Five Conservation Innovation Grants totaling $325,000 have been awarded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Ohio. Conservation Innovation Grants provide 50% of the total project cost, the remaining 50% must come from non-Federal matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions) provided by the grantee.
"The purpose of Conservation Innovation Grants is to offer a means to spread the use of technologies and techniques that are not typically seen in mainstream agricultural systems," explains State Conservationist Terry Cosby. "These five projects were selected for funding because they address critical water quality concerns and the decision to adopt conservation practices."
The Ohio State University was awarded three of the four grants. The first grant for $75,000 will assess technical, environmental, and economic factors in alternative manure handling and processing systems. This grant is for one year.
Evaluating alternative design options for open channels, including two-stage and self-forming channels is the purpose of the second grant to OSU for $61,000. This grant also runs for one year.
The final OSU grant is for three years and $74,000. Researchers will demonstrate how the use of gypsum on soils with high phosphorus levels in the Maumee River Basin can improve overall soil quality and reduce soluble phosphorus loadings into surface and tile drain water.
The fourth grant was awarded to the IPM Institute of North America, Inc. and will focus on improving water quality in the Sandusky River Watershed. This grant for $60,000 will run for two years.
Clermont County's Soil and Water Conservation District is the recipient of the fifth CIG for $55,000 which runs for three years. Improving soil structure and reducing non-point source pollution in Grassy Fork, which is a drinking water source on the East Fork Little Miami River is the purpose of this grant.
Education is a major component of each of these projects. Demonstration plots, field days, and training programs will be used to disseminate the information on the technologies used to farmers, other landowners, technical agencies, and others.
For more information on the Conservation Innovation Grant program visit www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.