Tom posted earlier about this funding opportunity but I wanted to share some of the highlights from the NRCS-CIG webinar yesterday. The priority areas this year are: Water Quality, Water Reuse, Wildlife, Air Quality, and Energy Conservation. CIG generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. On-farm conservation research is defined as an investigation conducted to answer a specific applied conservation question using a statistically valid design while employing farm-scale equipment on farms, ranches, or private forest lands.
While my organization frequently submits proposals for CIG, this year's priorities (which rotate) don't match any of our current interests directly. However, this funding provides potential to the biochar community if there's sufficient interest to craft a project to take advantage. I want to offer the services of Dovetail Partners as grant writers and project managers--and, from a personal side--as a Virginia based biochar advocate and practitioner--as a participant. The details are attached.
What I think would be an attractive project to the proposal reviewers would be to attack the water quality and/or water re-use by using biochar in bio-reactors and or stormwater treatment prior to reintroduction to aquifers. Currently wood chips and almond shells are being used. I know there is work in CA to recharge aquifers by cleaning up stormwater using wood chips and almond shells, and bioreactors are used widely (as an NRCS EQIP practice) to filter outflow of field drainage tiles prior to reintroduction to streams using wood chips. Biochar is an easy way to improve the performance of these systems.
There may be other, better ideas, but this one come to mind first when I saw the priorities and I welcome an on or off-list discussion. Equally, there might not be the right conditions or the right timing now. I welcome that feedback, too!