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News Release

USDA to invest up to $360 million in partner-driven conservation

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Application period has opened for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

AMHERST, Mass., August 13, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invites 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 nationwide to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

This funding announcement introduces a new RCPP Critical Conservation Area (CCA): Northeast Forests and Waters. This CCA’s priority natural resource concerns include water quality; wildlife habitat; and degraded plant condition on farm and forest land. The boundaries of the CCA encompass Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as the Long Island Sound. NRCS requested public comment on the (CCA) and their associated priority resource concerns as part of a review allowed by the Farm Bill once every five years.

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

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

“RCPP brings an 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 funding announcement. Partners are expected to offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding 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 is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford, West Wareham and West Yarmouth, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.