The Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.
CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers CIG. The CIG requires a 50-50 match between the agency and the applicant.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Alternative Tile Intakes (ATIs) in 3 Representative Regions of Iowa
Demonstrate the effectiveness of ATIs in different regions of Iowa, both as a standalone practice and in conjunction with Water-Sediment Control Basins and Terraces; and
Simulate ATI implementation in conjunction with other BMPs over a range of field conditions and management scenarios at the HUC-12 scale.
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Contract Grazing Cover Crops: Demonstrating Benefits for Both Row-Crop and Cattle Farmers
This project will 1) demonstrate feasibility of contract grazing cover crops; 2) show economics pertaining to both row crop and livestock farmer profitability; 3) conduct soil health analysis in control and treatment plots on each demonstration farm with the goal of documenting soil health differences correlated to the integration of cattle.
Practical Farmers of Iowa
Reducing Cover Crop Costs and Maintaining Cover Crop and Cash Crop Productivity
Generate relevant, credible, third-party information on strategies that reduce cereal rye cover crop seed costs with on-farm conservation research trials using farm scale equipment.
Inform potential changes to NRCS, IDALS, and others’ recommended cover crop practices as a result of knowledge generated by the on-farm conservation research trials.
Iowa State University
Field testing and demonstration of a modified woodchip bioreactor designed for phosphorus and bacteria removal
The goal of this project is to evaluate and demonstrate the removal of N, P, and E. coli in woodchip bioreactors designed with secondary treatment for P removal. We will achieve this goal through installing monitoring ports at multiple locations in two new bioreactors, designed and installed in collaboration with Iowa NRCS.
Northeast Iowa RC&D
Understanding and demonstrating multi-cropping in eastern Iowa
Introduce multi-cropping management systems as an option to help achieve the goals of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
Iowa State University
Evaluation and Enhancement of Saturated Buffers as a Conservation Drainage Practice for Agriculture Subsurface Drainage Treatment
To improve the understanding of the function of saturated buffer, aid in their design, and assist in further adoption, the proposed research will address the following objectives:
1. Conduct literature review and field investigations of saturated buffers in Iowa.
2. Develop a model of groundwater flow using both MODFLOW and SEEP/W.
3. Develop a probabilistic model for slope stability analysis for saturated buffers using SLOPE/W.
4. Compare field measurements for Iowa saturated buffer installation sites with groundwater and slope stability model results.
5. Investigate relationship between groundwater flow, depth of stream channel, and distance from streambed to distribution pipe on the slope stability and erosion susceptibility of the streambed face.
6. Develop design guidelines for implementation of saturated buffers in locations with greater than 8 ft. (2.4 m) of incised channel depth.
7. Identify and recommend stability and slope armoring techniques to mitigate risk of channel bank erosion and failure.
Pollinator Plus: Creating a Buzz
This project will create a dynamic and effective training program to enhance the knowledge base of retail crop specialists on the opportunities and resources available to establish high quality pollinator and wildlife habitat. This project will work with landowners and others to establish high quality demonstration plantings that will show how to establish pollinator plantings. Through field days, partners and landowners will benefit from direct knowledge transfer facilitated by first hand learning, having the opportunity to ask questions, and seeing results immediately.
The CIG state component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. Participating states will announce their funding availability for CIG competitions through their state NRCS offices. For additional information about State CIG competitions, contact Marty Adkins.
A CIG funding notice is announced each year. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. Projects may be watershed-based, regional, multi-state or nationwide in scope. The natural resource concerns eligible for funding through CIG will be identified in the funding announcement and may change annually to focus on new and emerging, high priority natural resource concerns.
H.R.2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014
Subtitle C—Environmental Quality Incentives Program
SEC. 2207. CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANTS AND PAYMENTS
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Projects Through the National Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Program
USDA-NRCS has reserved $10 million of EQIP financial assistance (FA) to support projects where eligible producers will implement GHG benefiting conservation practices that complement and support the GHG-CIG projects. Agricultural producers located in approved CIG project areas - including Iowa - may be eligible to submit applications to help implement GHG-related conservation practices. In addition, applicants must meet producer, land, and other EQIP eligibility requirements.