Jacksonville, Florida – The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District (DSWCD) announced today it was awarded an urban agriculture conservation grant through a partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to boost technical capacity nationwide.
The DSWCD was one of 20 conservation districts across 14 states to receive funding. The $50,000 grant will provide initial funding for Regeneration Park, a green infrastructure and community stewardship project focused on demonstrating urban agriculture, cultivating environmental stewardship and empowering residents to build with nature for social, economic and environmental health. The project, located on the west side of Jacksonville’s urban core, will transform half an acre of currently unused public land into an ecological demonstration site along the S-Line link of Groundwork Jacksonville’s Emerald Trail near the Sugar Hill Mosaic. The project will be situated less than a mile from the recently completed EPA cleanup activities at the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters Superfund site and the DSWCD has been working closely with the City of Jacksonville’s Parks and Recreation department to develop an appropriate plan to regenerate the associated soils and enhance the affiliated community.
“The District is committed to regenerating ecosystems in our affected neighborhoods”, said Jennifer Casey, DSWCD Chair. “We are thrilled that the Regeneration Park project was funded by NACD and will bring technical assistance from soil scientists, farmers and conservationists directly to residents right where they live and work.”
The project also features a bioswale installation, the creation of a pollinator habitat and a series of educational workshops. The UF/IFAS Duval County Extension, the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board, Groundwork Jacksonville, St. Johns Riverkeeper, NativeJax, and Jacksonville Youth Works have provided support to the project.
NACD and NRCS established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide much-needed technical assistance for community-oriented agricultural projects in both urban and rural contexts. This is the fifth round of funding with grants totaling $5.6 million for 122 projects across 35 states.
About the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District: For over 67 years, under the authority created by the Soil Conservation Act passed by the Florida Legislature in 1937, the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has promoted responsible management and conservation of natural resources by delivering conservation technology and education to local landowners and users and promoting the wise use of land and best management practices that will conserve, improve and sustain the natural resources of Duval County.
About the NACD: 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.
About the USDA NRCS: The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service is a major partner of soil and water conservation districts, nation-wide. Since the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, the NRCS (formerly SCS) has worked with conservation districts throughout the US to help landowners and land users, as well as Federal, State, Tribal, Community groups, and local units of government plan and implement conservation practices, where appropriate, to effectively and positively address the associated natural resource concerns.