A total of $360 million in federal funding is being made available to potential conservation partners. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking applications for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The national RCPP provides funding support for conservation partnerships to improve water quality and reliability, enhance soil health, protect agricultural viability, and support wildlife habitat.
“RCPP brings an expanded approach to investing in natural resource conservation that empowers local communities to work with multiple partners and agricultural producers to design solutions that work best for them,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said in a news release.
Project proposals can request between $250,000 and $10 million in funding support. Project partners are expected to provide value-added contributions to enhance the impact RCPP funding. The contributions will need to be equal or greater to the overall NRCS investment. Some of the eligible lead partners include private industry, water districts, universities, and state and local governments.
After requesting public comment on the RCPP Critical Conservation Areas (CCAs) NRCS has announced several updates. The California Bay-Delta and the Columbia River Basin CCAs have now been combined into the Western Waters CCA. The combination also includes the Klamath River Basin and the Puget Sound Basin. The Northeast Forests and Waters CCA was also created which encompasses several states on the east coast.
Webinars featuring program information about the national RCPP and how to submit an application are scheduled for August 27, and September 10. USDA will be accepting proposals through the RCPP portal until Wednesday, November 4.
Since being authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP projects have provided innovative conservation solutions with meaningful impact across the country. The program has combined $1 billion in funding from NRCS with nearly $2 billion from other partners for the implementation of conservation practices. There are currently 336 active RCPP projects engaging more than 2,000 partners.