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Conservation Innovation Grants

CIG Web Asset



The Conservation Innovation Grant (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. These projects may be watershed-based, regional, or statewide in scope.

  • A CIG funding notice is announced each year. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, are awarded through a competitive grants process.
  • The latest CIG success stories can be found on the USDA Blog.
  • Follow the link to access the searchable prior years funded national and state CIGs projects database: National CIG Search.

National CIG Competition

  • National CIG Application Packages Submissions – Closed

NRCS offered a funding opportunity to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production.

  • 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
  • Follow the link to obtain information on the National CIG Program, NRCS nationally-administered CIG grant program.

California CIG Competition

  • California CIG Application Packages Due  May 8, 2020

The CIG state component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. The intent of the CIG state competition is to provide flexibility to NRCS State Conservationists to target CIG funds to individual producers and smaller organizations that may possess promising innovations, but may not compete well on the larger scale of the national grants competition.

2020 California CIG Recipients


Project Title

Grant Amount

University of California Santa Barbara

Developing cost-effective and transferable tools for assessing the benefit of downed wood to amphibian and reptile populations.


Resource Conservation District of Santa
Cruz County

“Use of co-composted biochar as a soil amendment to improve soil health, water and nitrogen management on intensive vegetable crop rotations in California.”


Wild Farm Alliance

Creating Technical Resources to Assist NRCS Planners with Plant Selection and Habitat Implementation for Beneficial Birds on Farms.


The Nature Conservancy/

Demonstrating and scaling innovative conservation approaches and technologies that balance the water needs of people with nature in California.


The Freshwater Trust

Optimizing Stormwater Capture on Agricultural Lands for Groundwater Sustainability: A Transferable System
for Basin-level Planning and Site-level Prioritization of NRCS Practices.



Developing a satellite verification methodology for prescriptive grazing
in vineyard systems.



Who May Apply for CIG -

  • State and Local Government Entities
  • Tribal Entities
  • Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Individuals

Projects must involve producers who meet the EQIP eligibility requirements set forth in § 1466.6(b)(1) through (3). - EQIP Eligibility Requirements

  • Selection will be based on the FY 2020 CIG Program criteria - More Info
  • Selected applicants may receive grants of up to 50 percent of the total project cost, NOT to exceed $125,000.
  • Applicants must provide non-Federal funding EQUAL to the amount of Federal Funds requested. Non-Federal Funds must be derived from cash and/or in-kind sources, Matching Funds must be secured at the time of application

How To Apply

To apply, follow the requirements in the California CIG Announcement:

  • Applications MUST be submitted electronically through
  • In addition, a PDF of the complete application must be emailed to
  • Both submissions must be received by the submission due date, May 8, 2020 by 5 PM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).
  • See section D of the CIG announcement for more information regarding how to submit an application.
  • Required documents and instructions are available on

Interested applicants must submit a complete application package consisting of the documents below:

  1. Project Abstract
  2. Application for Federal Assistance (SF-424)
  3. Project Narrative
  4. Assessment of Environmental Impacts
  5. Budget Information
  6. Indirect Costs
  7. Matching
  8. List of Previous CIG Awards (if applicable)
  9. Certifications
  10. Letters of Support

Program Contact

RaeAnn Dubay, Program Manager
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Davis State Office, California
Phone: 530-792-5653



Updated: 01/05/2021