Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
NOTE: NRCS WA will be hosting informational workshops June 23-July 2, 2014 at locations across the state. See bottom of page for specifics.
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.
RCPP encourages partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales.
Through RCPP, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas. Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved. The Secretary of Agriculture may also designate up to eight critical conservation areas to focus RCPP assistance.
Funding for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories:
Critical Conservation Areas
For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by Secretary. These receive 35 percent of funding.
Washington State is part of the Columbia River Basin CCA. Learn More.
Download the CCA Fact Sheet.
For nationwide and multi-state projects. These receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.
For projects in a single state. These receive 25 percent of funding. Learn more.
Conservation program contracts and easement agreements are implemented through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). NRCS may also utilize the authorities under the Watershed and Flood Prevention Program, other than the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, in the designated critical conservation areas.
Washington State's Priorities
This States priorities are:
Eligible Partners - Agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmer cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education.
Eligible Participants - Under RCPP, eligible producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement. RCPP assistance is also available independent of a partner if the land is located either in a partner project area or in a critical conservation area designated by the Secretary.
How to Apply
NRCS will release an announcement for program funding, that will outline requirements for proposal submissions for funding. NRCS will review partnership proposals according to the priorities identified in the announcement and make project selections. Upon selection of a partnership proposal, NRCS and the partner will enter into a partnership agreement through which they will coordinate to provide producers in the project area assistance. Partnership agreements may be for a period of up to five years. NRCS may extend an agreement one time for an additional 12 months if needed to meet the objectives of the program.
Producers may apply for RCPP assistance in several ways:
At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area
The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:
Eligible activities to be implemented
Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operation affected
Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
Planning, outreach, implementation, and assessment to be conducted. Partners are responsible for contributing to the cost of the project, conducting outreach and education to eligible producers for potential participation in the project and for conducting an assessment of the project’s effects. In addition, partners may act on behalf of the eligible landowner or producer in applying for assistance and for leveraging financial or technical assistance provided by NRCS with additional funds to help achieve the project objectives.
Before closing the agreement the partner must provide an assessment of the project costs and conservation effects.
Workshops will take place on the following dates and at locations across the state:
Monday, June 23, 1:00-4:00 pm
USDA Service Center
1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW
Olympia, WA 98512
Wednesday, June 25, 9:00 am-Noon
USDA Service Center (first floor conference room)
2021 E. College Way
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Thursday, June 26, 9:00 am-Noon
USDA Agricultural Research Service
5230 Konnowac Pass Rd
Wapato, WA 98951
Friday, June 27, 9:00 am-Noon
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (State Office)
316 W. Boone Ave, Suite 450 (4th floor conference room)
Spokane, WA 99208
Wednesday, July 2, 1:00-4:00 pm
US Forest Service Building
215 Melody Ln
Wenatchee, WA 98801
Final Pre-Proposal conference call/webinar Monday, July 7, 1:00-2:00 pm to discuss required letters of support.