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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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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.

Latest Information

RCPP Pre-Proposals Results

The Grants.gov website will be down for maintenance the weekend of July 12- 14, 2014.

NRCS is still accepting applications by email and hard copy.

Question:  Since Grants.gov will be down the weekend of July 12 – 14, how can I submit my application?
Answer:  You can still email your application to RCPP@wdc.usda.gov, or send a hardcopy to:

Mark A. Rose, Director Financial Assistance Programs Division
Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
RCPP Application
P.O. Box 2890
Washington, D.C. 20013-2890

Applying by email or hardcopy requires fewer documents. It only requires those documents listed in Section IV. B. Requirements of the AFP.

Helpful Links for information on the outage and how to submit applications:

RCPP Homepage
RCPP FAQ page with full answers

Download the announcement for program funding from Grants.gov.

Read testimonials from NRCS partners on forming successful partnerships.

See questions and answers on RCPP.

Benefits

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.

Eligibility

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.

Funding

Funding for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories:

Thumbnail of map outlining CCA areas Thumbnail of map of US salmon-colored placeholder map

Critical Conservation Areas

For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture. These receive 35 percent of funding. Learn more.

National

For nationwide and multistate projects. These receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.

State

For projects in a single state. These receive 25 percent of funding. Learn more.


NRCS Programs Used in RCPP - 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.

How to Apply

Eligible partners interested in applying should consult the announcement for program funding, which outlines requirements for proposal applications. 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 assistance to producers in the project area. 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 two ways:

  1. At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
  2. Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area

Partnership Agreements

The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:

  1. Eligible activities to be implemented
  2. Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operation affected
  3. Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
  4. 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.

More Information

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 607KB)

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Watershed Planning and Water Quality Monitoring

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted

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