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News Release

USDA Funds Conservation Innovation in California and Nationally with $12.5M in Grants for New Tools and Technologies

Anita Brown (530) 601-6139
RaeAnn Dubay (530) 792- 5653                                                                                     

DAVIS, Calif., December 19, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants nationally to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation, including two California projects and two multi-state projects that include California.

The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“California has unique needs and superb conservation partnerships. These projects give us a great opportunity to tackle issues like habitat, soil health and water management and build on successful partnership approaches,” said NRCS state conservationist Carlos Suarez. “This work will result in new science-based tools to help producers improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption. NRCS selected 19 projects for CIG awards.

California Projects Receiving National CIG Funding

California Rice Commission (CA)
The Pacific Flyway Wildlife Program
The program intends to enroll 10,000 acres of bird habitat by 2022, working with farmers to make the habitat available during critical migration periods. The project includes an initiative to design a sustainable funding strategy to support implementation of the program over the long term.

Perennial Farming Initiative (CA)
Restore California and Healthy Soil Carbon Fund
A consumer-driven complement to California’s Healthy Soils Program, creating a framework that connects food consumers with ag producers to incentivize the adoption of conservation practices and systems.

Multi-state projects

Oklahoma State University (OK, MS, UT, CA)
Innovative Technologies for Water Conservation in Flood Irrigation Systems
A project to improve water conservation in flood irrigation systems and evaluate social dimensions of conservation adoption.

University of Hawaii (HI, CA, NE, MP, GU)
Forecasting daily reference evapotranspiration and rainfall for water resources conservation and sustainable agriculture
A project to demonstrate use of an innovative artificial neural network approach to more accurately forecast daily evapotranspiration and rainfall.

For a full list of national award recipients or to learn more, visit the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage. CIG grants are also funded on the state level. California’s 2019 CIG grants can be found here