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News Release

USDA grants available to spur innovative conservation technologies in Rhode Island

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer
cell: 413-835-1276

Conservation Innovation Grants

WARWICK, RI, March 25, 2021 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces up to $160,000 of funding available in Rhode Island for eligible individuals, local and state governments, non-governmental organizations and tribes through Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). These grants are intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection.

The deadline to submit an application for CIG is 11:59 pm EDT on May 18, 2021. To apply, visit for the 2021 Announcement of Program Funding, funding opportunity number USDA-NRCS-RI-CIG-21-NOFO0001075.

“Conservation Innovation Grants are critical for developing science, technology and innovative tools to address natural resource concerns on Rhode Island’s private working lands,” said R. Phou Vongkhamdy, Rhode Island State Conservationist for NRCS. “The overall goal is to incorporate new innovations into NRCS technical manuals and make them available to the agricultural community.”

Projects must be within Rhode Island and in conjunction with agricultural production. They may be area-based or statewide in scope. Applicants submitting proposals may request up to $150,000 of matching federal funds. The funding floor for a single award is $10,000 and the funding ceiling for a single award is $150,000. CIG recipients must provide a non-federal funding match at least equal to the amount of federal funding requested. The non-federal match can be cash, in-kind or a combination of both.

The proposal must involve Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) eligible producers and should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource concern in one of the following categories: aquatic resources and wildlife, urban farms, water quality and quantity, soil health, and improved energy efficiency.

These grants do not fund research projects. The program is designed to aid the adoption of measures that have been sufficiently studied to indicate a high likelihood of success.

The Conservation Innovation Grants at the state level build on our national program and enable NRCS to better address natural resource concerns at the local level. For example, one Rhode Island CIG project expanded summer cover crops to improve soil and water quality on RI farms by using Japanese millet, teff, and mustard as cover crops can effectively build soil health and meet weed suppression standards in Rhode Island’s climate.  Another project improved habitat for priority species in Rhode Island by providing recommendations for improving the NRCS practice standards and jobsheets for early successional habitat.

To learn more about Conservation Innovations Grants visit the CIG webpage.