Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Program
What is RC&D?
Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is a unique program led by local volunteer councils that helps people protect and develop their economic, natural, and social resources in ways that improve their area’s economy, environment, and quality of life. Local RC&D councils’ members represent sponsoring organizations that include parish governments, soil and water conservation districts, towns, and other non profit groups. RC&D generates local support for community improvement activities and locally-led boards and councils. The RC&D concept is based on the fact that local people are best able to determine and create solutions for their communities. Success of the RC&D program is directly related to the interest and dedication of the appointed council members.
RC&D areas were established in the Agriculture Act of 1962 to provide a program that empowers local citizens to develop and carry out an action-oriented plan for the social, economic and environmental enrichment of their communities.
How many RC&D areas are in Louisiana?
Seven authorized RC&D areas cover the entire state. They are:
Acadiana: Acadia, Avoyelles, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion Parishes
Bayou Land: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and Terrebonne Parishes
Capital: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana Parishes
Twin Valley: Caddo, DeSoto, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, and Vernon Parishes
Click on the map below to access information on the RC&D offices serving Louisiana.
Who are RC&D sponsors?
The local police juries and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) sponsor each RC&D Council locally and voluntarily in each parish. Sponsors can also include cities and towns, townships, civic organizations, regional planning bodies, local non profit organizations, Indian tribal bodies, and others.
Sponsors are active in RC&D and appoint qualified representatives to serve on the Council to represent their interests.
What is an RC&D Council?
RC&D Councils in Louisiana are non-profit, tax-exempt organizations designated as 501(c)(3) entities by the IRS. This allows them to secure grant funds from private foundations and others, to receive private individual donations, to become holders of property, etc. as allowed by their by-laws.
Do RC&Ds receive funding?
An authorized RC&D receives funding from the USDA through NRCS. NRCS provides a full-time coordinator to work with the Council to identify problems, establish goals and objectives, build strategies, and implement plans. They also provide office space, some equipment and supplies, and a government vehicle for the NRCS staff.
Other sources of funding and operating expenses come from:
Workshop registration fees
Sponsor or member dues
In-kind assistance is also received from NRCS and other USDA agencies; SWCDs, and others
What type of assistance do RC&D provide to a project?
RC&Ds identify agencies or organizations that can assist in completing each step of a project plan, serve as sources of technical assistance, and provide financial resources, if needed, and as possible. RC&D areas provide the vehicle for achieving a goal and completing projects. However, a project is not an “RC&D” project in the sense that an RC&D Council does everything. Local leadership and support are key elements for any successful project.
Types of assistance available include:
Identify potential funding sources
Conduct tours and educational events
Serve as an umbrella organization for new non profits and foundations
Serve as a conduit for grants
Coordinate technical assistance
Help with grant administration
Conduct information campaigns
The amount and kind of assistance depends on the type of project and the local Council’s wishes.
What can RC&Ds do that other organizations can't?
RC&Ds can do anything the local people want to do, as long as it fits within the Council’s long range plans and goals for the area. For example, an RC&D Council can:
Create a park
Promote use of modern telecommunications technology in rural areas
Provide a community facility
Provide animal waste technical assistance
Open a tourist attraction
Develop a wildlife habitat restoration or wetland education area
Correct erosion problems
Build a nature trail
Work on water quality issues
Stabilize a storm water channel
Promote local industry
Provide funding for windbreak projects
Build a timber bridge
Preserve a historical site
Provide funding for rural emergency medical services and equipment
RC&Ds are not entities of government; therefore, the usual policies and constraints of local, state, and federal government programs do not limit them in the kinds of issues they decide to address or how they decide to do it. Local people on the Council determine the types of concerns, projects, and activities in which they will become involved.