SALINA - U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist Eric B. Banks has announced the availability of $200,000 in program funding through Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in Kansas. Applications must be received by the Natural Resources Conservation Service before the close of business on May 16.

State and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental and educational organizations, private businesses and individuals are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically undeserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects.

In the 10 years that NRCS has administered the program, grants have helped develop water quality trading markets and assisted in innovative ways to increase fertilizer, water and energy efficiencies.

The grant program enables the NRCS to work with public and private partners to accelerate technology development and adopt promising approaches to address natural resource concerns. Funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the grants are awarded through a competitive process. At least 50 percent of the total cost of grant projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

For more on this grant opportunity, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/index.html. To apply electronically, visit www.grants.gov, or contact your local NRCS office.