USDA offering grants to improve water, air quality

Posted: Monday, February 28, 2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals for grants to improve water quality, air quality and promote energy conservation. Up to $350,000 will be available through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program to address natural resource concerns within Alaska.

Successful applicants will demonstrate their projects use innovative, on-the-ground conservation approaches and technologies. Funds will be awarded through a statewide competitive grants process with applications being accepted from across Alaska. Applications will be accepted from all eligible individuals, non-federal governments and non-governmental organizations, including federally recognized tribes and private businesses.

A two-phase competitive process will be used. Applicants are required to submit a one-page pre-proposal by March 11 in the first phase. The second requires only those applicants selected during the pre-proposal phase to submit a full application package.

All proposed CIG projects must involve producers who are eligible for NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which offers financial and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation practices on agricultural land. The producers are not required to have a contract in EQIP, only to be eligible.

The federal contribution for a single project cannot exceed $75,000. At least 50 percent of the total cost of the project must come from non-federal matching funds provided by the grantee. Tribes, historically underserved groups and beginning limited resource farmers and ranchers are eligible to use up to 75 percent in-kind contributions to meet the required 50 percent total match. Grants are available for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years. Proposed projects must comply with the description of innovative conservation projects or activities established in the announcement for program funding (APF).

A pre-proposal template is provided at

Pre-proposals and applications can be submitted via e-mail to, online at or by mail to Helen Denniston, State Resource Conservationist, USDA NRCS, 800 West Evergreen, Suite 100, Palmer, AK 99645.

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