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USDA-NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program -- Critical Conservation Area Nutrient Management Grants
NRCS is announcing the availability of Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Grants funding for NRCS to eligible applicants to co-invest in impactful and innovative solutions to on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns. For the 2022 application period, applications will be accepted from eligible entities for projects impacting nutrient management in NRCS RCPP Critical Conservation Areas (CCAs). Applications will not be accepted in the Prairie Grasslands CCA under this NFO. Only land management and rental activities are eligible under this NFO.
The Federal funding agency expects to award up to $40 million through this opportunity. NRCS expects to make up to seven awards under this announcement. Funding will be obligated using grant agreements. Projects may be up to five years in duration, however in special circumstances the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture may approve shorter or longer projects.
This RCPP Grants opportunity is intended to support project structures and approaches that cannot be carried out as effectively through RCPP Classic projects. RCPP Grants applicants must describe the innovative nature of the conservation approach they are proposing to justify potential funding through RCPP Grants rather than previously awarded RCPP Classic projects. Additionally, applicants should consider the additional administrative and technical assistance responsibilities that accompany receipt of an RCPP Grants award. Under RCPP Grants agreements, funding flows directly from NRCS to a lead partner, which in turn works with producers and landowners to implement conservation activities. This is distinct from previously awarded RCPP Classic projects, the program component in which most technical and financial assistance funds were provided directly from NRCS to producers and landowners through contracts and conservation easements.
Proposals must focus on water quality and nutrient management within an RCPP CCA, excepting the Prairie Grasslands CCA. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture has designated eight CCAs and their priority resource concerns.
Deadline: Oct. 31, 2022
Applicants and applications must meet eligibility criteria by the application deadline to be considered for award. Eligible applicant type is determined by the implementing program statute. Eligibility for this opportunity is limited to the following entity types:
a. An agricultural or silvicultural producer association or other group of producers;
b. A State or unit of local government, including a conservation district;
c. An Indian Tribe;
d. A farmer cooperative;
e. An institution of higher education;
f. A water district, irrigation district, acequia, rural water district or association, or other organization with specific water delivery authority to producers on agricultural land;
g. A municipal water or wastewater treatment entity;
h. An organization or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers on agricultural land, as determined by the Secretary, to address - i. Local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, and NIPF management; or ii. Critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource concerns; or
i. An eligible entity as identified by NRCS pursuant to 7 C.F.R. part 1468.
An applicant organization may submit more than one application for different projects or that propose different approaches. In the case of applications submitted as revisions or corrections to a previously submitted application under this NFO, the agency will consider the last application submitted prior to the established deadline.