Pre-proposals for FY 2017 funding are no longer being accepted.
In 2016, NRCS is investing up to $220 million in 84 high-impact projects that impact every state in the nation, including two in Connecticut. This investment, which builds on the $800,000 invested for 2014 and 2015, will help conservation partners and agricultural producers conserve natural resources, leading to cleaner and more abundant water, healthier soil, enhanced wildlife habitat, and many other benefits.
Path to Reduce Pathogens in CT Agricultural Runoff
Proposed NRCS Investment: $669,000 (State) Lead Partner: University of Connecticut
Number of Partners: 4
Participating State(s): Connecticut
Bacteria levels in Connecticut’s rivers and shellfish beds are unacceptably high. This is, in part,
caused by agricultural runoff. To address the degradation of soil and water from agricultural operations, University of Connecticut will enlist partners and apply technical and financial assistance for the following objectives: 1) develop conservation partnerships focused on reducing pathogens associated with agricultural activities; 2) Use multi-tiered bacterial source tracking techniques to identify and target critical areas for treatment approaches; and 3) determine the opportunities for and barriers to producers and landowners in adopting pathogen conservation practices and evaluate the potential success of the project. Potential conservation practices to reduce pathogens will include composting, nutrient management, residue and tillage management, cover crops, fencing, buffers and filter strips, vegetated treatment areas and wetlands.
The Young Forest Initiative for At-Risk Species
Proposed NRCS Investment: $5.2 million (National) Lead Partner: Wildlife Management Institute
Number of Partners: 12
Participating State(s): Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire (lead state), New York,
Rhode Island & Vermont
This project will help increase technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private
forestland owners who implement practices outlined in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
that result in an increase in the quantity and quality of young forest habitats. This support is
critical, since young forest habitat is necessary to meet the critical needs of several
recognized at-risk species.
See a list of projects by state.
2015 Projects Selected (Connecticut)
Achieving Agricultural Water Security in Connecticut in partnership with the University of Connecticut.
Improving Soil Health and Water Quality in the Thames River Watershed in partnership with The Last Green Valley, Inc. (link forthcoming)
2015 Projects Selected (National)
Long Island Sound Watershed RCPP
Lead partner: Connecticut Council on Soil and Water Conservation
Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm management certainty program for farmers in the area and use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land protection program to protect agricultural and forestry areas.
Information on 1st Round Projects (2014-2015)
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.
2016 Program Information
Download the announcement for program funding from Grants.gov.
Read testimonials from NRCS partners on forming successful partnerships.
See questions and answers on RCPP.
Connecticut's priorities are:
- Water Quality Degradation
- Soil Erosion
- Soil Quality Degradation
- Degraded Plant Condition
- Livestock Production Limitations
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.
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 for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories:
Critical Conservation Areas
For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture. These receive 35 percent of funding. Learn more.
For nationwide and multistate projects. These receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.
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:
- 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.
Contact your local NRCS Service Center