SPARC Project

Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation (SPARC)

OCSCD was awarded a technical assistance grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) for the third year. This is the fifth 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.

Ocean County Soil Conservation District’s Sustainable Practices for Aquaculture Resources Conservation (SPARC) project will continue to build District capacity through two pathways that will occur simultaneously. District staff, including Christine Raabe, District Director, and Kristin Adams, Erosion Control Specialist, along with a broad-based Advisory Committee Partnership will connect with local shellfish farmers, primarily within Barnegat and Great Bays, to gain a better understanding of their specific natural resource concerns.

Ms. Adams has achieved NRCS Apprentice Conservation Planner certification and is now working towards 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.

“Since 2018, NACD and NRCS have worked together to increase staffing at the field level for conservation districts,” NACD President Tim Palmer said. “This increased technical capacity helps to improve conservation services to farmers, ranchers and local communities across the nation.”

A total of $15 million has been announced for 2022 awards through the NACD technical assistance grant program. Since the program’s inception, NACD has funded technical assistance in all 50 states and three U.S. territories.

“NACD is proud to provide funding to America’s conservation districts and allow for more boots on the ground, providing our growers with support for their individual landscapes and resource concerns,” Palmer said.

Visit NACD’s website to learn more about the grant program.

The National Association of Conservation Districts is the non-profit organization that represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, their state associations and the 17,000 men and women who serve on their governing boards. For more than 70 years, local conservation districts have worked with cooperating landowners and managers of private working lands to help them plan and apply effective conservation practices. For more information about NACD, visit: www.nacdnet.org.

Aquaculture Conservation and Restoration Resources

RI Oyster Restoration/Covid-19 buyback program video – https://www.youtube.com/watch

RI Oyster Restoration/Covid-19 buyback program NRCS website article – https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps

SOAR: Supporting Oyster Aquaculture and Restoration – The Nature Conservancy Website Article – https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do

TNC is Helping Oyster Farmers Impacted by COVID-19 video – https://www.youtube.com/watch

Oyster buyback program revitalizes growers, rebuilds reefs: NJ Spotlight Article – https://www.njspotlight.com/2020/12/oysters

NJ NRCS Aquaculture Initiative – https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps

SPARC Project Updates

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