California State Conservationist Lincoln Burton announced awards of nearly $379,619 in conservation innovative grants (CIG) on June 27 to six California organizations.

In addition, five additional CIG grants were awarded to California organizations through the national CIG program, bringing to $2.9 million the state and nationally funded projects with benefits to California.

Provided through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the funds will assist the groups in developing and refining cutting-edge technologies to help agricultural producers sustain resources, maintain viability, and improve operations.

Burton said, “Cooperative efforts such as those supported through this program provide an excellent opportunity for public-private partnerships that can effectively promote innovative technologies and approaches to environmental enhancement on working lands.”

California’s 2007 CIG awards include:

J. Filippi Vintage Company, Inc.: $47,500 - Winery wastewater treatment for vineyard irrigation;

Central Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.: $35,073 - Use of sub-irrigation to improve water quality; conserve energy and increase productivity in the greenhouse environment;

California Association of Conservation Districts: $75,000 - Misting: a viable conservation management practice for reducing PM-10 generated by disking (vineyard);

Sustainable Conservation: $75,000 - Demonstration and evaluation of draghose injection technology for dairy manure management in the San Joaquin Valley;

Central Coast Vineyard Team: $75,000 - Developing market incentives for the increased adoption of conservation practices in wine grapes; and

The Sustainable Cotton Project: $72,046 - Creating a market for cleaner cotton with the cleaner cotton market online.

The nationally approved 2007 CIG awards with benefits to California include:

California Dairy Campaign: $103,045 - Economic and environmental demonstration and evaluation of using flocculation/precipitation of solids in dairy waste lagoons;

CA Association of Resource Conservation Districts: $210,651 - Misting: a viable conservation management practice for reducing PM10 generated by disking (row crops);

Environmental Defense: $557,819 - Greenhouse gas emissions reduction practices on rice farms in the Sacramento Valley;

California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance - Sure Harvest: $607.500 - Breaking through adoption barriers: market based conservation approaches and regulatory incentive opportunities to drive the adoption of conservation practices;

AgRefresh (multiple state application): $622,500 - The Biofuels Acceleration Project

Michigan State University (multiple state): $443,410 - Development of a national air quality self-assessment tool.

The 2002 farm bill established the CIG grants as part of the environmental quality incentives program or EQIP. The grants seek to engage multiple sectors of the agricultural community such as state and local agencies, community organizations, businesses, and others in identifying, testing, and implementing innovative environmental solutions and accelerating technology transfer.

For more information, go online to www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig, or call NRCS’ Alan Forkey at (530) 792-5653.