DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTUREAGENCY:
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Commodity Credit CorporationACTION:
NOTICEConservation Innovation Grants Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Announcement for Program FundingCatalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number:
1 0. 912SUMMARY:
The New Jersey
State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS-NJ), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture, is announcing availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.
Applications are accepted from all 50 States, Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) for projects located entirely within New Jersey.
NRCS-NJ anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2013 will be approximately $159,30 0. Applications are requested from eligible governmental or non-governmental organizations or individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for projects between 1 and 3 years in duration.Funds will be awarded through a two-phase competitive grants process that will include (1) a pre-proposal process and (2) a full proposal process.
The full proposal process will only be open to applicants whose pre-proposal applications are selected by NRCS-NJ.
Both phases are described in this announcement, but only pre-proposals are being solicited at this time.This notice identifies the objectives, eligibility criteria, and application instructions for CIG projects.
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 will request a full proposal package only from those applicants selected in the pre-proposal phase.DATES:
Applications for the pre-proposal phase must be received at the NRCS-NJ State Office by 4 p.m.
Eastern Standard Time (EST) on April 29, 201 3. Notification of selected pre-proposal applications will be announced by May 22, 201 3. Selected applicants will then be required to submit a full proposal package to the NRCS-NJ State Office by 4 p.m.
EST on June 28, 201 3. ADDRESSES:
Applications sent via hand-delivery, express mail, overnight courier service or regular mail must be sent to the following address:
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Innovation Grants Program, 220 Davidson Avenue 4th Floor Somerset NJ 0887 3. Applications sent electronically must be sent to Gregory.Westfall@nj.usda.govFor more information contact:Greg WestfallNew Jersey CIG Program Manager220 Davidson Avenue 4th FloorSomerset NJ 08873Phone:
Gregory.Westfall@nj.usda.gov SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATIONI.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITY DESCRIPTIONA.
Legislative AuthorityThe Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program 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 test hypotheses do not qualify for a CIG grant.
CIG is used to apply or demonstrate previously proven technology.
It is a vehicle to stimulate development and adoption of conservation approaches or technologies that have been studied sufficiently to indicate a high likelihood of success, and that are a candidate 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-NJ staff 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-NJ will accept applications for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years, submitted by from eligible entities including federally recognized Indian tribes, State and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations and individuals.
Applications are accepted from all 50 States, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) for projects located entirely within New Jersey.NRCS-NJ will only request a full proposal package 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.Full proposal applications will be forwarded to a technical peer review panel.
The peer review panel will make recommendations for project approval to the NRCS-NJ State Conservationist who will make the final selections.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; or 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, 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; Adapt conservation technology, management, or incentive systems to improve performance; and Demonstrate transferability of knowledge.D.
New Jersey Competition For FY 2013, NRCS-NJ will consider offering CIG in the following areas:
Pre-proposals that demonstrate the use of innovative technologies and/or approaches to address at least one bulleted topic listed below will be considered.
Pre-proposals must identify the most appropriate bulleted topic the innovation/technology is addressing.
While NRCS-NJ is interested in receiving proposals for each bulleted topic below, special interest is placed on receiving proposals that address topics identified as a Priority Need. Additional topics (not listed below) may be considered at the State Conservationists discretion.
If an additional topic is proposed for the State Conservationists consideration, it must be identified as such in the pre-proposal.
Program Outreach Technology transfer to individuals and entities including, but not limited to, Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers or Ranchers, Limited Resource Farmers or Ranchers, Indian tribes, Land Grant Colleges and Universities, or Community-Based Organizations. Demonstration of new or novel technology that can easily and inexpensively be adopted by small-scale producers in order to address their natural resource concerns. Demonstration of new or novel technologies that lead to significant management efficiencies in farm resource management from a systems perspective, including technologies that lead to demonstrated benefits to multiple ecosystem services. Projects that assess resource conditions and land capabilities for traditionally underserved groups and communities. Projects that emphasize program outreach to underserved producers or landowners. Projects that enhance opportunities to work with universities and other institutions to develop technical training for Beginning Farmers or Ranchers, Limited Resource Farmers or Ranchers, Socially Disadvantaged Farmers or Ranchers, and Indian tribes or entities servicing those landowners.Nutrient Management Priority Need:
Demonstrate and quantify the optimal combinations of nutrient source, application rate, placement, and application timing (4 Rs), as measured by impact on nutrient use efficiency and yield for one or more of the following:
corn, soybeans, wheat, vegetables, and/or hay/pasture.
Demonstrations are encouraged that show how these optimal combinations change for one or more of the following comparisons:
non-irrigated management, tillage vs.
reduced tillage systems, manure-amended vs.
non manure-amended systems, and/or organic vs.
conventional production systems. Priority Need:
Demonstrate and quantify the effectiveness of bundling conservation measures to avoid, control, and trap nutrient losses from the field. Priority Need:
Demonstrate and quantify the effectiveness of methods to capture dissolved phosphorus from field runoff and subsurface drainage. Priority Need:
Demonstrate the applicability and utility of in-season nitrogen management tools for determining additional nutrient needs for a range of soils, climates and/or cropping systems.Energy Conservation Priority Need:
Evaluate and demonstrate renewable energy systems (e.g., hydropower, solar, and/or wind) that displace fossil fuel energy and meet on-farm energy needs, while increasing energy efficiency and/or reducing environmental contaminants (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter). Priority Need:
Develop and demonstrate innovative planning and decision aids to assess potential impacts of small on-farm renewable energy systems on wildlife and wildlife habitats and that can be used to identify appropriate sites to avoid or minimize potential adverse impacts. Develop and/or demonstrate innovative implementation systems to achieve greater use and quantify benefits of energy audits that address cropland, buildings, and equipment.Soil Health Priority Need:
Demonstrate soil quality management in intensive production schemes including investigation of cost effective ways to add organic matter and control erosion in production systems that make extensive use of plastic mulch and seasonal high tunnels. Demonstrate and quantify the impacts of cover crops, crop rotations, tillage and/or soil amendments on soil chemical, physical, and/or biological properties and their relationships with nutrient cycling, soil water availability, and plant growth. Demonstrate and quantify the rate of increase in available soil water holding capacity as a function of soil properties (e.g., particle size, mineralogy), management practices (e.g., tillage, amendments, cover crop or crop residue inputs), and/or climate. Projects that assess resource conditions and land capabilities for traditionally underserved groups and communities.
Inventory of urban lands (community gardens) that meet eligibility requirements of our programs. Development of optimal species mixes, seeding rates and seeding methods (e.g., inter-seeding, inter-cropping, frost-seeding) to enhance cover crop establishment/survival and increase soil organic matter. Demonstrate of economic and hydrologic benefits for application of leaves or leaf compost to vegetables or ornamental crops.
Demonstrate and quantify the impacts of cover crop presence, species mix, and management (e.g., termination growth stage, tillage practice) on soil water content and subsequent crop yield across a range of climates and cropping systems. Demonstrate and quantify impacts of soil health promoting practices (e.g., no-tillage, cover crops, crop rotations) on yield, yield variability, and economics of crop production across a range of soils, cropping systems, and climates. Demonstrate and quantify the impacts of Soil Health Management Systems (e.g., cover crops, reduced tillage) on key soil health attributes (e.g., available water holding capacity, disease suppression, nutrient cycling) and determine the extent to which the rates of change are influenced by climate, organic input chemical composition/placement, and soil properties (e.g., particle size, mineralogy).
This should be conducted across a range of inherent soil properties, cropping systems, and climates to develop a Decision Support Tool that promotes selection and design of the components of a Soil Health Management System.Wildlife Priority Need:
Develop planning and decision aids to assess and maximize wildlife habitat value on land used to grow biofuel crops. Demonstrate new techniques and/or technologies for monitoring and evaluating wildlife habitat both on site and via remote sensing. Develop regional, crop-specific guidance providing the vegetative species, landforms, and necessary acreage to support appropriate populations of managed and wild pollinators per unit area of pollinated crops (i.e., describe the components of the landscape). Priority Need:
Evaluate and monitor NRCS-assisted wetland restoration outcomes Develop planning and decision aids to assess and maximize wildlife habitat value on land used to grow biofuel crops. Develop and demonstrate innovative planning and decision aids to assess potential impacts of small on-farm renewable energy systems on wildlife and wildlife habitats and that can be used to identify appropriate sites to avoid or minimize potential adverse impacts.
Assessment of wildlife habitat in solar panel fields (pollinators, bird nesting, amphibians, fence impacts, mowing regimes). Create a pollinator app for Pollinator Habitat Assessment Form and Guide Demonstrate and quantify the impacts of grazing as a habitat management tool Priority Need:
Evaluate impacts of invasive plants on sites with recent forestry activity regionally or within the entire state.
Economics Develop a tool for measuring economic returns of conservation for landowners.
The tool should be useful for analyzing and demonstrating the financial costs and potential returns of alternative conservation practices, taking into account such factors as land characteristics and production potential.
The tool should adhere to the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association standards for estimating farm costs and returns, including estimating opportunity costs for operator labor and management, be easy to use and understand, and provide transparent calculations. Develop a tool for analyzing the economics of growing conservation plants focused on limited resource farmers to answer questions on what is the market and how much to grow.CIG Projects Assessment Conduct an assessment of completed CIG projects on a given topic to identify and recommend those projects that should be adopted and the most fruitful and appropriate techniques for technology transfer and adoption.FUNDING AVAILABILITYA.
New Jersey CompetitionNRCS-NJ anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2013 will be approximately $159,30 0. CIG will fund single and multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years (anticipated project start date of September 1, 2013).
Funds will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process.
The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,00 0. in FY 201 3. ELIGIBILITY INFORMATIONCIG applicants must be a federally recognized Indian tribe, State or local unit of government, non-governmental organization, or an individual.A.
Matching FundsSelected applicants may receive CIG grants of up to 50 percent of their total project cost.
CIG recipients must match the USDA funds awarded on dollar-for-dollar basis from non-Federal sources with cash and in-kind contributions.
Of the applicants required match (50%), a minimum of 25 percent of the total project cost must come from cash sources; the remaining 25 percent may come from in-kind contributions (such as equipment or project personnel).Matching funds must be secured at time of application.
Applications should include written verification of commitments of matching support (including both cash and in-kind contributions) from third parties.
Additional information about matching funds can be found at the following link:
2 CFR 21 5. B.
EQIP Payment Limitation and Duplicate PaymentsSection 1240G of the Food Security Act of 19