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News Release

State Conservation Innovation Grants Awarded

Barbara Phillips

September 23, 2013 - USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Carrie Mosley has announced the New Jersey recipients of the 2013 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). The grant program, intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, supports environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. Laine Farms will receive $26,573 and New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team will receive $43,045 toward their proposed projects. 

Laine Farms will work with New Jersey Audubon Society to pursue a 3-year project on the “Use of Specialty Commodity Crop as Alternative on Land Used for and/or Considered for Biofuel Crops to Aid and Maximize Habitat Value for Grassland Dependent Bird Species.” The project will include an analysis of spelt seeding rates to create suitable habitat for grassland dependent bird species targeting current New Jersey State-listed wildlife species, analysis of production cost/income of spelt as an alternate crop to production cost/income of native warm season grasses that are used for biofuel, identification of spelt market in New Jersey and evaluation of spelt yield based on seeding rates used to maximize habitat potential and evaluation of grassland bird habitat presence/abundance associated with spelt fields compared to native warm season grass fields. The budgeted cost of the program is $53,174.

New Jersey Invasive Species Strike Team will pursue a two-year project entitled “APPlying New Strategies to Nip Invasive Species in the Bud.” The project goal is to facilitate improvements in the implementation of the Early Detection/Rapid Response (ED/RR) strategy used to stop the spread of emerging invasive species in New Jersey’s natural and agricultural systems and prevent the spread of invasive species into new areas. Two smartphone/tablet apps will be developed and made available to help small-scale producers easily and inexpensively identify and report invasive species they come across during the course of their everyday work and help them quickly and effectively initiate efforts to contain and/or eradicate the invasive species they detect. Total budgeted cost of the project is $87,020.

Both projects will involve public outreach and information sharing with landowner, producer and other groups via meetings, fact sheets, internet and other media. 

The grants are awarded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals. For further information on the Conservation Innovation Grant program contact: Gail Bartok at 732-537-6042 or Greg Westfall at 732-537-6054.