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News Release

USDA to Invest Nearly $2M in Tools and Technologies to Support Conservation Innovation in Pennsylvania

Molly Rose

HARRISBURG, PA, December 23, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $2 million in grants to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation, in Pennsylvania.

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.

“These projects are tackling some of our most critical challenges, such as improving the quality of our water and forestlands, both here in Pennsylvania and across the country, said NRCS State Conservationist Denise Coleman. “This work will result in new science-based tools to help producers improve the sustainability of their operations and protect our natural resources for current and future generations.”

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 across the nation for CIG awards, totaling $12.5 million. The following projects will benefit Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State University (PA) - $299,171 - Spectrally-Selective Solar Films for Operational Energy Conservation of Urban Greenhouses

Penn State University will save operational energy and extend the growing season of greenhouses and high tunnels using unique nanotechnology-based solar films that can be applied to existing high tunnel structures. The project will demonstrate and evaluate the S3 nanotechnology-based films that generate solar visible light benefits and provide thermal mitigation, producing a cooler high tunnel environment in the summer and a warmer environment in the winter.

Greenprint Partners (IL, PA) - $974,097 - Unlocking the value of green infrastructure incentive programs for urban agriculture by leveraging private and public investment

Greenprint Partners will pilot a green stormwater infrastructure program targeted to urban farmers, developing and publicizing a series of best practices to establish a scalable model for cities to co-locate green stormwater infrastructure BMPs on their urban agriculture land. The proposal demonstrates the potential for collocating green stormwater infrastructure practices and urban agriculture operations to improve water, soil, and energy conservation as well as create and enhance pollinator habitats and increase productivity.

American Forest Foundation (MD, PA, VA, WV) - $700,000 - Piloting the Family Forest Carbon Program in the Central Appalachian Region

American Forest Foundation (AFF) will pilot an innovative carbon accounting system to unlock carbon markets for small, privately-owned forest plots. By partnering with The Nature Conservancy and Terra Carbon, among others, AFF plans to develop a practice-based approach to carbon accounting and test it with family foresters in the Central Appalachian region.

For a full list of award recipients or to learn more, visit the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage.