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News Release

Arkansas NRCS Announces Funding for Innovation Grants

Little Rock, Arkansas – Mike Sullivan, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist, announced approximately $300,000 in funding is available through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies within Arkansas.

State, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply.  Project proposals, due by June 15, 2015, should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource concern.  Project results are expected to improve and create the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS technical manuals or guides or to the private sector.

CIG is used to apply or demonstrate previously proven technology.  It does not fund research projects.  CIG is an effort to address some of the state's most pressing natural resource conservation needs.  CIG is a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

For FY 2015, Arkansas NRCS will consider offering grants in the following areas: nutrient and sediment reduction in impaired watersheds; environmental markets for water; high tunnels; organic; invasive species; irrigation; energy-irrigation; livestock watering; soil health; and adoption of cover crops in rice rotations.  Applications should be for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years.

Selected applicants may receive grants up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Individual grant awards may not exceed $75,000 in FY 2015.  Applicants must provide non-federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost.  Of the non-federal matching funds, a minimum of 25 percent must be from cash contributions; the remaining 25 percent may come from in-kind contribution.

The announcement for this CIG funding opportunity can be found at: www.grants.gov. The announcement number is USDA-NRCS-CIG-AR-15-001.

Funds will be awarded through a full proposal statewide competitive grants process.  Applications must be entered into either grants.gov or received in hard copy at the Arkansas NRCS State Office by 5 p.m., Central Daylight Time (CDT) June, 15, 2015. 

NRCS anticipates announcing CIG selections on or around July 1, 2015, and awarding all grants on or around Aug. 1, 2015. However, NRCS will not distribute any funds, and grantees cannot begin work until the parties execute an appropriate CIG agreement. 

Arkansas NRCS will not announce publicly the approved 2015 CIG recipients until after the National 2015 CIG recipients have been announced.

For more information on CIG contact Lori Barker, state CIG program manager, at (870) 523-8986 or lori.barker@ar.usda.gov.  The request for proposals and related forms are located at www.grants.gov.