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USDA Awards New Partnership Projects in Connecticut

USDA has announced it is investing $330 million in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability – including two projects in Connecticut. Projects are awarded through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnerships working at their best,” said Thomas L. Morgart, NRCS State Conservationist in Connecticut. “These new projects will harness the power of partnerships to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Conservation Partnership Program has been awarded more than $6.7 million. Spearheaded by Amy Blaymore Paterson, Executive Director of the Connecticut Land Conservation Council (CLCC), and Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) this public-private partnership will use the funds to bolster the ability of Connecticut’s land trusts to save and enhance the region’s natural heritage, economy, and quality of life by increasing land conservation across the state.

Said Paterson, “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to partner with DEEP and NRCS to bring this significant source of match funding to the state’s land trust community at time when land conservation has never been more important and impactful. Collectively conserving and stewarding land in almost every municipality across the state, Connecticut’s land trusts are essential to meeting the state’s goal of conserving 21% of its land base (~673,210 acres) as well as the nation’s commitment to protecting 30% of its land and waters by 2030. With access to increased funding and technical assistance, Connecticut land trusts of all sizes have an enhanced opportunity to help meet these critical goals.”

“The State of Connecticut under the leadership of Governor Lamont has set ambitious goals to address the impacts of climate change,” said Katie Dykes, Commissioner of DEEP. “Ramping up state and local land conservation is pivotal to meeting those goals. DEEP is delighted to partner with CLCC to help more land trusts to pursue high quality land conservation projects in partnership with federal land conservation funding programs.”

“The alliance of CLCC and DEEP will bring significant land conservation efforts to a state where development of critical agricultural land is proliferating. The goals set by this partnership group are notable, and I’m pleased this agency gets to be a part of it,” said Connecticut NRCS State Conservationist Thomas L. Morgart.

Connecticut is also a part of two other selected projects. The first is in conjunction with the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The Regenerative Agriculture for Western New England project aims to use technical and financial assistance to improve soil health, water quality, and pollinator habitat on 550 livestock farms, complete conservation planning on 25,000 acres of cropland and pasture, and ensure long-term regenerative practice adoption on 15,000 acres. Project partners intend to model the conservation outcomes and estimate that landowner implementation activities will prevent surface water runoff of 2,500 tons of sediment, 12 tons of Nitrogen, and 4 tons of Phosphorous, while mitigating about 30,000 metric tons of CO2e. The second is in conjunction with the States of Massachusetts and New York. The Rensselaeer Plateau Alliance and a robust group of ten partners proposes a combination of conservation easements and land management activities to protect species of special concern and reduce non-point source pollution in the three states. A majority of project funding will go toward permanent conservation easements protecting thousands of acres of upland habitat for at-risk species in an area at high risk for farmland loss to development.

Across America, producers are seeing the impacts from climate change. Farmers, landowners, and local communities can be a major part of the effort to combat climate change.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity, and natural resources including our soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, including those through RCPP, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers, and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local, and Tribal governments. 

About RCPP

Through RCPP, conservation partners work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats, and increase climate resilience. 

RCPP partners offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding. These projects offer impactful and measurable outcomes. Throughout its history, 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. The Department anticipates the investments made today will generate at least $440 million in additional conservation funds by communities and other partners.

The interactive map of awarded RCPP projects may be viewed here.

There are currently 336 active RCPP projects that have engaged more than 2,000 partners. For more information, visit the RCPP website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit