sector Markets
The Chicago Climate Exchange will provide scientifically validated methodology and market-based incentives to enable farmers and other agricultural producers to realize a new income stream derived from the provision of environmental services increasingly in demand through existing and emerging carbon markets. These markets are national and potentially global and serve to provide a cost-effective mechanism to aid the overall management and reduction of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. Specifically the program seeks to implement and intensify an innovative system for securing, verifying, and registering sequestered carbon by agricultural producers through conservation tillage, improved manure management, and small scale forestry. These procedures can enable producers to capture, store and reduce GHG emissions while also creating significant environmental co-benefits from enhanced air, soil, and water quality through the use of these emissions reducing practices.
Colorado State University (CO, KS, NE, TX, OK, WY)
Sustainable Cropping Systems for Transition from Full Irrigation to Limited Irrigation to Limited Irrigation and Dry Land
Colorado State University will demonstrate ways to maintain economic and environmental sustainability when transitioning cropping systems from full irrigation to limited irrigation or dry land. This project will be the basis for a detailed economic analysis to illustrate profitability of irrigation systems for varying precipitation and farm price environments. The economic analysis will provide information for producers to make informed decisions about adoption of innovative irrigation systems and potential water transfers environmental concerns that will be addressed in the demonstrations include water quality, soil quality, and soil erosion control. A comprehensive outreach and education objective will transfer the findings to audiences including fanners, agribusiness, and government agencies through field demonstrations, extension field days, a spreadsheet based decision support tool, and a fact sheet series. Further, results from the project will be extended to regional and national audiences faced with declining agricultural water resources via a web site, national meetings, and journal articles.
Moving Agricultural Communities Towards Conservation and Self-Sufficiency Through Biodiesel
ICAST will adapt and tailor their economic and resource model of feasibility of community scale biodiesel production to meet the needs of each individual community with the objective of demonstrating the resource conservation benefits of growing oilseed crops as part of a water and soil conservation program plus the environmental benefits of using biodiesel. ICAST will assess the feasibility of biodiesel production in that community in a manner that would help conserve their natural resources while being profitable. This project will establish an economically viable, locally sustained, community-scale biodiesel production facility in a rural community in CO or WY that can serve as a demonstration project for other communities in the region. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the value and viability of appropriate oilseed crops as a rotation to the primary crops grown in CO and WY.
Iowa Soybean Association (DE, IA, MD, PA)
Multi-State Outcomes-Based Nitrogen Efficiency Project for Corn
The Iowa Soybean Association will expand enhanced nutrient management that involving farmer self evaluation of nitrogen (N) fertilizer needs with incentives to increase efficiency. To date, several hundred Iowa producers have used remote sensing with replicated strip trials and/or guided stalk nitrate sampling to evaluate their N needs and new N management approaches, and the majority has found they can maximize profit and reduce N losses to the environment by applying far less fertilizer and/or by adopting different application strategies. This grant would facilitate adoption of these EQIP options to at least: 80 of Iowa's 99 counties; 100 producers in Lancaster County, PA and additional counties in PA; 80 producers in Delaware; and 20 producers in Maryland. The grant also will enhance learning opportunities for producers and TSPs by developing and testing a standardized data pooling system that will overcome barriers to broader implementation of these new N management approaches.
Lava Beds Butte Valley Resource Conservation District (CA, OR)
Upper Klamath Basin “Walking Wetlands” Demonstration Project
The Lava Beds Butte Valley Resource Conservation District will demonstrate and document the agricultural and ecological benefits of incorporating wetlands into commercial crop rotations in the Upper Klamath Basin of Southern Oregon and Northern California. The project involves three private farms totaling 2,282 acres. The focus of the project will be on annual per acre incentive payments to cooperating growers who will match those costs with deferred crop revenues and increased field maintenance costs while they are managed as rotational wetlands.
Red Tomato (CT, MA, NH, NY, VT)
Market Incentives for Conservation Practices by Northeast Tree Fruit Growers
Economic incentives and a business model of success will enhance the future adoption of conservation-based advanced-IPM practices for apple production in the
U.S. Red Tomato (RT) and the IPM Institute of North America have developed and tested a Protocol for the Northeast region. Apples grown to this standard were successfully introduced to the marketplace as Eco Apples in 2005. In this project, Red Tomato will build stronger conservation measures into the Protocol, build quality control and safety criteria into the Protocol, and will innovate further, marrying environmental benefits to other marketable benefits (locally-grown, highest quality, packaging, brand, simple messaging) making Eco Apples more attractive and more valuable to customers. Growers should earn premiums of $l or more per case and gain access to new markets. The project's successes and failures will be shared with farmers, scientists, Extension agents, and others at conferences, through the website, packaging, pamphlets, posters, in-store demos, media coverage, and trade and scientific reports and presentations.
Washington Association of Wheat Growers (OR, WA)
Demonstrate and Advance the Undercutter Method for Winter Wheat-Summer Fallow
The Washington Association of Wheat Growers will demonstrate the Undercutter Method for winter wheat-summer fallow, which will reduce soil erosion, improve overall soil quality and production, and reduce emission of particulate matter.
Winrock International (IA, VT)
Pilot-Testing Performance-Based Incentives for Agricultural Pollution Control
Winrock International will demonstrate the ability of performance-based incentives to increase farmer flexibility and improve the technical- and cost-effectiveness of agricultural non-point source pollution control. Performance-based incentives will be pilot-tested in 10 watersheds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and the Lake Champlain Basin. Incentive payments to EQIP-eligible producers will be based on the achievement of farm-level environmental performance targets that have been created by working groups of farmers, agency staff, and scientists in each state. This performance-based approach will provide flexibility for fanners to use appropriate, creative, and innovative strategies to address non-point source pollution issues. In the process farmers will seek the most cost-effective solutions for their operations, which will increase the cost-effectiveness of agricultural pollution control programs. This approach will be transferable to any agricultural watershed, provided that local stakeholder input is used to design appropriate performance measures and targets.
Alphabetical Listing of Awards by State
Southwest Arkansas RC&D Project Area, Inc. (AR)
Use of Experimental Patent-Pending “NOAH” Unit to Convert Biomass into Medium-BTU Combustible Hydrocarbon Fuel Gas
An innovative technology has recently been developed to address the natural resource concern of foreign petroleum consumption as well as air quality and agricultural practices. This new technology has been incorporated into a unique patent-pending device called a "Noah" unit. The ''Noah'' unit accepts biomass and agricultural waste as input which it converts to a medium-BTU (over 600 BTUs per cubic foot) hydrocarbon fuel gas suitable for most uses similar to natural gas. The unit produces only one other output besides the fuel gas, which is an ash equivalent to a 3-3.5-7 non-toxic fertilizer, suitable for vegetables and pasture. The Southwest Arkansas RC&D Project Area will purchase a ''Noah'' unit as part of the Southwest Arkansas Resource Conservation and Development Project Area's initiative to enhance air quality and atmospheric resources through bio-based energy opportunities. Under the direction of the Southwest Arkansas Resource Conservation and Development Project Area, EQIP-eligible producers will be enabled to obtain ''Noah'' units for application to bio-based energy opportunities in their areas.
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (AR)
Quantification of Impacts of On-Farm Capture, Storage and Re-Use of Surface Water on Water Quantity and Water Quality
The Arkansas Natural Resource Commission will utilize, enhance, and expand the use of existing widely adopted technology from application on the individual field-scale to the watershed-scale. The Arkansas Natural Resource Commission will specifically address the impacts of on-farm conservation irrigation practices and their impacts on sediment transport to surface water; irrigation management for Water conservation; and maintenance of groundwater supplies through increased surface water utilization, off-stream storage and tail water capture and reuse strategies. This project will complete a benchmark inventory of the individual farmer's irrigation water and energy uses and determine the potential for increased on farm irrigation storage, tail water capture and re-use and the resulting energy savings on approximately 500 farms within the watersheds. The unique focus of this activity is to develop a watershed evaluation tool that is applicable in the humid, rain-fed portion of the U.S. to evaluate irrigation water needs, runoff, off stream storage of off season rainfall, and tail water capture to meet irrigation needs and assess energy savings potential on a watershed basis.
Pit Resource Conservation District (CA)
Cooperative Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Initiative/Implementation
The Pit Resource Conservation District will assist producers in restoring sagebrush steppe and related ecosystems through the removal of invasive western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) and applying post treatment adaptive management techniques as part of the implementation phase of the Cooperative Sagebrush Steppe Restoration Initiative. Ancillary work may include installation of structural practices that will aid in the implementation of the adaptive management techniques. Benefits to producers and the community include increased forage production, restoration of critical wildlife habitat, an improved water cycle and reductions in hazardous fuel loads, sediment transport and soil erosion.
Marin Resource Conservation District (CA)
Co-Composting of Agricultural and Green Wastes in West Marin County for Dairy Bedding. Water Quality Protection and Soil Quality Enhancement
The Marin Resource Conservation District will address the pressing need for an alternative to sand as a bedding material for Marin dairies. This pilot project will provide livestock producers and, equestrian facilities with a tool to help meet Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) standards and establish a much needed community compo sting facility and green waste drop off site to address the need for environmentally sound fire fuel and landscape debris disposition in West Marin.
El Dorado Irrigation District (CA)
Scheduling Irrigation for Commercial Agricultural Growers within the El Dorado Irrigation District Using Permanently Placed Soil Moisture Sensors
The El Dorado Irrigation District will purchase soil moisture sensors and data loggers. This equipment will be used to determine if the neutron probe that is currently in use can be replaced with permanently placed sensors to increase irrigation scheduling capabilities and efficiencies. The primary goal of this project is to optimize irrigation timing and efficiency while reducing and/or eliminating run-off, erosion and EID resources.
The Regents of the University of California (CA)
Pheromone-Based IPM Demonstration to Manage Codling Moth in Walnuts and Improve Water Quality
The University of California will manage codling moth populations in walnuts by pheromone mating disruption using aerosol puffers and validate pheromone application technology required for control of codling moth with an emphasis on "area-wide" control over multiple years. Aerosol puffers will be used to treat up to 2 acres each, and only have to be applied once per season, supplemented with an insecticide in the first year. In subsequent years supplemental sprays will be decreased or eliminated based on monitoring traps and canopy counts. This project will assist with and demonstrate the use of monitoring for CM damage for growers who are interested in implementation of pheromone mating disruption.
Colorado State University/Agricultural Experiment Station (CO)
On-Farm Evaluation and Demonstration of Ammonia Reduction Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Feedlots and Dairies
Colorado State University will address a serious gap between researchers and agricultural producers when it comes to getting experimental results into practice. Some information is available in an accessible format, but little to none is available about ammonia, a gas that is getting major attention as of late due to its detrimental health and environmental effects. This project will create a comprehensive best management practices (BMP) plan for reduction of ammonia emissions for cattle producers. The plan will include ammonia reduction practices for every aspect of the operation including nutrition, barn and pen mitigation, waste management and processing, and land application. The is project will entail a comprehensive review of current literature will be conducted to evaluate current ammonia BMPs, testing of the most promising BMPs on-farm to evaluate their relative effectiveness, and a detailed survey of cattle producers to monitor current and future ammonia BMPs, with emphasis on feasibility, constraints, and cost leading to the compilation of an ammonia handbook highlighting BMPs with highest efficacy and lowest cost.
University of Delaware/Office of the Vice Provost for Research (DE)
Demonstrating Sustainable Integration of Value-Added Manure Products into 21st Century Farming
St. Andrew's Center and the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to will evaluate pelletized broiler litter, dairy and equine composts as organic fertilizers on the 1,500 acre St. Andrew's School farm. Agronomic crop studies will be at the field scale (10+ acres) while vegetable/specialty crop projects will be in small plots; horticultural projects will use lawns, athletic fields, gardens, and greenhouses. Large-scale demonstrations will be installed at St. Andrew's showing innovations management of riparian buffers separating cropland used for our demonstrations from water bodies that enhance water quality, farm ecological conditions, and wildlife habitat. The findings will be available for education purposes on a website, through host field days for farmers and the Green Industry, agriculture and natural resource camps/workshops for K-16 teachers and students, and community education workshops designed to show the full value of farming to urban and suburban adults.
University of Georgia/Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Utilizing Wind and Solar Power for Alternative Water Supply for Cattle in Coastal Georgia
University of Georgia will work with farmers/ranchers who have been involved in other federal or state programs designed to exclude livestock from environmentally sensitive surface water supplies who are left with few options for supplying water to their livestock. Field days will be used to demonstrate that wind power in combination with solar power can be used as a viable alternative for providing water supplies to livestock in areas of coastal Georgia that have limited availability to power from typical electrical sources. The use of both wind and solar systems will provide a consistent and constant source of power for pumping water from shallow water supplies. The hybrid system will be used to access shallow groundwater or surface water sources for watering livestock displaced from environmentally sensitive areas instead of tapping deep water sources such as the Floridian Aquifer system. By reducing the water withdrawn from the Floridian Aquifer system, the salt water intrusion problem is reduced. The translocation of shallow groundwater and surface water will reduce the dependency on deep groundwater as well as protecting sensitive areas such as stream and pond banks. In addition, the use of the proposed hybrid systems will eliminate the cost of running electric service to isolated locations as well as reducing the risk of persons coming in contact with power lines in remote locations.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (GA)
Using Environmental Management Systems (EMS) to Enhance Farmer Environmental Awareness and Implementation of Innovative Resource Conservation Practices
The University of Georgia will conduct one-on-one meetings with participating farmers, group meetings between farmers and technical specialists, farmer-to-farmer meetings, and farm demonstrations on agricultural EMS implementation. Technical personnel and farmers will work together to develop field and computer-based environmental record keeping tools. They will also develop field-based and technical environmental monitoring tools. Based on their farm environment policy statements, environmental records, monitoring information, and farm environmental assessments, participating farmers will identify and implement innovative resource conservation practices on their farms. They will also use their increased environmental awareness and improved record keeping enhancing their eligibility for CSP and EQIP. Throughout the project, farmers and technical specialists will conduct environmental baseline and monitoring assessments to measure changes in environmental conditions as a result of resource conservation practices. In addition, we will publish extension publications and technical papers to provide practical and technical guidelines for using EMS to enhance farmer adoption of pollution prevention practices. We will monitor and evaluate project activities through on-going interactions with participating farmers, collaborator meetings, farm meeting evaluations, and telephone interviews with randomly-selected farm meeting participants. This on-going process will allow us to modify project activities to best meet the needs of participating farmers and the environment where they farm.
Agren, Inc. (IA)
Integration of GIS, Expert System, and LIDAR Technologies for Conservation Planning in Iowa
Agren, Inc., in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, will develop a geographical information system (GIS)-based expert system to facilitate the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology for conservation planning. The three-year project will further develop, demonstrate, and evaluate the use of LIDAR technology for conservation planning in Iowa, as well as develop an electronic decision-support tool to facilitate use of this technology by conservation planners. The use of this decision-support tool has tremendous application for practitioners working one-on-one with farmers.
Acclima, Inc. (ID)
Adapting Digital Soil Moisture Sensor Technology for Agricultural Conservation
Acclima, Inc. will demonstrate and promote conservation of water through the use of simple tools so that most producers can understand what is occurring in the soil and in the crop in the irrigation process. The project should emphasize the difference between absolute sensors and relative sensors, demonstrating the superior reliability and results of the digital time domain transmissiometry process. Transferability of the technology and techniques should be desirable in the marketplace due to obvious and significant fiscal and natural resource savings and superior crop quality and yields.
Dave Roper (ID)
Project is to Identify and Evaluate Drag Hose, Airway and Injection Manure Management Systems Including Assessing Resource Concerns
Dave Roper will identify and evaluate drag horse, airway and injection manure management systems. This grant facilitates field scale trials on 10 swine and dairy producers land in the Southcentral, Idaho. The primary problem being treated is removal and land application of water pond sludge. In addition, the method of application is being investigated to determine which land application method minimizes odor and nutrient transport in surface runoff.
Illinois State University/Research and Sponsored Programs (IL)
Field Scale Evaluation and Technology Transfer of Economically, Ecologically Sound Liquid Swine Manure Treatment and Application Systems
Illinois State University will install a production scale modified, controlled drainage system, designed to utilize separated effluent from swine slurry as a soil amendment for corn/soybean production. The project includes an evaluation of a production scale solid/liquid separation, nitrification system for swine slurry. Raw slurry, separated solids and effluent will be analyzed for various constituents including SS, TSS, NH3, DO, COD, N, P, and pathogen indicators. The effects of four land application methods on crop growth and yield, and on soil and groundwater selected nutrient and pathogen concentrations will be evaluated. A website will be developed to assist in dissemination of BMP and AMP regarding slurry processing and land application. Four brochures and several newsletters outlining BMP and AMP will be developed for dissemination both on-line and in hard copy. Three workshop/field days will be held targeting livestock producers, grain farmers and educators (extension specialists, government agency staff, etc.) featuring the on-farm production scale slurry processing/land application system(s).
Purdue University/Sponsored Program Services (IN)
Exploring Biofuel Alternatives for Energy-Intensive, Seasonal Drying Processes
Purdue University will explore the possibility of burning biofuels (biodiesel, degummed soy oil) for the purpose of drying grain (corn) on Midwestern farms and elevators. Recently completed research at Purdue University, which was partly funded by the Indiana Soybean Board (ISB), showed that burning 10% and 30% mixtures of degummed soy oil with petroleum oil in home heating furnaces showed no adverse effects and could be used in conventional furnaces without altering existing equipment. Unlike standard fuel oil, soybean oil contains no sulfur. The decreased sulfur emission was considered a major environmental benefit. Although grain is no longer dried with fuel oil in the U.S., fuel oil is still widely used for grain drying in many countries (especially in the former Soviet Bloc). The desire for more independence from petroleum energy sources (including natural gas and LPG), the opportunity to utilize renewable energy resources such as biodiesel and degummed soy oil, the availability of high efficiency fuel oil burners (up to 85%), and the potential for low combustion emissions point to the need for a project that explores the economic desirability and technical feasibility of utilizing biofuel alternatives for an energy-intensive, seasonal processing operation such as corn drying in the Midwest.
Purdue University/Sponsored Program Services (IN)
Multi-Criteria Optimization of Watershed Management Practices for Sediment, Nutrient, and Pesticide Control
Purdue University will develop a multi-criteria optimization-based planning tool that searches for a spatially optimal management plan for watershed management practices for sediment, nutrient and pesticide control in an efficient fashion. The planning tool is comprised of a watershed model (SWAT - Soil and Water Assessment Tool), an economic model, and a genetic algorithm. Preliminary results using a similar genetic algorithm based approach indicated that for a watershed in Indiana, the optimized plan would cost 2.5 times less than a targeting plan, providing the same level of sediment and nutrient reductions. A method is proposed to incorporate the producers' willingness to participate in the management plan. The tool will be applied to derive near optimal management plans for sediment, nutrient, and pesticide control in three watersheds in Indiana. The successful completion of the project will result in a tool that could greatly increase the water quality benefits for resources spent on conservation plans.
Maryland Department of Agriculture/Office of Resource Conservation (MD)
Demonstration of Alternative Containment Structure for Stockpiling Poultry Litter
The Maryland Department of Agriculture and Office of Resource Conservation will demonstrate and compare alternative containment structures to accommodate whole house clean outs of poultry houses which occur once every 2-3 years. (Current poultry waste structures are designed to accommodate only "crust outs" between flocks.) Project will evaluate and compare environmental benefits to water quality and cost effectiveness and systems management changes of three types of structures. Each structure will be replicated on two dominate soil types using locations in the mid and lower geographic regions of Maryland's Eastern Shore. This project will involve six producers and provide technical and financial assistance to implement containment structures to stockpile and manage whole house cleanouts (approximately 250 tons) from poultry production grow out facilities when they occur during times of the year when nutrients in the poultry litter cannot be used for crop production. Project design will include instrumentation and monthly sampling of groundwater under each structure to compare environmental benefits and a cost/benefit analysis of each structure which considers implementation, maintenance, ease of use and nutrient benefits. The potential outcome of this project is to verify or modify standards and specifications as suitable for stockpiling containment structures and justify their eligibility for state (MACS) and federal (EQIP) cost share.
Chesapeake Natives, Inc. (MD)
Development of Native Seed as an Alternative Crop for Soil Conservation in Maryland
Chesapeake Natives, Inc. will develop native seed as an alternative crop for soil conservation in Maryland. In the growing season of 2006, wild parent populations of species are being located and certified (for source-identification of seed lots) by the Maryland Department of Agriculture. Seed will be wild-collected in the fall of 2006. All production demonstration plots will be located on EQIP eligible farms in Maryland: 3 on the Delmarva Peninsula, 3 on the Coastal Plain west of the Bay, and 3 in the Piedmont. Production plots will be set up with signs and weed block fabric in the winter 2006/2007. Each production plot will accommodate the demonstration of 4 species and the effects of various fertility and weed control approaches. Germination protocol and seedling production will also occur in the winter 2006/2007. Production plots will be planted in the spring of 2007. In the growing seasons of 2007 and 2008, we will be meeting with farmers repeatedly to work on fertilization, weed control and harvest. In the winter 2007/2008, we will be cleaning the first harvest, and continuing germination protocol work (critical to having seed lots tested for sale in the future). In the growing season 2008, we will continue the fertility/weed control/harvest activities.
In the winter 2008/2009, seed will be cleaned and stored, and seed production manuals and presentations will be prepared. In 2009, we will use the January-to-June period covered by this grant to establish soil stabilization demonstration plots that illustrate the effective use of the native seed mix. During this period the soil stabilization team (see collaborators) will meet approximately three times a year.
Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board Inc. (MD)
Using Biofuels Production to Enhance Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Through Expanded Cover Crop Planting
Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, Inc. will use biofuel production to enhance Chesapeake Bay water quality through by expanding cover crop planting. A cost-share incentive bonus of$15 per acre in year one ($ 12/ac year two and $101 ac year three) will be provided to farmers to grow hulless barley rather than other small grains eligible for cost share under the Maryland Agricultural Cost Share (MACS) commodity cover crop program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture. MGPUB will work cooperatively with MASCD, MOP A and MDA to provide information to farmers about the bonus incentive program and the University of Maryland will provide technical information on the production and harvesting practices of hulless barley. The program will be administered through the Maryland Department of Agriculture through the local soil conservation districts as part of a new Commodity Cover Crop Program which restricts the application of fertilizer in the fall but allows the harvesting of the grain for a reduced incentive payment.
The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands (ME)
The Development of an Ecosystem Services Trading Program for Family Forest Landowners to Promote the Protection of Atmospheric, Water and Soil Resources in Maine
The Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands proposes to assist family forest landowners in taking advantage of an emerging greenhouse gas emissions market by assembling carbon offset credits associated with ecologically sound forest management on private lands and selling the credits to investors. This project will develop a credible model forest carbon project using family forest properties representing a diversity of parcel sizes and tree species composition. This innovative work will develop the technical tools necessary to bring income to landowners for providing valuable carbon sequestration ecosystem services. Forest management will meet international standards for environmental, economic, and social sustainability under the Forest Stewardship Council certification program. Co-benefits to the carbon offset program will also include protection of soil and water quality. The project will also propose to develop a credible set of practices that will be used as an accounting tool to establish the market value for such practices. Model easements will be developed to create the legal structure needed to maintain the implementation of practices that create carbon benefits and protect water and soil quality. A monitoring program will be developed to ensure the terms of the easements are being followed. The project will be evaluated as a case study for a program to be expanded in a statewide or regional context. Analyses will be conducted to evaluate the compatibility of the program with existing state forest policies, including tax incentive and cost-share programs. In addition, we will evaluate the economic costs and benefits to landowners who provide additional carbon sequestration within this pilot framework.
Coveyou Farms LLC (MI)
Innovative Irrigation Water Conservation and Supplemental Solar Heating Demonstration for Small Farm Season Extension Greenhouse Production
Coveyou Farms LLC will design, install, demonstrate and evaluate the integration of a novel rainwater conservation irrigation reservoir system with an on farm renewable energy system to store thermal solar energy produced during the day in the reservoir for use in greenhouse supplemental heating during the night hours using root zone heating. The novel reservoir application will provide access to irrigation water in late winter as well as double as a large thermal mass to store the solar heat energy. This project will also demonstrate that the use of this solar heated water in the reservoir can be applied to growing crops without fossil fuel water heaters and with improved irrigation management using new bottom watering matting. All of these technologies are ideally focused for small farms growing season extending crops. Design, operational and performance data will be collected, documented and shared to aid other farmers using season extending structures across Michigan, the Midwest and Northeast.
NTH Consultants, Ltd. (MI)
Adoption of a Rapid, Direct Measure Device to Measure Specific Discharge from Earthen-Lined Waste Storage Ponds
NTH Consultants will adopt a rapid, direct measure devise to measure specific discharge from earthen-lined waste storage ponds. Implementation of a device used to directly measure waste storage pond seepage rates will allow producers to demonstrate equivalency to seepage rate standards. The device can be used on earthen-lined waste storage ponds where construction documentation does not exist and the liner adequacy has come into question. The device is a simple and inexpensive alternative to current methods used for testing. The device employs a mirror on a fulcrum, which is used to measure changes in the pond water level. Differences in the projected image of a staff gauge are read from the mirror with a telescope. Previous studies have demonstrated that the device can measure changes in water level to within 10-microns. For the waste storage ponds identified as not meeting specified seepage rates, groundwater quality in rural areas can be improved and protected from nutrient and pathogen transport by installing a more adequate liner.
State of Michigan/Agricultural Stewardship Division (MI)
Impact Targeting: Applying Conservation Tools to the Worst Erosion Areas for Maximum Sediment/Nutrient Reductions
The Agricultural Stewardship Division of the State of Michigan will develop a system that employs High Impact Targeting (HIT) to the Application of Conservation Tools to High Risk Erosion Areas for Maximum Sediment Reductions from agricultural lands in the Great Lakes Basin. Phase 1 includes development of this system as a web-accessible (online), interactive GIS tool to enable quick and widespread dissemination of this tool to target those risk areas with the greatest potential to deliver sediment loadings that degrade water quality. This tool, as a prerequisite for precision conservation, will be designed for use by field staff or landowners in four Michigan watersheds to target high risk areas to reduce soil erosion and adverse levels of sediment loadings to receiving waters. An advanced interpersonal and online learning model will be developed by the Institute of Water Research and applied to education outreach. This model will support attitudinal and behavioral changes necessary to implement appropriate BMPs on targeted high-risk erosion areas. This regional model can be expanded to other Great Lakes Basin states.
Dovetail Partners, Inc. (MN)
Forest Certification for Family Forests
Dovetail Partners, Inc. will increase woodland owner participation in forest certification as a market-based incentive for environmentally responsible forest management that addresses natural resource concerns such as soil resources and productivity, invasive species, and insect and disease threats to forest health. This project includes preparation for and completion of a forest certification assessment and annual audits.
Western Minnesota Resource Conservation and Development Council (MN)
Productive Conservation on Working Lands Demonstration Project
RC&D Councils in MN will finalize development of the PCWL program, create a working demonstration project of 1,000 acres with quantifiable results, create a technical handbook, disseminate results to the State of MN and beyond and work to secure state and federal funding for adoption of a larger scale program.
The Curators of the University of Missouri (MO)
Demonstration of Farm Profitability Utilizing Management Techniques that Promote Soil and Water Conservation Practice and Improve Pastures
The University of Missouri will demonstrate the profitability of utilizing soil and water conservation techniques on farms to improve pastures. At the University of Missouri Bradford Research and Extension Center a series of demonstrations will be set up that feature techniques that incorporate soil and water conservation that promote wildlife diversity. These demonstrations will be part of a larger management plan for the entire research center that includes management of native warm season grasses and native forbs for conservation and wildlife. A key feature for these demonstrations is that copy yield and economics will be determined for each of the techniques. Changes in bird numbers from these techniques will be determined from monthly bird counts by the local Audubon Society.
Eric Shafer/Mississippi Technology Alliance (MS)
Renewable Energy Generation on Broiler Poultry Farms
The overall goal of this project is to implement a unique and innovative market-based solution for effectively managing energy generation on a typical broiler poultry farm, while addressing the highly critical issue of broiler litter disposal. An on-farm anaerobic digester is an innovative approach to conserving water, soil and atmospheric resources while generating bio-based renewable energy and eliminating the problems of litter and dead-bird disposal. Even though the science behind anaerobic digestion is well understood, using an anaerobic digester to manage broiler litter is a truly innovative approach and has only become feasible due to a recent change in poultry production practices as described in the narrative. The proposed system will be "farmer-friendly" production-oriented version of an existing experimental poultry litter digester that is expected to come online by mid-2006. The highly-experienced project team will design the proposed new system to be effective and affordable, considering long-term economic and· operational perspectives, by the typical 4-6 house broiler farm. There are nearly 2000 such farms in the state of Mississippi. This project will (1) optimize on-farm labor requirements of such systems, (2) conduct education and market coordinating efforts to farmers and other stakeholders to explain the utilization, (3) conduct a poultry growers market survey to determine the extent of the new litter management practice, and (4) facilitate technology transfer to others in the poultry industry by developing technical materials to help proliferate the adoption of this innovative approach.
Meagher County Conservation District (MT)
Hydrologic Investigation of the Smith River Watershed, with an Emphasis on Ground Water/Surface Water Interaction
Meagher County Conservation District will investigate the hydrology of the Upper Smith River Watershed and identify irrigation and drought's influence on the stream flow of the Smith River, so that informed decisions and plans of action can be made. Surface and ground water flowing in and out of the Smith River Watershed will be measured and tracked utilizing temperature as a natural tracer. Utilizing temperature, in conjunction with water level gradients, to determine the flow pattern and interaction between the ground water and surface water systems is a new and innovative technique that would allow hydrologic systems to be investigated at a greatly reduced cost to the present techniques in use.
North Carolina State University (NC)
Pilot Project for Value-Added Product Development from Solid Waster Generated on Swine Farms
North Carolina State University’s project includes five components: Construction of Value-Added Processing Infrastructure. In the case of Super Soils, grinders and processors will be constructed 'on site; in the case of vermiculture, sheds and worm rows will be installed on the Little Creek Hog Farms adjacent to Environmental Technologies' Closed Loop System; Transfer of solids and produce value-added products; Technical evaluation of the solids and process (in the case of vermiculture); Delivery of products to buyers/users and collect feedback on market reception; and Economic assessment and delivery of results to producers, technology providers, and decision-makers.
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources/Division of Soil and Water Conservation
Innovative Conservation Practices for Aquaculture Operations in North Carolina
The North Caroline Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Division of Soil and Water Conservation will investigate the hydrology of the Upper Smith River Watershed and identify irrigation and drought's influence on the stream flow of the Smith River, so that informed decisions and plans of action can be made. Surface and ground water flowing in and out of the Smith River Watershed will be measured and tracked utilizing temperature as a natural tracer. Utilizing temperature, in conjunction with water level gradients, to determine the flow pattern and interaction between the ground water and surface water systems is a new and innovative technique that would allow hydrologic systems to be investigated at a greatly reduced cost to the present techniques in use.
Board of Regents for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (NE)
Demonstrate and Adapt Remote Sensing Technology to Produce Consumptive Water Use Maps for the Nebraska Panhandle
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln will apply the METRIC approach to generate CWU maps. The University of Idaho will lead the METRIC processing component, produce CWU maps and provide training to UNL. UNL will receive hands-on training to produce CWU maps independent of UI. UNL will develop the capability to interpret CWU maps for water balances and develop crop curves for specific crops and to delineate irrigated and non-irrigated acres for the reference years. Accurate net water use information generated for 1997, 2002, and 2005 will provide the NRCS with the tools they need to conjunctively manage ground and surface water as mandated by Nebraska Law LB962.
Nebraska Corn Board (NE)
Demonstration/Validation of a Dynamic Real-Time Decision Support System for Irrigation Management
The Nebraska Corn Board will demonstrate and validate a dynamic real-time decision support system, for irrigation management. This project will: (1) Select progressive corn producers who are interested in increasing WUE with limited irrigation to conserve water resources and who meet EQJP eligibility requirements. For each selected producer, identify paired fields with pivot irrigation as demonstration sites using satellite imagery, NRCS soil survey maps, digital elevation maps to select fields with similar soil and topographical characteristics. (2) Conduct these demonstrations in different regions of1he state to document the validity of this new real-time decision support tool under a variety of soil and climate conditions. (3) Monitor results from years 1 and 2, and make revisions to the decision support tool as required based on the results and feedback from the producers. (4) Conduct a series of workshops across the state to educate producers, crop consultants, extension educators, and industry professionals about the decision-support tool and results of the on-farm demonstration program.
San Juan River Dineh Water Users, Inc. (NM)
Irrigation Water Management and EQIP Project Coordinator
San Juan River Dineh Water Users, Inc will complete existing and new EQIP contracts on Navajo irrigated farms locate don Federal trust land in a timely manner, recommend and begin the implementation of irrigation water management into the delivery system that can be transferred to the farmer, initiate a water reporting program based on water delivery, and provide annual educational outreach seminars to farmers located in each chapter that focuses on both the EQIP program and irrigation water management. This project will also implement a flow measuring, recording, and reporting program.
The Regents of New Mexico University/Office of Grants and Contracts (NM)
Subsurface Drip Irrigation and GIS/GPS Technology for Water Conservation in the Southern High Plains
Declining groundwater levels in the Southern High Plains are threatening the sustainability of highly productive irrigated agriculture. This proposed project will demonstrate the water and energy conserving abilities of subsurface drip irrigation and GIS/GPS (geographic information systems/global positioning systems) in cropping practices in the region. Although highly efficient, subsurface drip irrigation use in this region is practically non-existent due to limited information on system operation and application. The project will educate producers on 1) installation and management strategies for subsurface drip irrigation, and 2) the applicability and benefits of utilizing information technologies (guidance systems) in conjunction with drip irrigation and in more traditional settings. Over 3 years, these technologies will be used together in a system for production of corn, sorghum, and cotton, and will be compared with conventional systems of irrigation and management. Producers will be able to see differences between the two different production systems and the benefits associated with drip irrigation and GIS/GPS. Drip tapes will be set on a typical row spacing (30 in.) and management will be representative of common practices in the area. Water use efficiencies will be estimated for all crops and crops will be evaluated for a best fit into the drip-GIS/GPS system. Differences in system inputs (e.g. water, fertilizers, herbicides) and outputs (e.g. yields, economic returns) will be documented throughout the duration of the project.
Watershed Agricultural Council of the New York City Watersheds, Inc. (NY)
Demonstration of Conservation and Producer-Based Benefits of a Bedded pack Management System on a Small Intensive Grazing Dairy Farm
Animal waste is one of the main management challenges for dairy farms of all sizes. The identification of increasingly comprehensive manure management systems may result in benefits for agricultural producers and their advisors alike. One such manure management system in limited use is a bedded pack. A bedded pack utilizes a dry bedding material such as straw, hay or wood shavings creating an area for the feeding, watering and storage of livestock and their waste materials. Reports on farms using bedded packs have not focused on the actual impact on the farmer once this management system is adopted. In this project a comprehensive investigation of the producer-based experience of managing a bedded pack system will be performed. The experiences of those advising producers will be evaluated to determine if this system provides a better conservation alternative to more traditional, capital-intensive projects. The technical and operational outcomes will be disseminated to relevant audiences through field demonstrations of the system, presentations on project methodology and published results of the evaluation.
Orleans County Soil and Water Conservation District (NY)
Using New Technology to Reduce Amount of Pesticides Being Used on Area Orchard Farms
Working with ten progressive EQIP eligible Orchard Farmers Orleans County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will introduce current sensor controlled precision spray technology on 1400 acres to demonstrate its potential to meet the economic and environmental needs of fruit growers of western New York, and potentially throughout the region and nation. All fruit growers strive to produce a quality product, but are often confronted with decisions on pesticide application, particularly in light of falling commodity prices. Management decisions concerning pesticide application revolve around good· practice, cost of application, fruit quality and environmental issues, all within a framework of increasing legislation. Good targeting of pesticides will allow growers to reduce their pesticide use, saving money whilst still producing a quality product. The strategy of demonstrating new precision spray technology to (ensuring the spray plume goes into the target and not drift into the air or onto the ground) should lead to a dramatic reduction in pesticide use, maybe as much as 25% reduction. Orleans SWCD will certainly reduce drift, this will help growers conform to legislation, protect the environment and reduce the public profile of the spraying activity. The results of our project will be quickly disseminated to the growers via extension educators, winter conferences, summer field meetings, and publications such as growers newsletters, journals etc.
Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District (NY)
Cayuga County Regional Environmental Digester
The Cayuga County Soil and Water Conservation District (The District) will contract with Eco Technology Solutions (ECOTS) to assist in the design and implementation of a community aboveground mesophilic "hydraulic-mix" digester, which has been proven to have superior performance in over 100 European applications and has not been implemented in the US. This innovative technology reduces the odor associated with the land application of manure and also reduces the nutrient loading to local water bodies by transforming nutrients into soluble forms that are readily used by plants. The facility will be located on 5 acres of an 88 acre parcel of rural land owned by Cayuga County on the outskirts of Auburn in Central New York. This facility will service a minimum of four (4) EQIP eligible producers, providing them with an economic and environmentally friendly waste management option that will provide them with the nutrients they need to grow feed needed to sustain their herd by returning the liquid portion of the digestate to a satellite storage unit to be land applied. The solid portion will be used as an erosion control practice along roadsides with the remainder being sold in bulk to cash croppers and the landscaping industry. The biogas will be collected and converted into electricity that will be sold to three county office buildings to offset the operation and maintenance cost associated with running a community digestion facility. This facility will serve as a demonstration project to prove the success of the technology and act as a model for others to be designed after.
Cornell University (NY)
Improving the Transport Component of the P-Index for Nutrient Management Plans in the Northeast
Cornell University will work to improve the effectiveness of the phosphorus (P)-indices used in the Northeastern US. Cornell will do this by developing a tool that identifies areas in the landscape with the highest risks of hydrological connection to streams, and rivers, i.e., hydrologically sensitive areas (HSA). The proposed tool is the culmination of a decade of basic research to understand· and model regional runoff mechanisms and their role in water quality. In short, the tool will identify locations in the landscape' based on their quantifiable risk of generating runoff and, thus, transporting P to streams. Furthermore, we will engineer our tool such that it is accessible via the Internet for ready access by planners and producers. We envision a user-friendly, point-and-click "mapping-tool" that allows planners to. zoom-in and overlay maps of runoff-risk on aerial photos that clearly show field boundaries. This project will also involve monitoring circa 4 EQIP-eligible producer properties in central NY to evaluate the effectiveness of our new HSA-identification tool; at least 1 will be a CAFO. This monitoring will primarily include measuring phosphorus concentration in receiving flows in· or near the studied farms (to be determined as part of the project). These data will be supplemented by an additional 2 dairy farms in the Catskill Mountains where we have been monitoring P for the past 5 to 10 years.
Robert Boldt/We Gotta Farm (NY)
Compost Bedded Pack Barn – An Environmental Friendly Combination of Waste Storage and Animal Housing
Robert Boldt will construct two compost bedded pack barns each with overall dimensions of 80 feet by 300 feet plus one 50' x 100' fresh cow pack barn behind the parlor. The actual compost bedded pack area will be 50' by 300', and 30' x 100' in the fresh cow barn. These are the functional areas for which we are seeking funding. The smaller facility will allow for not only intensive animal management, but also for small scale testing of alternative bedding sources and combinations. The composting pack will be probed periodically to monitor heat within the pack, and samples will be taken for analysis at cleanout in order to determine spreading schedule according to the CNMP. Periodic soil samples will be taken to monitor nutrient and organic matter levels. Animal performance measures will be taken monthly by a Dairy One (DHIA) technician.
Great Plains RC&D Area Association (OK)
Southern Plains Agricultural Resources Coalition Conservation Innovation Grant for Natural Resources
Great Plains RC&D will demonstrate the use of innovative approaches to restore and enhance soil resources associated with agricultural land uses (predominately small grain production) while sustaining productivity. Our mission statement is: The Southern Plains Agricultural Resources Coalition will spark rural sustainability and profitability through greater use of no-till practices and conservation systems for producers, consumers, and communities by promotion of market based incentives, education, demonstration, participation, and research. Products of project activities will include workshops, field days, fact sheets, demonstrations, test, and evaluations. Each of these activities has the purpose to increase the acreage of agriculture land in no-till conservation systems.
American Forest Foundation (OR)
Adoption of Oak Savannah Management on Private Lands in the Willamette Valley, OR
Management of white oak (Quercus garryana) has the potential to make significant contributions to the economic and ecological health of the Willamette Valley. Although techniques and strategies for oak savannah restoration and management have been developed, only a handful of private landowners have adopted them. As a direct result, supplies of white oak timber products are viewed as unreliable by potential consumers and species dependent on healthy, functioning oak savannah habitats have declined. If properly managed the oak savannah ecosystem could provide wood for wine barrels as well as critical habitat for a number of species in decline. American Forest Foundation will increase adoption of oak savannah management by private landowners through cost-share assistance and will leverage the impact of on the ground work through outreach and education.
Oregon State University/College of Agriculture (OR)
Demonstration and Evaluation of an Integrated Organic Mulching and Drip Irrigation System for Orchard Crops
Oregon State University will demonstrate and evaluate the effects of organic mulching and drip irrigation as an integrated system on sweet cherry with the goal of increasing soil quality and productivity, reducing orchard water consumption, increasing grower profitability, and improving environmental quality. A field experiment will be conducted on Mel Omeg's orchard at The Dalles, Oregon from 2006 through 2008. Two ground and water management systems: straw mulching and drip irrigation system, and no ground cover (but with herbicide applications) and micro sprinkler irrigation system will be compared under sweet cherry cultivar of Bing on Gisela 6 rootstock. Soil moisture, nutrient contents, and physical and biological properties; leaf nutrient concentrations; tree vigor, fruit yield, size, firmness, color, and storability, and water consumption of sweet cherry, and costs and economic returns will be determined. The outcomes of this project are that the integrated straw mulching and drip irrigation production system will become a viable replacement to our current no ground cover and sprinkler irrigation production system, and will be widely adopted by the tree fruit growers in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
Oregon State University (OR)
Landowner Tools for Quantifying Multiple Environmental Services of Riparian Vegetation Buffers for Use in Water Quality Credit Trading in Oregon
Oregon State University, as a key partner of the Sustainable Plant Research and Outreach Center (SPROut), proposes to monitor existing riparian restoration sites established by Clean Water Services (the storm and wastewater agency for the Tualatin Basin in Oregon) and Tualatin Basin landowners for the following water quality parameters: water temperature, water nutrient levels, sediment load in the water, fecal bacterial load in the water, and value of habitat for species of concern. This project will correlate these parameters with riparian vegetation characteristics, using a compilation of existing quantifiable assessment tools and adding a new model to account for future predictability. The resulting single user-friendly tool will be transferable to other watersheds in Oregon and will allow landowners to assess the economic values of riparian buffers and various riparian restoration activities on their agricultural lands in units that correspond to regulatory or market-based drivers. This will provide justification and incentive for using riparian buffers in water quality credit trading programs in Oregon such as the Willamette Ecosystem Marketplace, or through integrated/watershed-scale NPDES permits for clean water agencies. Riparian vegetation buffers have the potential to be valued as an agricultural commodity that enhances environmental sustainability.
Farmers Irrigation District (OR)
Environmental and Economic Benefits of Comprehensive Upgrade
Farmers Irrigation District will utilize a unique, scientifically based software modeling technique that makes use of real time weather, soil moisture holding capacity and crop co-efficient to calculate daily water use and project optimal dates for irrigation to be applied. Soil moisture readings are superimposed to refine models and quantify how much water is needed by the crop and ultimately how much can be saved.
The Pennsylvania State University (PA)
Field Tests on Systems Approaches for Retooling Mid-Atlantic Orchards with Innovative Conservation Technologies
Pennsylvania State University will test innovative technology for systems approaches for retooling Mid-Atlantic orchards with innovative conservation technology. Pilot projects will be established in twelve commercial apple orchard blocks to demonstrate a systems approach for retooling Mid-Atlantic orchards in ways that increase sustainability, energy efficiency and incentives for industry adoption of new conservation technologies. Penn State horticulturists, engineers and economists, through a state-funded project, have been cooperatively researching and formulating blueprints for efficient, low-input orchard systems that are well-adapted to precision agriculture, and the technology is ready for field testing; The orchard blueprints include standards for utilization of advanced integrated pest management programs, tree physiology efficiency, managing environmental and economic risks and maximizing production efficiency (Schupp, 2005a). Energy audits will be conducted to confirm the environmental benefits of the innovative systems compared to conventional orchard systems. Partial budget and cost-benefit analyses will be conducted to provide economic incentives for adoption of new best management systems.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (SD)
Forage Increase Through Invasive Species Eradication, Plantings, and Grazing Exclusion
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe will improve forage quality and quantity on Tribal lands through a verified course of action. The Tribe will also document project costs and perform a cost-benefit analysis to complete a review of these results regarding land reclamation and rejuvenation. The Tribe will: remove invasive species as needed; fence, prepare and plant sites; and exclude all domestic livestock.
The Nature Conservancy (MN, SD)
Promoting the Utilization of Prescribed Fire and Patchburn grazing as Acceptable Management Practices for Private Rangelands in the Prairie Coteau Region of South Dakota and Minnesota
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will use a comprehensive private lands integrated fire and patch-burn grazing system to assess landowner operations and respond to those assessments by providing the necessary tools and knowledge to the producer to meet habitat and forage goals and ultimately improve biodiversity. TNC has established five active demonstration sites specifically designed to transfer knowledge and understanding of advanced fire and grazing systems. TNC is now poised to implement the second major phase of the project, which includes on-site evaluations of private lands, fire and grazing planning, and coordination of fire and grazing implementation. By utilizing CIG funds, we plan to perform preliminary site assessments including floristic quality indexing, establishment of grazing exclosures, species composition analysis, and habitat structural analysis. Following pre-treatment site analysis, TNC will work with landowners to implement ecologically sound prescribed grazing and burning practices that augment not only the habitat quality of the site, but also serve to enhance the producers overall ranch management and income potential. TNC anticipates the majority of the funding necessary to perform the actual fire implementation will come from additional funding sources. However, a portion of these funds may be utilized to perform fire implementation on pre-established demonstration sites. TNC’s objective for this project is to conduct biological assessments and management planning. Ultimately, our goal over time and with additional funding sources is to work with producers to implement patch-burn grazing systems that are economically feasible and ultimately self-sustaining, thus maintaining or increasing cattle production while concurrently stimulating biodiversity and structural habitat mosaic.
Washington State University (WA)
Pathogen Reduction on a Community Based Anaerobic Digester
The focus of this project will be to demonstrate a reduction in pathogen and nutrient transport to surface water and a reduced risk of herd to herd transmission of pathogens between farms that participate in a community based anaerobic digester with post AD pasteurization. A unique aspect of this project is that we will be able to obtain information on water quality and pathogen levels at individual farms before and after the adoption of the community AD.
Wisconsin Family Forests, Inc. (WI)
Wisconsin’s Multi-Owner Forest Stewardship Program
Wisconsin Family Forests, Inc. will define and pilot a multi-owner planning and management program for landscape-level, sustainable management on fragmented, family forestland. Develop a business plan that identifies a realistic mix of public funding and participant fees that will encourage long-term survival and growth of sponsors that host the program. Evaluate the project as a statutory program for countering forest fragmentation, improving forest health and generating certified forest products.
Efforts will focus on the three pilots in the first phase. Two are being administered by Wisconsin Family Forests in the Baraboo Bluffs and Door County. A third is located in the central sands area (near Wisconsin Rapids) as part of the Stora Enso Family Forest landowner assistance program. The initial phase includes establishing the operational elements of the sustainable forestry plans and coordinated harvests, developing an effective marketing strategy, recruiting participants, providing them with management assistance, developing a tracking system, etc. The second phase (concurrent with follow through on the pilots) will be to shape future public policy toward family forest management in Wisconsin, thus institutionalizing multi-owner forest management. We will collect data on results from the three pilots, write and present reports to evaluate the project, complete the scoping assessment and organize public forums to discuss the project's future potential.
Coaltec Energy USA, Inc. (WV)
Gasification of Poultry Liter to Produce Bio-Energy for Heat
Coaltec Energy USA, Inc. proposes to prove the feasibility and economic viability of a bio-based waste to energy system utilizing poultry litter as the fuel and a fixed-bed gasifier as the medium to convert the material to energy. Located at Frye Poultry, Hardy County West Virginia, this pilot project focuses on a demonstration that will evaluate the bio-based heating system side by side with a typically heated poultry house. Gasified poultry litter, reduced to a mineral ash, can be sold/transported out of the watershed, eliminating nutrient-loading of the soil and diversion to the streams of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Validation of ammonia reduction in the broiler houses, a project outcome, will be accomplished by replacing the industry- representative propane heating system, which generates excessive humidity in the houses during combustion, with gasification.
West Virginia University Agricultural and Natural Resources (WV)
The beneficial attributes of bio-control agents like goats and sheep have not been well understood in West Virginia. West Virginia University proposes a three-year project to evaluate the usefulness of goat and sheep as bio-control agents to implement prescribed grazing protocols for the utilization and management of invasive plant species. An educational workshop will be included as a part of this project to teach farmers methods to incorporate sheep and goats into a multi-species grazing system. We will then facilitate and demonstrate a cost share program with 30 selected farmers for a prescribed grazing system to improve brush management in the Potomac Valley Soil Conservation district. An effective marketing pool for the sale of the goat and sheep produce will be developed to orient future distribution patterns. Finally, an economic analysis will be carried out to determine the economic differences between bio-control and traditional chemical and mechanical control methods.
West Virginia University Research Corporation (WV)
WRI 237 – Development and Implementation of a Water Quality Bank and Trade Program for the Potomac River Watershed, WV
West Virginia University proposes a three-phased approach to develop and implement a water quality credit trading program in the WV area of the' Potomac River Watershed. The first phase will focus on developing accurate watershed specific information and data to properly inform the trading development process. This information and data will be used to modify the World Resources Institute's NutrientNet electronic trading platform that has been developed for the entire Potomac River watershed. This process will provide an accurate baseline to evaluate potential credit supply and demand, incremental cost of credits and pollutant reductions. In the second phase West Virginia Research Corporation will launch broad public outreach and education to constitute a trading stakeholder process. Informed stakeholder input into the development of the trading framework and infrastructure will improve the trading program design and increase stakeholder trust and support for it. This broader process will be supported, informed, and facilitated by a core team of official project collaborators and other key players. Stakeholders will address and resolve critical trading infrastructure and element issues such as structure and function of the bank or board of trade, trading ratios, liability for non-compliance, enforcement, allowable trades, oversight, legal authority, transparency etc. In the last phase, West Virginia University will use the outcomes from the stakeholder process to establish the program rules and infrastructure and to execute a pilot-trading program. West Virginia University will build administrative functions into existing funding, procedures, staffing and infrastructure of the state agriculture cost-share program. A trading bank will be capitalized by providing incentives for early point source participation. This revenue will be used to offset cost share requirements and kick start the trading process. NutrientNet will serve as the electronic registry and marketplace for facilitating and conducting trades and determining optimal BMP applications and loading reductions. The program will be overseen by a Board of Trade with the responsibility to ensure that trades are conducted in accordance with established rules and to adapt the program in order to encourage maximum participation and efficiency.