The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced that the agency will award more than $22.6 million to drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. The agency is investing in 33 projects nationwide through its competitive Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which helps develop the tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. Public and private grantees – including non-governmental organizations, American Indian tribes, academic institutions and local government entities – will leverage the federal investment by at least matching it.
The projects announced today focus on conservation finance and pay-for-success models to stimulate conservation adoption; data analytics for natural resources; water management technologies and approaches; and historically underserved farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners. The 2017 CIG awards bring the total NRCS investment to nearly $286.7 million for 711 projects since 2004.
“The Conservation Innovation Grant program is an example of government at its best, providing seed money to help spur cutting-edge projects,” said NRCS Acting Chief Leonard Jordan. “This year’s competition resulted in an impressive array of proposals that will ultimately benefit the people who grow our food and fiber.”
The National Audubon Society’s Conservation Ranching Program, for example, pairs private landowners with local ecologists who guide them through sustainable grazing and management practices that support…
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