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News Release

NRCS Partners in California Receive Funding for Conservation Innovations

David Sanden (530) 691-5847
Amber Till (530) 792-5603

DAVIS, Calif., August 21, 2019 – This year, six Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) projects were selected for funding. Project approval was awarded to five different organizations that received a combined $450,000.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers CIG as part of its Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS uses CIG to invest in innovative conservation technologies and approaches with the goal of wide-scale adoption to address natural resource issues.

“These grants will help spur creativity and problem-solving on California’s farms and ranches,” said Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for NRCS in California. "Successes in the Conservation Innovation Grant program provide new opportunities to help resolve pressing conservation challenges and leverage new investments in conservation partnerships with farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders."

CIG grants awarded are as follows:

  • The University of California will work with small grain producers to demonstrate and facilitate best nitrogen fertilizer management practices.
  • Land Trust of Napa County will study the effects of fuels-reduction prescribed grazing on plant communities in oak woodland habitats.
  • American Farmland Trust will develop a framework for decision making to prioritize water infiltration and farmland protection projects for conservation resilience in the San Joaquin Valley and other areas of California.
  • The University of California will gather data to address key questions related to water quality impacts of swine grazing and develop best management practices for these types of operations. 
  • Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation will seek to increase adoption of Bee Better Certified (BBC) label specific to vineyards.  
  • California Deer Association will study the feasibility of using Thermal Imaging drone technology to rescue and relocate deer and pronghorn fawns and elk calves thereby reducing wildlife mortality.  

More information on CIG can be found at

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit