(May, 2021) The Ocean County Soil Conservation District was awarded a second year of funding through a technical assistance grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD). This is the fourth year of the NACD technical assistance grant program, which was created with funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help increase staffing at the field level and provide conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the U.S.
The District views this funding opportunity to support the continuation and growth of the efforts initiated in year one of the Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation (SPARC) project . The momentum and connections made with regional partners and within the aquaculture community will be nurtured and continue to evolve with this additional financial support.
The SPARC project will continue to build District capacity through two pathways that occur simultaneously. District staff, including Christine Raabe, District Director, and Kristin Adams, Erosion Control Specialist, along with a broad-based Advisory Committee Partnership will continue to connect with local shellfish farmers, primarily within Barnegat and Great Bays, to gain a better understanding of their specific natural resource concerns. Ms. Adams will continue working towards NRCS Apprentice Conservation Planner certification, with a long-term goal of achieving NRCS Certified Conservation Planner status.
The District will provide a boots-on-the-ground, local connection between NRCS and the shellfish producers, to further develop the conservation practices of the NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative, while increasing funding opportunities for producer participation and involvement.
Visit NACD’s website to learn more about the grant program.