Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Arlen Lancaster  has announced the availability of program funding for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)  for fiscal year 2009. The CIG program is designed to stimulate the development and adoption  of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.

 “CIG projects can help keep us at the leading edge of building sustainable communities,” said Lancaster. “This competitive grant program helps us advance environmental goals that also contribute to and protect local economies.” 

The Department of Agriculture’s NRCS administers CIG. For 2009, up to $20 million is available for the National CIG competition. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. 

Among CIG categories are: 

  • Natural Resource Concerns Category: Up to $5 million is available for proposals addressing one or more of the CIG natural resource concerns. This category has been offered since 2004. 
  • Technology Category: Up to $6 million is available for proposals addressing one or more of the CIG technology categories. This category was offered for the first time in 2006.  

  • Grant Leveraging Category: Up to $4 million to pilot the leveraging of CIG grants projects that provide further grants that align with the purposes of CIG. This is the first year  CIG offers this category. 

Applicants should explain the geographic area that the project would benefit and describe the innovative technologies or approaches used to address the natural resource conservation  concern. Other requirements are identified in the Announcement of Program Funding.  

Applications must be received in the NRCS National Headquarters by close of business March 2.  Applications should be sent to: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Conservation Innovation Grants Program; Financial Assistance Programs Division, Room 5239-S; 1400  Independence Ave, SW; Washington, DC 20250. 

To view the complete Announcement of Program Funding, visit

To apply electronically visit: For more information about NRCS conservation
programs online, visit:, or visit the nearest USDA Service Center in your area.  

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