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Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)



RCPP Coordinator: Joyce Purcell (860) 871-4028

RCPP Opportunities

Important Opportunity Available for Forestland or Woodland Owners

Are you a forestland owner looking to improve your woodland habitat for important bird species, and manage your woods for wildlife and people?

Connecticut NRCS, in partnership with The Last Green Valley, the MassConn Sustainable Forest Partnership (MassConn), and the Northern Rhode Island Conservation District has announced a sign-up period from now until April 17, 202, for woodland landowners who want to improve bird habitat and forest health on their property through implementation of forestry practices. Eligibility requirements include the land be within the priority area, that the applicant currently have a forest management plan with a bird habitat assessment, and be ready for implementation.

Additional eligibility for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will also apply.

Obtaining a management plan and an assessment requires having a professional forester walk your property and coordinate with the Audubon Society to produce a high-quality forest management plan that includes bird habitat. The plan will contain recommendations for management measures that align with your goals for the property and will meet federal and state requirements and may be used to apply for property tax reductions at the local level (where applicable). Interested landowners who don’t yet have such a plan may also be eligible for funding directly through the partnership.  More information is available on forest management plans at The Last Green Valley’s website.

The program is part of the $6.1 million Southern New England Heritage Forest conservation effort, an unprecedented three-state collaboration made possible through the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS funding is being matched. The Last Green Valley has been funding these combination plans for several years, so the goal is to open an implementation program so people who have secured a plan may now get the funding they need to begin.

To find out more, contact your local NRCS Service Center:

  • Danielson (860) 779-0557
  • Hamden (203) 287-8038
  • Norwich (860) 887-9941
  • Torrington (860) 626-8852
  • Windsor (860) 688-7725

Visit The Last Green Valley for links to the application materials, 


The Last Green Valley Announces Opportunity for Ag Producers to Improve their Soil Health 

The Last Green Valley offsite link imagehas announced it is accepting applications from agricultural producers under a project titled, Improving Soil Health and Water Quality in the Thames River Watershed. Producers must be located in the watershed and must submit applications by Friday, June 15, 2018, to be considered. The project is funded under the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Healthy soil practices are important to conserve resources and improve farm economics. Ag producers can save money while building healthy soils and improving water quality in rivers and streams. The funds available will help implement conservation practices in the field that can save time, effort, and money.

By improving soil health, producers can reduce erosion, runoff, pest management, weed problems, fertilizer use, and fuel consumption, as well as mitigate drought with soils that hold more moisture.

Technical assistance is available to help producers navigate the system, calculate the economic benefits of different conservation practices, and implement new practices in their fields.

Interested? Contact one of the project partners to learn more:

  • Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D)
    Amanda Fargo-Johnson
  • Eastern Connecticut Conservation District (ECCD)
    Dan Mullins
    860- 887-4163 X 402
  • The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV)
    Lois Bruinooge
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
      - Danielson Field Office - 860-779-0557
    ‚Äč  - Norwich Field Office - 860-887-3604

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CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Announces Partnership with NRCS State Agency Seeks Potential Program Participants

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Wildlife Division is happy to announce its new partnership with NRCS and the Wildlife Management Institute to cooperate on the Regional Young Forest Initiative for At-Risk Species.

Funding is made possible through a partnership under NRCS' Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Participating states include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The joint project will increase the capacity to provide technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private forestland owners wishing to implement practices outlined in NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). In Connecticut, the program will result in an increase in the quantity and quality of young forest habitat essential to New England cottontail rabbits, American woodcock, and over 50 other species associated with young forest habitat.

Focus areas have been established based on species occurrence and landscape factors that deem certain specific geographic areas most likely to result in positive responses to management treatments by these target wildlife species.

Practices that will  create young forest habitat include forest and wildlife planning, brush mowing, non-native invasive plant control, prescribed burning, tree/shrub plantings, early successional forest habitat management, and brush pile creation. Presently, DEEP staff are reaching out to potential program participants. The process would include a site review and plan development by a forester and wildlife biologist.

For additional information, contact either Lisa Wahle at (860) 424-4138; or Nick Zito at (860) 424-4044.

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Trout Unlimited Seeks Applications for Funding Opportunity through USDA Program
Trout Unlimited partnering with Natural Resources Conservation Service to focus on water quality and stream habitat improvements on private land along Salmon Creek in Northwestern Connecticut

Trout Unlimited (TU) is accepting proposals for projects to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability. Funding for selected projects is through TU’s partnership with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Projects must be located on private lands along the mainstem Salmon Creek, near the Town of Salisbury.

Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP investments of nearly $600 million have already driven 199 partner-led projects nationwide, including five in Connecticut. The program leverages local leadership to establish partnerships that may include private companies, local and tribal governments, universities, non-profits, and other non-government partners to work with farmers and forest landowners on landscape- and watershed-scale conservation solutions. Although funds are made available through NRCS, applicants must be able to match the federal award with private or local monies.

“Across the country, locally-driven efforts are having a positive effect on conservation and wildlife habitat improvements,” said Tracy Brown, Trout Unlimited’s Northeastern Restoration Coordinator. “RCPP serves as a valuable vehicle for matching federal investment and private capital to advance natural resource conservation and support agricultural production. Partners in RCPP projects are matching USDA funding more than two-to-one.”

Trout Unlimited is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Since 2012, TU has been working with private landowners to improve water quality and habitat conditions on Salmon Creek as part of the Salmon Creek Enhancement and Restoration Project.

“For this round of funding, TU and NRCS will focus conservation efforts on Salmon Creek,” said Brown. “The projects will be in-stream and riparian habitat improvements, with the goal of improving water quality and wildlife habitat on this important Housatonic River tributary.”

For more information on applying, contact Tracy Brown at (860) 397-5248.

2016 Projects Selected

In 2016, NRCS is investing up to $220 million in 84 high-impact projects that impact every state in the nation, including two in Connecticut. This investment, which builds on the $800,000 invested for 2014 and 2015, will help conservation partners and agricultural producers conserve natural resources, leading to cleaner and more abundant water,  healthier soil, enhanced wildlife habitat, and many other benefits.

Path to Reduce Pathogens in CT Agricultural Runoff (batching date is May 15, 2020) (NEW) 

USDA and UConn Accepting Applications for Project to Reduce Pathogens in Watersheds in Eastern Connecticut

The University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR), and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Connecticut have announced that applications are being accepted for funding under the Path to Reduce Pathogens in Connecticut Agricultural Runoff RCPP-EQIP project. Technical assistance is also available to help producers develop conservation plans, calculate costs and benefits of each conservation practice, and implement new practices at their facility.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements, as well as through program contracts or easement agreements. Assistance is delivered in accordance with the rules of NRCS programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Applicants must be EQIP-eligible and prepared to implement practices to address degradation of soil or water resources from agricultural operations. Potential conservation practices to reduce pathogens could include composting, nutrient management, residue and tillage management, cover crops, fencing, buffers and filter strips, and vegetated treatment areas.  

The Paths to Reduce Pathogens in Connecticut Agricultural Runoff project will help reduce pathogens into Connecticut’s waterways to protect the economic, recreational, and aquatic life support functions. By reducing pathogens from agricultural runoff, beach closures can be reduced, and shell fishing habitat improved. Agricultural producers submitting applications must be located in the Thames River Watershed, or one of the state’s southeast coastal watersheds that drain directly into the Long Island Sound.

To be considered for FY2020 funding, applications must be submitted by May 15, 2020.

Interested? Contact one of the project partners to learn more:

University of Connecticut

  • Dr. Michael Dietz (860) 486-2436

Eastern CT Conservation District, Inc.

  • Maura Robie (860) 319-8807

Natural Resources Conservation Service

  • William Purcell, Danielson, (860) 412-5258
  • Garrett Timmons, Norwich, (860) 319-8803


Proposed NRCS Investment: $669,000 (State) Lead Partner: University of Connecticut
Number of Partners: 4
Participating State(s): Connecticut
Bacteria levels in Connecticut’s rivers and shellfish beds are unacceptably high. This is, in part,
caused by agricultural runoff. To address the degradation of soil and water from agricultural operations, University of Connecticut will enlist partners and apply technical and financial assistance for the following objectives: 1) develop conservation partnerships focused on reducing pathogens associated with agricultural activities; 2) Use multi-tiered bacterial source tracking techniques to identify and target critical areas for treatment approaches; and 3) determine the opportunities for and barriers to producers and landowners in adopting pathogen conservation practices and evaluate the potential success of the project. Potential conservation practices to reduce pathogens will include composting, nutrient management, residue and tillage management, cover crops, fencing, buffers and filter strips, vegetated treatment areas and wetlands.

The Young Forest Initiative for At-Risk Species

Proposed NRCS Investment: $5.2 million (National) Lead Partner: Wildlife Management Institute
Number of Partners: 12
Participating State(s): Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire (lead state), New York,
Rhode Island & Vermont

This project will help increase technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private
forestland owners who implement practices outlined in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
that result in an increase in the quantity and quality of young forest habitats. This support is
critical, since young forest habitat is necessary to meet the critical needs of several
recognized at-risk species.

See a list of projects by state.

Additional Resources

2015 Projects Selected (Connecticut)

Long Island Sound Watershed RCPP (National)
Lead partner: Connecticut Council on Soil and Water Conservation

Excess nutrients have been identified as the primary driver of hypoxic conditions in Long Island Sound and are also impacting upland water resources within the watershed, which encompasses areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. This project will develop a comprehensive, whole-farm management certainty program for farmers in the area and use both working lands and easement programs to improve soil health and nutrient management, establish community resiliency areas with a focus on enhancing riparian areas, and institute a land protection program to protect agricultural and forestry areas.

State Projects Selected 2015

Information on 1st Round Projects (2014-2015)


The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.

RCPP combines the authorities of four former conservation programs – the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and the Great Lakes Basin Program. Assistance is delivered in accordance with the rules of EQIP, CSP, ACEP and HFRP; and in certain areas the Watershed Operations and Flood Prevention Program. 

2016 Program Information

Download the announcement for program funding from

Read testimonials from NRCS partners on forming successful partnerships.

See questions and answers on RCPP.

Connecticut's Priorities

Connecticut's priorities are:

  • Water Quality Degradation
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Livestock Production Limitations


RCPP encourages partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales.

Through RCPP, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas.  Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved. 


Eligible Partners - Agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmer cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education.

Eligible Participants - Under RCPP, eligible producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement. 


Funding for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories:

Thumbnail of map outlining CCA areas Thumbnail of map of US salmon-colored placeholder map

Critical Conservation Areas

For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture. These receive 35 percent of funding. Learn more.


For nationwide and multistate projects. These receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.


For projects in a single state. These receive 25 percent of funding. Learn more.


NRCS Programs Used in RCPP - Conservation program contracts and easement agreements are implemented through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). NRCS may also utilize the authorities under the Watershed and Flood Prevention Program, other than the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, in the designated critical conservation areas.

How to Apply

Eligible partners interested in applying should consult the announcement for program funding, which outlines requirements for proposal applications. NRCS will review partnership proposals according to the priorities identified in the announcement and make project selections. Upon selection of a partnership proposal, NRCS and the partner will enter into a partnership agreement through which they will coordinate to provide assistance to producers in the project area. Partnership agreements may be for a period of up to five years. NRCS may extend an agreement one time for an additional 12 months if needed to meet the objectives of the program.

 RCPP Infographic

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Full-sized infographic (JPG, 2MB)

Text alternate format (TXT, 1KB)

Producers may apply for RCPP assistance in two ways:

  1. At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
  2. Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area

Partnership Agreements

The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:

  1. Eligible activities to be implemented
  2. Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operation affected
  3. Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
  4. Planning, outreach, implementation, and assessment to be conducted. Partners are responsible for contributing to the cost of the project, conducting outreach and education to eligible producers for potential participation in the project and for conducting an assessment of the project’s effects. In addition, partners may act on behalf of the eligible landowner or producer in applying for assistance and for leveraging financial or technical assistance provided by NRCS with additional funds to help achieve the project objectives.

Before closing the agreement the partner must provide an assessment of the project costs and conservation effects.


More Information

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 607KB)

the following link(s) takes you off the NRCS websiteWatershed Authorities

Watershed Planning and Water Quality Monitoring

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

Contact your local NRCS Service Center