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News Release

USDA Receives About 600 Pre-Proposals for New RCPP Program

Applicants Selected to Submit Full Proposals by Oct. 2, including two from South Carolina

Longleaf in SC

The Longleaf Pine Range, partly located in South Carolina, is considered a Critical Conservation Area (CCA) and is allocated funding through the RCPP program.

COLUMBIA, SC, Aug. 7, 2014 – USDA’s new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) drew an overwhelming response from partners across the nation. Of the almost 600 pre-proposals submitted in July, about 230 were invited this week to continue the process by submitting full proposals by Oct. 2, 2014. “This USDA program provides an entirely new approach to conservation at this scale,” said Jason Weller, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “RCPP offers a unique opportunity to harness innovation and welcome new partners into the conservation mission.  The program puts our partners in the driver’s seat, allowing them to find creative solutions to the conservation issues in their areas.”

RCPP provides a way for private companies, tribes, local communities and non-government partners to collaborate and invest in cleaner water and air, healthier soil and enhanced wildlife habitat. It will enable USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas to leverage private sector funding to maximize conservation investments. Weller said nearly 5,000 partners came together in the pre-proposal phase.

By mid-July, partners had submitted pre-proposals for rigorous evaluation, including 201 for projects related to eight previously-designated critical conservation areas, 60 for multi-state and national-level projects, and 278 for state-level projects. Nearly 230 applicants were invited to the next phase of RCPP by developing full proposals by Oct. 2, including two applicants from South Carolina. NRCS will announce the next round of RCPP funding availability early next year. 

“As the program grows, we expect to see South Carolina’s proposal counts to grow with it,” said South Carolina Acting State Conservationist Jack Lewis. “We are excited two applicants were selected to submit full proposals, and will continue outreach of this innovative program in the state.”

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or go to