7 CFR § 1466.31 - Purpose and scope.

§ 1466.31 Purpose and scope.

(a) The purpose of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies, including field research, while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection in conjunction with agricultural production. Notwithstanding any limitation of this part, NRCS administers CIG in accordance with this subpart. Unless otherwise provided for in this subpart, grants under CIG are subject to the provisions of 2 CFR part 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.

(b) Applications for CIG are accepted from the 50 States, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands of the United States, American Samoa, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(c) NRCS may award grants to applicants either through a national competition or, at the Chief's discretion, separate State-level components, either of which may be offered multiple times each fiscal year.

(d) Applications for CIG should propose innovative projects or activities that—

(1) Demonstrate the use of innovative approaches and technologies to leverage Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production;

(2) Promote innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations of promising approaches or technologies;

(3) Lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS technical manuals and guides or to the private sector.

(e) For NRCS to consider a proposal eligible for CIG funding, the applicant must clearly demonstrate the innovative features of the proposed technology or approach.

(f) An applicant may demonstrate the innovative features of the proposed technology or approach through a variety of means, such as by establishing that it—

(1) Uses a technology or approach that was studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;

(2) Demonstrates, evaluates, and verifies the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field;

(3) Adapts and transfers conservation technologies, management, practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption; or

(4) Introduces proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use.

(g) Projects or activities under CIG shall comply with all applicable Federal, Tribal, State, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project.

[84 FR 69280, Dec. 17, 2019, as amended at 85 FR 67647, Oct. 26, 2020]