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Regional Conservation Partnership Program
The RCPP promotes the coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that contribute a significant portion of the overall costs of a project. This coordination expands our ability to address resource concerns at farm, watershed, and regional scales. Through the RCPP, NRCS coinvests with partners to implement projects that address conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes for resource concerns.
Using guidance contained in this notice, potential RCPP partners propose projects that generate conservation benefits by addressing specific natural resource objectives in a state or multistate area or address one or more priority resource concerns within an NRCS-designated critical conservation area (CCA). NRCS and partners collaborate to design, promote, and implement RCPP projects on agricultural and nonindustrial private forest land. Through the RCPP, NRCS may provide both financial and technical assistance funds to project partners and producers to carry out projects. RCPP proposals are evaluated through a competitive proposal process based on three criteria: quantifiable impact, partner contributions, and partnership and management.
NRCS is actively working on improving the delivery and administration of the RCPP. Some of the improvements will be directed at areas such as simplifying and reducing the number of agreements while still complying with statutory and regulatory requirements, streamlining and reducing evaluation criteria, reducing lengthy RCPP easement transactions, improving the RCPP Portal, consistent guidance and training for employees and partners, as well as simplifying the technical assistance structure.
In FY 2023, NRCS will make a total of $500 million available for both the “Classic” component and the alternative funding arrangements (AFA). The $500 million total is funded from two separate authorizations: the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). Individual RCPP projects will only receive RCPP funds from a single source, either the 2018 Farm Bill funds or the IRA funds due to the specific, measurable climate-smart targeting required in the IRA. NRCS will prioritize using IRA funds for projects that will implement climate-smart agriculture conservation activities which are targeted to assist agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forestland owners in directly improving soil carbon, reducing nitrogen losses, or reducing, capturing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions, associated with agricultural production.
Deadline: August 18, 2023
Areas of Interest
Longleaf Pine Range (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TX, VA) Priority Resource Concerns:
• Inadequate habitat for fish, wildlife, and invertebrates
• Degraded plant condition
• Water quality degradation
Entities that are classified as one of the following organizational types can serve as an eligible RCPP partner: 1. An agricultural or silvicultural producer association or other group of producers. 2. A state or unit of local government. 3. An Indian Tribe. 4. A farmer cooperative. 5. A water district, irrigation district, acequia, rural water district or association, or other organization with specific water delivery authority to agricultural producers. 6. A municipal water or wastewater treatment entity. 7. An institution of higher education. 8. An organization, business or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers, as determined by NRCS, to address: a. local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, or nonindustrial private forest land management; or b. critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource issues. 9. An entity, such as an Indian Tribe, state government, local government, or a nongovernmental organization, that has a farmland or grassland protection program that purchases agricultural land easements, as defined in 7 CFR 1468.3. 10. A conservation district.
Each project must have a single lead partner, which is the entity that submits an RCPP proposal and negotiates an agreement with NRCS. The lead partner is ultimately responsible for ensuring completion of all partner responsibilities in a project including delivering and reporting partner contributions, collecting performance data, and assessing project outcomes.