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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

RCPP
Apply by: November 18, 2022

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with Tennessee partners that offer value-added contributions to expand our collective ability to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns.

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 Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFAs). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFAs, NRCS provides funding to partners to support conservation activities with eligible producers and landowners on eligible land. RCPP AFA funding reimburses partners for conservation activities done for or on behalf of producers, landowners, or other entities. 

Latest Information

RCPP Partners and Impact

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. 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.

See the 2023 awarded projects

See the 2020 - 2022 awarded projects

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. 

For more information on RCPP easements, visit the RCPP easement page


RCPP Funding Pools

RCPP funding is divided evenly among two funding pools:

NRCS RCPP Critical Conservation areas map

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.

 

NRCS RCPP States

State/Multistate
For projects in a single state or across several states. These receive 50 percent of funding. 


Who is Eligible

Partner Eligibility

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.

Land Eligibility

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.

More Information

How To Apply
Resources for Lead Partners
RCPP in Action
RCPP Easements

ACT NOW

NRCS is offering funding for partner-driven projects to improve water, quality, wildlife habitat, and reduce soil erosion in the Cumberland Plateau and Sequatchie Valley regions of Tennessee through the RCPP.

To be considered for program funding, applicants must operate land within the focus area of the respective RCPP project. The deadline to submit applications for FY 2024 funding is February 16, 2024.

Funding is available through the EQIP and ACEP-WRE under the RCPP Farm Bill program.

Funded FY 2024 RCPP projects include:

Ridges to Rivers: Protecting the Cumberland Plateau and the Sequatchie Valley for Aquatic Resources Management

The Ridges to Rivers partnership will be utilizing an ACT NOW approach. ACT NOW allows applications with a score greater than a pre-determined threshold to be preapproved once assessed and ranked until funds have been expelled.

  • ACT NOW RCPP Ridges to Rivers (10.0 – Minimum Threshold Ranking Score)

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

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