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News Release

USDA Announces More than $1.5 Million in Conservation Innovation for Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Pennsylvania

Noel Soto

HARRISBURG, PA, September 15, 2017 - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Pennsylvania announces more than $1.5 million for six demonstration projects designed to decrease agricultural nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Funding comes through the NRCS’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Through CIG, grantees develop and encourage adoption of next-generation conservation practices and market-based solutions to resource challenges. Grantees provide matching funds for their projects.

"Through Conservation Innovation Grant projects, our many partners work with local producers to demonstrate new approaches, technologies and tools that will drive continued progress in the Chesapeake Bay watershed," said Denise Coleman, NRCS Pennsylvania State Conservationist.

CIG Awardees and Projects

  • Penn State University - Retrofitting the roadside ditch network to treat nitrogen from agricultural runoff using woodchip bioreactors in Bradford County, Pennsylvania
  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay - Dairy-led healthy streams initiative: a Lancaster County demonstration
  • Bradford County Conservation District - Innovative cattle heavy use area protection using wood chip surface
  • Sustainable Chesapeake - Reducing air emissions from on-farm poultry litter-fueled energy systems
  • American Farmland Trust - Women landowners for conservation and water quality in Pennsylvania
  • Water Science Institute - Legacy sediment 2.0: enhanced mapping and decision support tool

These projects complement the recent national CIG award of $415,000 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for a pay-for-success pilot project, which will explore new ways to attract private capital for agriculture-based conservation practices that will satisfy stormwater pollution reduction requirements of urban and suburban municipalities. The "PA Offset Partnerships" project will be the first of its kind pay-for-success investment in agricultural practices.

“The Conservation Innovation Grant program is an example of government at its best, providing seed money to help spur cutting-edge projects,” said NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan.

Learn more about the NRCS CIG program at: