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News Release

USDA Awards OSU Funds to Improve Native Plant Communities and Livestock Production


News Release #: 2018-08-041

Loren Unruh, Leader for Programs
Phone: 503-414-3235, Email:  

Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer

PORTLAND, Ore. – (August 6, 2018) – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) in the amount of $74,779 to Oregon State University (OSU) to promote the establishment of native plant communities on working agricultural lands.

OSU’s OregonFlora program will determine best practices for selecting and integrating native plant species into grazing lands. They will track the viability of native plant species in various grazing conditions to identify species compatible with livestock production. Benefits of native plants include improved soil health and hydrology, as well as an extended grazing season.

“A wide array of groups are driving innovation with cutting-edge projects as part of the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grant program,” said Ron Alvarado, Oregon state conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “OSU’s work to restore Oregon’s native plant communities will not only improve soil health across the state, but also strengthen livestock production.”

The project will further enhance OregonFlora’s digital resources, including an interactive mapping program that tracks plant distributions across the state.  

Nationwide, NRCS is investing in 22 CIG projects valued at more than $10.6 million to drive public and private sector innovation in natural resource conservation. Projects for this fiscal year focus on grazing lands, organic agriculture systems and soil health.  This year’s grants bring the total USDA investment to more than $297 million for 732 projects since 2004.

Read and download the full list of this fiscal year’s selected projects or view the list through our interactive map.

CIG is funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The maximum grant is $2 million per project, and the length of time for project completion is three years. The CIG projects are designed to engage EQIP-eligible producers in on-the-ground conservation activities that speed up the transfer and adoption of innovative conservation technologies and approaches. The NRCS uses CIG to work with other public and private entities to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.


The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial and technical assistance to voluntary farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to implement conservation practices on private lands. By working collectively with partners and stakeholders, NRCS helps maintain healthy and productive working landscapes, benefitting both environmental and agricultural needs. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).