Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests - ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat.
Who Is Eligible?
National and State CIG – all non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers.
How To Apply
A CIG funding notice is announced each year. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, are 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 are identified in the funding announcement and may change annually to focus on new and emerging, high priority natural resource concerns.
The CIG state component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. Participating states announce their funding availability for CIG competitions through their state NRCS offices. For additional information about State CIG competitions, please contact your State NRCS office.
On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials
Newly authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, On-Farm Trials supports more widespread adoption of innovative approaches, practices and systems on working lands. On-Farm Trials projects feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches. The Soil Health Demo Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. Eligible entities receiving SHD awards agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the impacts of practice and system implementation. Learn more about On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials.
The Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the availability of CIG to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Applications are accepted from eligible entities for projects carried out in the state of Iowa. A total of up to $500,000.00 is available for CIG in FY 2019. All non-federal entities (NFE) and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of federal agencies. Projects may be between one and three years in duration. The maximum award amount for a single award in FY 2019 is $75,000.
CIG funds the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of:
Approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption, including market-based and conservation finance approaches; and
Conservation technologies, practices and systems.
Projects or activites under CIG must comply with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project; and
Use a technology or approach that was studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;
Demonstrate, evaluate, and verify the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field;
Adapt and transfer conservation technologies, management, practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption;
Introduce proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use.
APPLICATIONS DUE DATE: Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time on May 27, 2019. Applicants must submit proposals via e-mail to the following address: to Judy Martinson at Judy.Martinson@ia.usda.gov with a cc to Carolyn Christian at Carolyn.Christian@ia.usda.gov.
Incomplete and/or non-compliant proposals will be eliminated from competition, and notification of elimination will be sent to the applicant.
CIG Priorities for FY 2019
Water Quality and Quantity
Refer to the CIG announcement for additional details on CIG Priorities
Please note that the sample budgets are to assist the user in completing their internal budget. The spreadsheet format of these budgets are not allowable in any part of the proposal or budget narrative.
Proposals must be submitted through email to Judy Martinson at email@example.com. Please cc Carolyn Christian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note in the message line of the email: FY19 CIG [organization name] [proposal name]. You are encouraged to keep the name of your proposal short. Proposal package must be emailed as one document. Compressed (i.e. zipped) files are discouraged.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
210 Walnut Street, Room 693
Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: (515) 323-2229
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.
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.