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Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)

The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) is a voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of certain conservation programs along with resource of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands.

After announcement, eligible producers located in an approved project area may submit an application for any of the following available programs, which may be approved for assistance:

Under CCPI, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) enters into partnership agreements with eligible entities that want to enhance conservation outcomes on agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands. 

Iowa CCPI Projects

Trout Unlimited

NRCS awarded Trout Unlimited (TU) $1.75 million to continue its restoration work in the Midwest’s Driftless Area, an area that includes parts of northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin. A portion of these funds is available to Iowa producers. TU will work with local partners including NRCS in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin in the 42 counties in the Driftless Area.

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) was approved for a 5-year state level CCPI project in FY2009 to provide habitat improvements on "land permanently protected by a conservation easement with or managed by a conservation-mission non-profit organization." Land is NOT eligible if it is under a Federal easement such as WRP.

Program Description

As allowed by the 2008 Farm Bill (2008 Act), NRCS may make Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) program resources available to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands who are located in an approved CCPI project area.

As authorized by Congress, this is not a grant program to partners. This is a program whereby partners with approved projects will enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to help enhance conservation outcomes on agricultural lands and private nonindustrial private forest lands. One purpose of CCPI is to leverage resources of certain Federal government programs along with services and resources of non-Federal partners to implement natural resource conservation practices.

Proposals submitted by eligible partners are evaluated and competitively ranked for consideration of NRCS program to support the project. The RFP published to the Federal Register outlines the process and requirements partners must use to submit proposals and CCPI requirements. The RFP also provides details regarding which programs are offered and funding availability each fiscal year. 

Specific program information may be found at each of the programs websites: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Eligible Partners

Federally recognized Indian Tribes, State and local units of government, producer associations, farmer cooperatives, institutions of higher education, and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) with a history of working cooperatively with producers. Refer to the RFP for more details regarding partner eligibility, including specific requirements for NGOs. Individual producers are not eligible to submit a partnership proposal.

Producers

Owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands are eligible to apply for program benefits offered through CCPI. In order for a producer to be considered for financial assistance through a CCPI partner agreement, the land associated with a program application must be located within an approved CCPI project area. Only producers who are eligible for EQIP, WHIP or CSP may receive financial assistance through these programs. When announced and available refer to Fact Sheets and visit the NRCS program website in the state where located for information how and when to apply to the EQIP, WHIP and CSP programs. For more detail regarding eligibility and application requirements contact your local NRCS field office.

Funding Authority

For CCPI, the 2008 Act requires that 6 percent of the funds for EQIP and WHIP and 6 percent of the allowed acres for the CSP programs be reserved for support of producer contracts approved under this authority. Information and conditions for the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and potential funding available can be found in notice of request for proposals (RFP) published in the Federal Register and posted to this web site.

If funds are available, NRCS will make Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) benefits available to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands who participate in approved CCPI project areas. Please note that the amount of financial assistance provided to support prior year approved projects and new proposals approved through the current year RFP will change each fiscal year depending upon evaluation of partner performance, appropriations and agency priorities. Each fiscal year, NRCS will announce the amount of CCPI financial assistance available.

NRCS accepts and processes CCPI applications on a continuous basis. However, NRCS sets dates to prioritize applications as funding allows. The first batching and ranking of applications for fiscal year 2014 is Oct. 4, 2013. Contact your local NRCS office for more details.

Partner Proposal Submission

Eligible partners may submit proposals per the requirements of the RFP. Through a competitive process, the proposal will be evaluated and ranked with all other current fiscal year proposals. After evaluation, if the partner proposal is selected for funding, NRCS will develop a partnership agreement which will outline the general requirements of NRCS and the partner. Information about the competitive evaluation process is contained in the published RFP.

Iowa NRCS CCPI Contact:
Paul Goldsmith, 515-284-4353