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NRCS offers Conservation Innovation Grants


The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced the availability of up to $500,000 for proposed projects in Colorado through the 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants Program.

Applications must be received by 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on April 1. The announcement for this CIG funding opportunity can be found on the following websites: www.grants.gov or www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/CIG/cig.htm.

Individual applications will be awarded through a statewide competitive grants process for improving conservation practices in Colorado. Applications will be accepted from eligible entities, including Federally-recognized Indian Tribes, State and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years. Grants under the Colorado state component will not exceed $75,000 from NRCS.

"These grants provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate new conservation technologies that will address one or more of the six priority natural resource concern areas in Colorado. The focus for 2011 will be Atmospheric Resources, Grazing Land, Forest Health, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Wetlands and Wildlife Habitat," said John Knapp, area conservationist, La Junta, Colo.

The purpose of CIG, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, is 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.

Selected applicants may receive grants of up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Applicants must provide non-Federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost, of which up to 50 percent may be from in-kind contributions.

An exception regarding matching funds is made for projects funded that benefit beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, and Indian Tribes. Seventy-five percent of the required matching funds for such projects may be derived from in-kind contributions to help these entities meet the statutory requirements for receiving a CIG.

All applications must be sent to USDA-NRCS c/o Jodi Hastings, Resource Conservationist, Denver Federal Center, Building 56, Room 2604, PO Box 25426, Denver, CO 80225. Electronic applications, which are encouraged, can be e-mailed to colakewood.nrcsprograms@co.usda.gov and received no later than April 1 by 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

For additional information on CIG, please contact Hastings at 720-544-2821 or jodi.hastings@co.usda.gov.

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