Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Press Release

USDA Investing $197 Million in Partner-Driven, Locally Led Conservation

Publish Date
Barn in a field

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is awarding $197 million for 41 locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Four projects selected in Texas.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is awarding $197 million for 41 locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality, and address other critical challenges on agricultural land.  

“Our partners are experts in their fields and understand the challenges in their own backyards,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through RCPP we can tap into that knowledge, in partnership with producers and USDA, to come up with lasting solutions to the challenges that farmers, ranchers, and landowners face. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of public-private partnership at its best, made possible through these RCPP investments.”

The projects funded today are awarded under two different RCPP funding opportunities: RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners, and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFA, partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic. 

See the list of 2022 RCPP projects here or view the interactive map. offsite link image     

Texas projects include:

Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP)

The lead partner, Pecan Bayou Soil and Water Conservation District #553 primary goal through the Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP) is to increase surface water supplies by addressing brush infiltration onto rangelands in central Texas. The partnership plans to treat approximately 4,000 acres and re-seed treated areas with native perennials. A unique pay-for-performance approach will provide funding to producers based on estimated acre-feet of water yield increase.

Prairie Grasslands Conservation in Central Texas: GRIP

As the lead partner, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever goal of the Prairie Grassland Conservation in Central Texas project is to help producers incorporate proven grassland management practices into their operations to increase plant diversity and carbon sequestration, and reverse grassland bird losses caused by habitat degradation. The partnership will focus its efforts on a 30-county area in central Texas, aiming to work on at least 54,000 acres by contacting over 4,000 producers to recruit project participants. Many of the implemented practices, primarily chosen to benefit grassland bird species, will have a secondary benefit of improving or restoring habitat for monarch butterflies.

Nueces Watershed Additive Conservation Partnership

The Nueces River Watershed encompasses all or portions of 23 counties in south Texas and is responsible for approximately 60% of the recharge to the Edwards Aquifer. Over the past two decades, however, development has eaten into the agricultural land base of the watershed, threatening the region’s water resources. Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT) and nine partners plan to place conservation easements on almost 7,000 acres of farm and ranch lands with high conservation value, identified and targeted using geospatial analysis. Partnerships with Audubon Texas and Grassroots Carbon will connect producers with new marketing opportunities. The lead partner is Texas Agricultural Land Trust.

Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape RCPP

Joint Base San Antonio--Camp Bullis, which provides critical medical training facilities for all branches of the Armed Forces, faces numerous challenges to its mission including urban encroachment, increased droughts, floods, and wildfire risk, decreases in water quality and quantity, decreases in habitat for critical species, and ultimately an increased vulnerability to climate change. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and a unique coalition of military, conservation and agricultural organizations plan to use a combination of land management activities and conservation easements to address these resource concerns across an almost million-acre project area. Project funding will be targeted to lands with maximal conservation value to meet the goals and objectives of the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape. The lead partner is Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

As part of each project, partners offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding in an amount equal to or greater than the NRCS investment.   

Private landowners can apply to participate in an RCPP project in their region through awarded partners or at their local USDA service center offsite link image    .  

More Information 

First authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP has leveraged partner contributions of more than $1 for every $1 invested by USDA, resulting in nearly $3 billion collectively invested in natural resource conservation on private lands. Since inception, RCPP has made 589 awards involving over 3,000 partner organizations. Currently there are 401 active projects, with at least one active project in every state and area. Successful RCPP projects provide innovative conservation solutions, leverage partner contributions, and offer impactful and measurable outcomes. 

RCPP is part of NRCS’ broader effort to engage partners. For example, NRCS recently announced it will invest $35 million this year through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Through CIG, grantees work to address our nation's water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while supporting agricultural production. For more information about RCPP, visit the NRCS website.


Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit