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Press Release

NRCS Announces 2023 Rhode Island Conservation Innovation Grant Awardees

Two projects in the Ocean State to receive almost $170,000
Publish Date
Conservation Innovation Grants

NRCS Rhode Island State Conservationist, R. Phou Vongkhamdy, is pleased to announce the recipients of fiscal year 2023 Conservation Innovation Grants for Rhode Island. Two projects were selected from a total of 6 submissions.

“Through CIG, NRCS seeks projects that demonstrate, evaluate and quantify the effects of conservation practices, systems and strategies to protect and improve natural resources in Rhode Island,” said Vongkhamdy.

The two awarded projects focus on developing and demonstrating cutting-edge ideas to further advance innovation in resource conservation on private lands in the Ocean State. The Fiscal Year 2023 Rhode Island CIG awardees and projects are:

  • Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (ERICD) for the project, “Micro-State Microclover: A trial of microclovers, Trifolium Repens vars. Pirouette, Pippolina, Black Beauty impacts on inputs within small scale diversified vegetable farms in Rhode Island” ($47,230). ERICD will demonstrate the use of micro-clover as a permanent cover used in a minimum tillage/no till system on urban and small farms in Rhode Island. The goal of this project is to integrate reduced tillage with other soil building practices to foster the growth and viability of vegetable farming in Rhode Island’s urban and small farm communities and to demonstrate these techniques by hosting workshops.
  • A-Team Coastal LLC Rhody Wild Sea Gardens for the project, “Developing an EQIP Kelp (Saccharina latissima) Restoration Practice in Rhode Island Waters: Where, when, and how kelp aquaculture can be optimized to maximize ecosystem services” ($120,618). Kelp is growing as a blue-economy commodity; however, it is not included in the list of NRCS Practice Standards. By developing a Kelp Practice Standard NRCS can help support a developing industry that offers a range of ecosystem services, is climate smart, provides jobs, results in net-carbon sequestrations, and meets many current conservation needs.

Grantees must work with farmers and forestland owners to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies related to agricultural production and participation in EQIP and related Farm Bill Programs.

The 2023 Rhode Island CIG focused on Aquatic Resources and Wildlife, Urban and Small-scale Farms, Water Quality and Quantity, Soil Health, and Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry. Projects benefiting historically underserved producers were given special consideration. CIG results are anticipated to advance the foundation for sustainable agriculture and enable producers to conserve their natural resources.

CIG is a voluntary program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.

For more information, visit your local USDA Service Center.

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