New Small Grants Round for Biodiversity

By Karisma Wilson,

February 23, 2024

This February, we opened the spring 2024 round of our Small Grants Program, focusing on protecting biodiversity in agricultural working lands.

Marin County is renowned for its rich biological diversity – with a great variety of plants, animals, fungi, algae, and microorganisms. With this tremendous natural wealth comes a responsibility to properly steward this landscape. As part of our strategic pillars, we have committed to protect, restore, and improve agricultural lands to benefit wildlife habitat, landscape connectivity, soil health, and water quality; something we can only do in partnership with our ranching and farming community.

In this funding round, we will award up to $200,000 to local projects that support biodiversity on agricultural lands. We are looking to fund projects that will help lead to more diverse landscapes, increase productivity, and protect environmental resources and services.

Hear from Lily Verdone, MALT’s executive director, about the focus of this next round of small grant funding in this short video:

What is Biodiversity in Working Lands?

Biodiversity supports our basic needs, underpins global health, and drives everything from fresh water to healthy soils to food security. In agricultural working lands, farmers and ranchers can rely on biodiversity for ecosystem services such as pollination, soil fertility, water quality, and natural pest control.

Agriculture can help promote biodiversity through maintenance and creation of diverse habitats, improving soil health, and reducing reliance on chemical inputs. Examples of these methods can include:

– rotational grazing
– cover cropping
– hedgerows
– pasture seeding
– tree planting
– conservation tillage
– producing value added products

A cow grazes in a green valley with foggy hills in the background

Rotational grazing is one example of how agriculture can help promote biodiversity, encouraging a range of plant species that in turn support a host of insects, birds and other wildlife.

Investing in the Stewardship of Agricultural Land

Our first round of small grant funding focused on Building Climate Resilience, awarding $200,000 for climate-smart agricultural practices that improve water security, promote emissions reductions, and enhance livestock welfare. Over our history, we have learned the value of well-targeted and well-timed land stewardship efforts that address both the needs of our community and improve the health of our local landscapes.

Through this new funding mechanism, MALT now has a new resource to continue strengthening our community’s resilience amid a changing climate, safeguard a critical part of our local economy, and sustain the vibrancy of our local food system.

Learn more about this opportunity. Proposals will be accepted until April 5, 2024. Please contact Eric Rubenstahl at erubenstahl@malt.org with any questions.

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