Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended 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. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.
CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. NRCS administers CIG.
National CIG Projects Awarded in Arkansas
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $25 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) awarded to 58 entities across the nation for projects that test and prove innovative approaches to conserving America’s private lands.
Arkansas was home to five projects that will demonstrate innovative approaches to improving soil health, increasing pollinator and wildlife habitat, addressing livestock manure management, producing on-farm energy savings and fostering water quality trading markets. Grant winners pay 50 percent of all project costs.
Projects in Arkansas include:
University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service (AR) $969,299
Expanding the Implementation Capacity of Practice 799 (Monitoring)
The goals are to demonstrate the Lower-Cost Sampling Devices for Edge-of-Field Monitoring in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The project will demonstrate telemetry options for prototype intermittent stream gauge to reduce travel costs and develop and deliver an Edge-of-Field Monitoring Training Program.
University of Arkansas (DE, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV, IA, KS, MO, NE, AR, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX) $57,924
Identify Methods to Refine Phosphorus (P) Indices and Synthesize and Extend Lessons and Outcomes from Three Regional Indexing Efforts
The overall goal of the project is to develop a national database of existing plot- and watershed-scale sites with more than three years of water quality measurement (flow and phosphorous concentration) and sufficient land management information to populate phosphorous indices and predictive models approved under the 590 Standard. This project will compare Phosphorous Index risk assessments with water quality data and validated predictive models for the combined field and watershed sites. It will also synthesize, summarize and describe the science-based information and lessons learned from the three regional Phosphorous Index assessment projects (i.e., Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Heartland Region, and Southern States) and build a harmonized framework that yields consistent P-based risk assessment across the U.S.
Illinois River Watershed Partnership (OK, AR) $132,823
Improving Dissolved Phosphorous (P) in Runoff with Water Quality Improvement Structures
This project proposes to construct a phosphorus removal structure on a poultry farm located in the Illinois River watershed, which will be strategically placed to intercept runoff occurring immediately around a poultry production house. The awardee will also monitor the effectiveness of the structure by sampling inflow and treated water through the use of automatic samplers and flow meters, tracking the reduction of phosphorous load. The goal is to remove 50 percent of the phosphorous load.
North Carolina State University (AR, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX) $472,962
Refine and Regionalize Southern Phosphorous (P) Assessment Tools Based on Validation and State Priorities
The major objective of the project is to coordinate and advance phosphorous management in the South by ensuring that most southern phosphorous assessment tools have been tested based on guidance in the 2011 NRCS 590 standard and compared to water quality data. The project will also use these tools to produce more consistent results across physiographic regions in order to promote greater similarity between regional Phosphorous Index ratings and recommendations.
University Of Delaware (DE, AR, PA) $967,461
Innovative Approaches to Capture Nitrogen and Air Pollutant Emissions from Poultry Operations
The overall goal of the project is to help broiler producers adopt viable, practical, economical and effective strategies to improve their environmental performance, meet applicable federal and state requirements on air and water quality and to achieve strong, sustainable productive and profitable broiler producing operations. Demonstration sites will be broiler producers in Arkansas, Delaware and Pennsylvania.