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Conservation Innovation Grants

CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANTS

NEW: Latest South Carolina State Conservation Innovation Grant Sign-Up, FY2022

NRCS is providing CIG funding to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. Eligible  entities can submit applications through Grants.gov for projects carried out in the State of South Carolina. $500,000 is available for the South Carolina CIG competition in FY 2022. 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 2022 is $250,000.
The sign-up shall commence March 16 2022 and the sign-up deadline is May 25, 2022. The FY 22 South Carolina Notice of Funding Opportunity can be accessed by clicking here.

There are two webinars scheduled to assist you with the process: April 6, at 10 a.m.; and April 6, at 1p.m. Email Terence Kelly, terry.kelly@usda.gov to attend.
(For technical issues with Grants.gov, contact Grants.gov Applicant Support at 1-800- 518-4726 or support@grants.gov.)


Benefits:

CIG accelerates technology development and transfer, and the adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns; projects often result in production and operational benefits as well. NRCS identifies successful projects for potential integration of technologies and approaches into NRCS’ toolkit of conservation practices.

Eligibility:

CIG applications are accepted from state or local governments, federally recognized American Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations and individuals in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands areas.

Conservation approaches or technologies must be sufficiently studied to indicate a likelihood of success to be considered likely candidates for technology transfer. CIG funds innovative on-the-ground conservation projects, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. Proposed projects must conform to the description of innovative conservation projects or activities published in the funding notice. For example, technologies and approaches commonly used in the geographic area covered by the application, and which are eligible for EQIP funding, are not eligible for funding through CIG.

At least 50 percent of the total project cost must come from non-federal matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions) provided by the grantee. The grantee is also responsible for providing the technical assistance required to successfully complete the project. NRCS will provide technical oversight for each project receiving an award.

Proposed projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers. CIG funds provided directly or indirectly to producers are counted toward a producer’s EQIP payment limitation.

How to Apply:

National CIG: 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 proposals on new and emerging high priority natural resource issues.

Applications should describe the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource conservation concern or concerns. Applications are evaluated by a technical peer review panel against criteria identified in the funding notice. Evaluated applications are forwarded to an NRCS Grants Review Board which makes recommendations to the NRCS Chief for final selection. Awards are made through a grant agreement.
Contact the National CIG Program Manager at nrcscig@wdc.usda.gov. or use this link to access the national webpage for additional information:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/.

FY 22 South Carolina NRCS State CIG: The FY 22 state CIG shall emphasize projects that benefit a limited geographic area. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed, or statewide in scope. The proposals submitted should support the overall objective CIG with a focus on:

1.    Innovation in farming systems, technology, testing, outreach and partnership for improving or maintaining soil health,
2.    Innovation in high tunnel technologies,
3.    Treatment measures to address the in-stream loading of excess nutrients and sediments from legacy sediments trapped by historic millpond dams,
4.    Using innovative, holistic strategies for enhancing forage production, and integrating cropland/grazing land systems, introducing annuals/perennials
5.    Using traditional or advanced technology to facilitate  establishment/management of forages on land not typically accessible to traditional management equipment.

South Carolina is requesting proposals in FY 22 to address one or more of the state priorities below:

1.    Water Quality: Water quality activities shall focus on projects that focus on innovative tools, technologies, and approaches that address the core conservation practices in any watershed in South Carolina. The proposal should focus on assessing optional use of enhanced fertilizer products compared to traditional fertilizer products, consider precision application of pesticides. Projects may include a demonstration component consisting of a management system that is information and technology based, site specific and uses one or more of the following sources of data: soils, crops, nutrients, pests, moisture, or yield, for optimum profitability, sustainability, and protection of the environment.

2.    Soil Health: Proposals shall focus on projects that demonstrate innovative tools, technologies, and approaches to improve soil health on cropland and pastureland in any watershed in South Carolina. Each proposal shall include the use of In-Field Soil Health Assessment Guides ensure that the tool is relevant to South Carolina, to determine which indicators are most likely to provide useful resource concern assessment information for the climate, soils, and cropping system in SC. Projects should assess how soil changes with specific management changes and monitor changes in soil health by implementing a sustainable set of practices.

3.    Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry: Proposals should demonstrate, apply, and evaluate innovative tools, technologies, and approaches that deliver on climate outcomes and decarbonization goals for the purpose of Greenhouse Gas emission reductions, carbon sequestration, and promotion of green energy. The proposal shall include processes such as assessment methods, monitoring, data collection and tools to quantify and verify decarbonization. The project design shall include benchmark conditions to evaluate climate benefits as a result of planned and implemented mitigation activities. Proposals are applicable statewide for this priority.

The FY 22 SC CIG NFO is located at this link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=cig

CONTACT: Terence Kelly, State Resource Conservationist (803) 765-5685