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USDA Updates RCPP Announcement to Clarify Forestry Eligibility

UPDATE: 

 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has re-posted a revised Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funding announcement, inviting potential conservation partners to submit project proposals for federal funding. NRCS will award up to $360 million to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability.

 

The original announcement stated, “Forest land eligibility does not encompass industrial forest lands that are owned by companies, organizations, and individuals who engage in commercially oriented forest management and production activities.”  NRCS has removed this language, which partners may have interpreted as limiting opportunities for RCPP projects on forest lands where eligible activities would help achieve conservation benefits.

 

NRCS has also extended the proposal deadline to November 30, 2020

 

To learn more about the opportunity for funding, read the August 6 announcement; and for more information on how to apply, view the Application for Program Funding on grants.gov.

 

 


 

ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has invited potential conservation partners to submit project applications for federal funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS will award up to $360 million dollars to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability.

 

“RCPP brings an expanded approach to investing in natural resource conservation that empowers local communities to work with multiple partners and agricultural producers to design solutions that work best for them,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.

 

Partners may request between $250,000 and $10 million in RCPP funding through this announcement and are expected to offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact in an amount equal or greater to the NRCS investment.

 

Eligible lead partners are encouraged to apply. Funding is open to private industry, non-government organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts, and universities, among others. The full list of eligible entities is available in the RCPP funding announcement.

 

First authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP has combined nearly $1 billion in NRCS investments with close to $2 billion in non-NRCS dollars to implement conservation practices across the nation. There are 336 active RCPP projects that have engaged more than 2,000 partners. Successful RCPP projects provide innovative conservation solutions, leverage partner contributions and offer impactful and measurable outcomes.

 

NRCS requested public comment on the RCPP Critical Conservation Areas (CCA) and their associated priority resource concerns as part of a review allowed by the Farm Bill once every five years. This funding announcement introduces CCA changes that resulted from the review, including Northeast Forests and Waters. This CCAs priority resource concerns include water quality and wildlife habitat. The boundaries of the CCA encompass Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

 

USDA is now accepting proposals for RCPP through the RCPP portal. Proposals are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on November 4, 2020. For more information, view the Application for Program Funding on grants.gov.

 

A webinar with general program information for RCPP applicants is scheduled for August 27, 2020, at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. Visit the RCPP website for information on how to participate.

 

For more information on RCPP, visit the RCPP website or contact Joyce Purcell at (860) 871-4028..