The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.
RCPP combines the authorities of four former conservation programs – the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and the Great Lakes Basin Program. Assistance is delivered in accordance with the rules of EQIP, CSP, ACEP and HFRP; and in certain areas the Watershed Operations and Flood Prevention Program.
Indiana's priorities are:
- Water Quality
- Soil Quality
- At-Risk Species Habitat
2014-2015 Funded Projects
The first projects of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program have been selected. The three projects that effect Indiana are:
- The University of Notre Dame – The project will assist with adoption of cover crops on 85 percent of cropland, and two-stage ditches along the majority of channelized ditches, in two targeted 12-ditch watersheds. Through water quality monitoring, the project will quantify the soil and water quality/quantity benefits from the implementation of these practices in the watersheds. Based on preliminary research, 40 to 45 percent reductions in nutrient loss are achievable with this approach, which will be monitored at the watershed scale. A key component of the project is to accurately document the effect of these practices on environmental conditions (water and soil quality) and estimate the full costs and benefits for both public and private interests. In addition, the data will support modeling efforts that will allow for broader conclusions regarding the effectiveness of these conservation practices, regionally and beyond.
- The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorus Reduction Initiative – A diverse team of partners will use a targeted approach to identify high-priority sub-watersheds for phosphorus reduction and increase farmer access to public and private technical assistance—including innovative demonstrations of practices that NRCS does not yet cover—in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Identified actions are coordinated with the Ohio Phosphorus Task Force Report and will move Lake Erie toward goals developed in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Annex 4 Nutrient Strategies. The partners will gauge success and monitor results using project-wide water quality monitoring and watershed modeling conducted by national experts from multiple scientific entities and institutions.
- The Michigan/Indiana St. Joseph River Conservation Partnership - The partnership strives to find solutions to increasing groundwater withdrawals and sediment and nutrient loading that are economically good for the farmer but also have multiple conservation benefits, including optimizing groundwater use, improving infiltration, and reducing nutrients and sediment while also improving wildlife and fisheries habitat. Innovative methods to target high-priority areas and appropriate conservation practices will take an already developed watershed management plan to the next level. Monitoring will be used to adaptively manage this project at various levels, from the field-scale to the entire watershed. Partners have a strong history of working with both NRCS and producers.
Nearly 600 pre-proposals were submitted in 2014. The top pre-proposals were invited to submit a full proposal, and NRCS received 210 proposals requesting $1.4 billion – four times the available funding.
For a full list of all the RCPP funded projects and their summaries, please visit the national RCPP website at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=stelprdb1264664
RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 391KB)
To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted
For more information contact Jill Reinhart at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-295-5883