State Resource Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
For immediate release
USDA Awards $25 Million in Conservation Innovation
Two Entities in Washington Received Funds to Develop Innovative Agriculture
SPOKANE, WA – Sept. 5, 2012 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door announced nearly $2 million in
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) awarded to two entities in Washington,
Oregon and Idaho for projects that test and prove innovative approaches to
conserving America’s private lands. These awards are part of a greater $25
million in CIGs awarded to 58 entities across the nation.
Awardees in Washington include Trout Unlimited and Willamette Partnership (part
of a multi-state award for WA, OR and ID). These entities will demonstrate
innovative approaches to irrigation efficiency and water quality trading
methods. Grant winners pay 50 percent of all project costs.
“Conservation Innovation Grants will help spur creativity and problem-solving in
our nation’s farms, ranches and forests,” said Rides at the Door. “Conservation
grants allow the best minds in America to develop unique and innovative
solutions that will help make conservation more efficient in the future.”
Projects awarded in Washington State are listed below.
Methow Basin Water Exchange Project - Trout Unlimited was awarded
$219,006 to build on the investments of NRCS and other funders in irrigation
efficiency through development of the Methow Basin Water Exchange Cooperative
Project (WEC), an innovative approach to enhance instream flows in the Methow
River and its two largest tributaries.
Multi-state Agency Guidance for Water Quality Trading (Joint Regional
Water Quality Trading Agreement): State Agencies Building Shared, Regional
Trading Policies for the Pacific Northwest and Beyond - Willamette
Partnership was awarded $1,589,751 to secure multi-state consensus and the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) support for a Joint Regional Agreement
that will include: multi-state agency guidance; general restoration project and
best management practices quality standards; credit tracking procedures; and
accounting methods for “credits” that can be used in water quality trading for
nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and temperature in Oregon, Washington and
Idaho. All three of these states and the EPA have some form of guidance or
framework in place to inform water quality trading, providing a strong
foundation from which to develop a Joint Regional Agreement.
New this year was a special emphasis on water quality trading markets to
demonstrate how farmers and ranchers can help municipalities and other point
sources overcome high pollution control costs. Nationally, twelve entities
received grant funds for this purpose.
“We believe there are states around the nation that are on the cusp of having
thriving water quality trading markets,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
said. “These grant awards will help develop projects that involve farmers and
ranchers while they are helping to improve water quality.”
NRCS administers CIG as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
Grants are awarded to state and local governments, federally recognized Indian
tribes, non-governmental organizations and individuals. NRCS uses CIG to invest
in innovative, on-the-ground conservation technologies and approaches with the
goal of wide-scale adoption to address water quality and quantity, air quality,
energy conservation, and environmental markets, among other natural resource
For a complete list of CIG awardees and more information about NRCS conservation
programs online, visit:
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