The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is a partner-driven approach to conservation that funds solutions to natural resource challenges on agricultural land.
On This Page
RCPP Funding Opportunity and Improvement Effort
Applications are being accepted for RCPP projects now through August 18. In addition, in response to partner and employee feedback, NRCS has announced a concerted effort to streamline and simplify the program. Read the press release for more information. Visit the How to Apply page for details on how to apply and to read a list of frequently asked questions.
By leveraging collective resources and collaborating on common goals, RCPP demonstrates the power of public-private partnerships in delivering results for agriculture and conservation.
RCPP projects fall under two different categories: RCPP Classic and RCPP Grants. RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP Grants, the lead partner must work directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic.
2022 Awarded Projects
USDA Investing $197 Million in Partner-Driven, Locally led Conservation
NRCS is awarding $197 million for 41 locally led projects through RCPP Classic and Alternative Funding Arrangements (Grants) for 2022.
RCPP 2022 Projects
Learn about the 41 locally led conservation projects funded through RCPP Classic and Alternative Funding Arrangements (Grants) for 2022.
RCPP projects are happening in communities across the country.
RCPP Nutrient Management Grants
NRCS awarded two grants through RCPP to help producers achieve more efficient nutrient management within targeted Critical Conservation Areas.
Successful RCPP projects embody the following core principles:
1. Impact—RCPP applications must propose effective and compelling solutions that address one or more natural resource priorities to help solve natural resource challenges. Partners are responsible for evaluating a project’s impact and results.
2. Partner Contributions—Partners are responsible for identifying any combination of cash and in-kind value-added contributions to leverage NRCS’s RCPP investments. It is NRCS’s goal that partner contributions at least equal the NRCS investment in an RCPP project. Substantive partner contributions are given priority consideration as part of the RCPP application evaluation criteria.
3. Innovation—NRCS seeks projects that integrate multiple conservation approaches, implement innovative conservation approaches or technologies, build new partnerships, and effectively take advantage of program flexibilities to deliver conservation solutions.
4. Partnerships and Management—Partners must have experience, expertise, and capacity to manage the partnership and project, provide outreach to producers, and quantify the environmental outcomes of an RCPP project. RCPP ranking criteria give preference to applicants that meaningfully engage historically underserved farmers and ranchers.
RCPP Conservation Activities
RCPP projects may include a range of on-the-ground conservation activities implemented by farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. These activities include:
- Land management/land improvement/restoration practices
- Land rentals
- Entity-held easements
- United States-held easements
- Public works/watersheds
A single RCPP project application can propose to employ any combination of these eligible activity types as part of an RCPP project.
RCPP Funding Pools
RCPP funding is divided evenly among two funding pools:
Critical Conservation Areas
For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture. These receive 50 percent of funding. Learn more about RCPP Critical Conservation Areas.
For projects in a single state or across several states. These receive 50 percent of funding.
Who is Eligible
Eligible organizations interested in partnering with NRCS on conservation projects can develop applications for the RCPP competition. The lead partner for an RCPP project is the entity that submits an application, and if selected for an award is ultimately responsible for collaborating with NRCS to successfully complete an RCPP project.
See the RCPP funding announcement for details about what types of organizations are eligible to apply.
Producer and Landowner Eligibility
Once NRCS selects a project and executes an RCPP agreement with a lead partner, agricultural producers may participate in an RCPP project in one of two ways. First, producers may engage with project partners and delegate a willing partner to act as their representative in working with NRCS. Second, producers seeking to carry out conservation activities consistent with a RCPP project in the project’s geographic area can apply directly to NRCS.
RCPP projects must be carried out on agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land or associated land on which NRCS determines an eligible activity would help achieve conservation benefits (i.e., improved condition of natural resources resulting from implementation of conservation activities).
Eligible conservation activities may be implemented on public lands when those activities will benefit eligible lands as determined by NRCS and are included in the scope of an approved RCPP project.
How to Apply
Potential partners are invited to propose RCPP projects where NRCS and partners co-invest in impactful and innovative solutions to on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns.
Resources for Lead Partners
Resources to help awarded partners negotiate an RCPP Programmatic Partnership Agreement, Supplemental Agreements, and how to work with NRCS to implement conservation activities on the ground.
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.