Like the Technical Assistance (TA) Grants from round one in 2018 and round two in 2019, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) entered into a third agreement with NACD to provide funding to enhance conservation district technical assistance across the nation, with the granted funds to be awarded to conservation districts to hire staff where additional capacity is needed to improve customer service and reduce workload pressure.
In March 2020, NACD announced the award of $8.5 million in priority request awards to over 300 conservation districts in 49 states and territories. In July 2020, NACD announced an additional $6.5 million in new technical assistance grants to benefit nearly 400 conservation districts in 36 states and territories.
This technical assistance cooperative agreement of $15 million included:
- $3,330,000 allocated as grants to hire local district/state agency/state association/RC&D/tribal employees to assist landowners in implementing Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts.
- $2,700,000 allocated as grants to hire local district/state agency/state association/RC&D/tribal employees to assist landowners in implementing Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts.
- $9,000,000 allocated as grants to hire local district/state agency/state association/RC&D/tribal employees to provide conservation operations planning assistance (COTA).
- Nearly 10 percent or $1.67 million of these funds would be used by NACD to manage the project over the three-year period of the agreement.
- The requirement for match of 25 percent, of which NACD would provide the first 5 percent. Grant recipients would supply the remaining 20 percent.
To ensure the funds were directed to areas where they would have the highest impact, NACD worked with state and territory conservation partnerships to identify the highest priority locations. Roughly two-thirds of the grants from this agreement were directed to continue funding the work that was started with the previous (2018) agreement.
The agreement’s priority was to get funds in the hands of conservation districts so they could hire employees to help carry out the objectives. Nationally, over 400 full- and part-time staff positions are supported using the funds. Some positions were filled by contractors and some covered multiple districts.
View the map below to learn about the 2020 TA Grantees.