USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maryland has announced that approximately $200,000 is available in 2015 for the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.

This year, Maryland NRCS will offer Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) funding for projects within the state that focus on soil health, nutrient management and wildlife. Soil health submissions can address a wide range of topics, including crop diversity, grazing management, and soil water holding capacity. Innovative approaches that manage and optimize nutrient management to reduce downstream nutrient loads and maintain agricultural productivity in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed are also strongly encouraged.

CIG grants will be awarded for projects between one and three years’ duration with individual awards not exceeding $75,000. CIG is used to apply or demonstrate previously proven technology. CIG does not fund research projects or those intended to formulate hypotheses.

Entities and individuals, including state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations who are interested in applying for these competitive grants must submit a completed application before 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on August 12.

Applications may be submitted electronically on their website and clicking on the “Apply for Grants” link. The Maryland application number is USDA-NRCS-MD-CIG-15-001. Packages may also be sent via express mail, overnight courier service or the United States Postal Service to:

USDA-NRCS, Attn: Denise Brooks,  CIG Program: USDA-NRCS-MD-15-001,

339 Busch’s Frontage Road, Suite 301, Annapolis, MD 21409.