The summary for the Opportunity USDA-NRCS-SD-11-01 Federal Grant is detailed below.
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I. FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTIONA. Legislative AuthorityThe Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) was authorized as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) [16 U.S.C. 3839aa-8] under Section 2509 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-246). The Secretary of Agriculture delegated the authority for the administration of EQIP and CIG to the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), who is Vice President of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). EQIP is funded and administered by NRCS under the authorities of the CCC.B. OverviewThe purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, while leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches into NRCS policy, technical manuals, guides, and references or to the private sector. CIG does not fund research projects. Projects intended to formulate hypothesis do not qualify. CIG is intended to apply proven technology which has been shown to work previously. It is a vehicle to stimulate the development and adoption of conservation approaches or technologies that have been studied sufficiently to indicate a likelihood of success, and to be candidates for eventual technology transfer or institutionalization. CIG promotes sharing of skills, knowledge, technologies, and facilities among communities, governments, and other institutions to ensure that scientific and technological developments are accessible to a wider range of users. CIG funds projects targeting innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations.A two-phase evaluation process will be utilized for applications submitted under this notice. The first phase requires the applicant to submit a pre-proposal. Applications will be evaluated by NRCS staff in South Dakota under the bulleted topics identified by the applicant (see section I.D). Applications will be screened for completeness and compliance with the provisions of this notice. Incomplete applications will be eliminated from competition and notification of elimination will be mailed to the applicant.NRCS in South Dakota will accept applications for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years, submitted to NRCS from eligible entities including federally recognized Indian tribes, State and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations and individuals. Applications will be accepted from eligible applicants within South Dakota.NRCS will request a full proposal package only from those applicants selected in the pre-proposal process. Complete applications received by applicable deadlines will be evaluated by a technical peer review panel based on the Criteria for Application Evaluation identified in the application instructions in section VI.B.Applications with technically-based recommendations from the peer review groups will be forwarded to the South Dakota Grants Review Board. The South Dakota Grants Review Board will make recommendations for project approval to the South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist, who will make the final selection(s).C. Innovative Conservation Projects or ActivitiesFor the purposes of CIG, the proposed innovative project or activity must encompass the development, field testing, evaluation, implementation, and monitoring of:- Conservation adoption approaches or incentive systems; or - Promising conservation technologies, practices, systems, procedures, or approaches; and- Environmental soundness with goals of environmental protection and natural resource enhancement. To be given priority consideration, the innovative project or activity should:- Make use of a proven technology or a technology that has been studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;- Demonstrate and verify environmental (soil, water, air, plants, energy use, and animal) effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of conservation technology in the field;- Adapt conservation technologies, practices, systems, procedures, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption; - Introduce conservation systems, approaches, and procedures from another geographic area or agricultural sector; and- Adapt conservation technology, management, or incentive systems to improve performance; and- Demonstrate transferability of knowledge. D. State ComponentFor FY 2011, applications for projects directly affecting Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, Limited Resource Farmers or Ranchers, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers or Ranchers, and Indian tribes or eligible entities servicing Beginning, Limited Resource, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers or Ranchers, and Indian tribes are encouraged. In addition, NRCS in South Dakota would like to award at least one grant for a high quality proposal that is submitted by, or directly affects Beginning Farmers or Ranchers. Pre-proposals must identify the most appropriate bulleted topic that the innovation/technology is addressing.1. State Component CategoriesOnly pre-proposals that demonstrate the use of innovative technologies and/or approaches to address at least one bulleted topic listed below will be considered.a. Nutrient Management and Drainage Water ManagementPrimary Resource Concern: Water Quality (Nutrients - Nitrogen and Phosphorus)Priority Efforts: Water Management, Vegetative or Structural Practices, and ManagementArea(s) of Consideration: All areas within the state of South Dakota that contribute to the Missouri River Basin.Water Management- Demonstrate effects of implementing drainage water management at watershed scale including management techniques to reduce annual and Spring nitrate loads (cost per pound of reduction) to downstream receiving waters and assess effects on phosphorus.- Demonstrate and evaluate bioreactors (size and type(s)) to support development of conservation practice standards to address nitrogen removal in drainage tile lines.- Demonstrate treatment effectiveness and efficiency (cost per pound of reduction) of nitrogen contaminants in runoff or drainage water using innovative practices including: (1) bioreactors, (2) constructed wetlands, (3) drainage water management, and (4) saturated flow through tree/shrub buffers/riparian areas.- Demonstrate innovative drainage water management for surface or sub-surface drainage systems that improve acceptance and adoption by producers, documents benefits to producers, increases lands that drainage water management is suitable for, and incorporates drainage water management with other conservation practices for an effective system of nutrient and water management.- Demonstrate innovative field scale methods to monitor drainage water management system performance, including nitrate-nitrogen concentrations and flow rates, with an emphasis on simple and cost effective tests and measurements within the capability of producers.Vegetative Practices- Demonstrate the efficacy of reconnecting subsurface drainage to interflow through herbaceous and riparian buffers, for enhanced de-nitrification of shallow ground water.b. Pest Management Control in Organic Production Systems for Improved Soil QualityPrimary Resource Concern: Water Quality (Pesticides - Surface and Groundwater); Soil Condition (Organic matter depletion and compaction).Priority Efforts: Sustainable and Organic Agriculture - Technology Needs and Field Data for Conservation PlanningArea(s) of Consideration: All areas within the state of South Dakota.Sustainable and Organic AgricultureTechnology Needs- Develop and demonstrate technology that uses an integrated pest management system (IPM) involving mechanical, cultural and biological control methods used in an organic system to provide erosion control, crop nutrients, and pest control throughout the rotation.- Develop and demonstrate technology to determine crops or crop sequences that suppress or control specific pests (weeds, insects, diseases) in rotation.- Determine and demonstrate the proper rate, timing, and method(s) of application for organically approved pest control amendments.- Determine and demonstrate harvesting times and techniques that may minimize pest damage organic commodity.- Develop and/or demonstrate the technology to determine the amount (acres) of habitat required to provide adequate pest control, matching plant species to attract desirable beneficial insect species, and managing habitat to provide pest control during the cropping season.- Develop and demonstrate technology to determine how cover crops can be used in an organic system to provide erosion control, crop nutrients, and pest control for the next crop in rotation and other ecosystem benefits.- Demonstrate conservation systems for organic specialty crops using seasonal high tunnels involving crop rotations, cover crops, conservation tillage, nutrient management, pest management, and irrigation systems.- Demonstrate conservation systems to include crop rotations, cover crops, organic mulches, conservation tillage, etc. in lieu of plastic mulches or fabric.Field Data for Conservation Planning- Produce new informational documents for incorporating beneficial insect and pollinator habitat into the farm landscape to implement biological pest management strategies in organic systems.c. Wetland Mitigation Banking SpecificationsTo achieve effective wetland mitigation using a market-based approach, only proposals establishing a wetland mitigation bank when the purpose of the wetland conversion is solely for the production of an agriculture commodity will be considered. The wetland mitigation bank shall only include wetland impacts requiring wetland mitigation in accordance with the 1985 Food Security Act, as amended. Wetland mitigation associated specifically with non-agriculture use (i.e. future development or non-commodity production) is specifically precluded. Wetland impacts requiring wetland mitigation associated with the Clean Water Act (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit) are not eligible for this proposal. Primary Resource Concern: No Net Loss of Wetlands in accordance with the Wetland Conservation provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act, as amended.Priority Efforts: Establish wetland mitigation bank and banking instrument.Area(s) of Consideration: All areas within the state of South Dakota that contribute to the Missouri River Basin.Wetland Mitigation Bank- Demonstrate the effectiveness of developing an approach to the trading of wetland credits for the compensation of lost wetland functions, acres, and values for agriculture use only.- Demonstrate that the wetland mitigation bank, banking instrument and overall process are user-friendly and simple to implement. Additional requirements:o The wetland mitigation bank must include individual sites for pothole and floodplain depression impacts. The Hydrogeomorphic wetland assessment (HGM) classification for pothole is DEPRESSIONAL, Upland Basins (pothole); and for floodplain depression is RIVERINE, Depressional (floodplain depressions).o The wetland mitigation bank must include multiple individual sites separated by at least 200 feet.o The wetland mitigation bank may only issue credits (certificates) for like impact wetland types ("in-kind") and must include all basins proposed to be impacted.o Priority will be given to wetland mitigation bank proposals that restore wetland acres and functions (i.e. restore "Prior Converted" wetlands).o The wetland mitigation bank must include at least a 50 foot minimum permanent native vegetative buffer around every basin.
Applicants Eligible for this Grant
State governments - County governments - City or township governments - Public and State controlled institutions of higher education - Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized) - Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education - Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education - Private institutions of higher education - Individuals - Small businesses - Others (see text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility" for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility
Others: Applicants, or community-based organizations comprised of or representing applicants, who meet the USDA definitions for Beginning Farmer/Rancher or Limited Resource Farmer/Rancher.