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RCPP 2022 Projects

Farmer-to-Farmer Collaboration: Increasing Pollinators Across Diverse California Farms and Ranches

Lead Partner: Pollinator Partnership

Lead State: CA Partner States: Award: $1,723,183
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $1,723,186

Project Summary:

The Farmer-to-Farmer Collaboration’s goal is to increase capacity of California agricultural lands to provide habitat, forage, and other support to wild and managed pollinators, including bees, butterflies and other important invertebrate species. A broad partnership including the Almond Board of California, Bayer Crop Science and the California Farm Bureau plans to use grower connections to secure the participation of producers across a wide swath of the 10-county project area. Project partners will use a GIS tool to guide practice implementation, including the planting of new pollinator habitat and the expanded use of integrated pest management and prescribed grazing.

Life From Soil: The Ranching Sustainability and Viability Planning Network

Lead Partner: World Wildlife Fund

Lead State: MT Partner States: NE, SD Award: $2,857,143
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,867,143

Project Summary

The goal of the Life from Soil project is to improve the ecological function of over 500,000 acres of grasslands in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota by 2027. Participating ranchers will enroll in World Wildlife Fund’s Ranch Systems and Viability Planning Network (which already has under 420,000 acres enrolled in the Northern Great Plains), which creates a support system for ranchers interested in making ecological improvements and enhancing the financial sustainability of their operations. Participating ranchers agree to zero conversion of their grasslands for ten years, as well as developing and implementing a written grazing management plan; completing trainings on grazing management, monitoring, and other topics; and participating in on-ranch ecological monitoring. These changes will produce a variety of benefits for ranches supported through the project, including improved soil health and water filtration, increased habitat for wildlife, reduced emissions through carbon storage and sequestration, improved financial sustainability, and stronger social networks among ranchers.

Iowa Working Lands Conservation Partnership

Lead Partner: Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Lead State: IA Partner States: Award: $5,844,156
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $5,519,550

Project Summary

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will expand and build upon successful locally-led efforts working collaboratively with cattle farmers to increase the resilience of their operations and improve conservation outcomes. Implemented through the use of precision ag and conservation planning tools, project partners plan to measure success by modeling reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon equivalents within the project area. Project goals include planting over 200,000 acres of cover crops, 10,000 acres of extended rotations, 10,000 acres of forage and biomass planting, 100 grade stabilization structures, and implementation of associated support practices.

Financing Climate Smart Agriculture in Ohio's Miami Valley

Lead Partner: one.two.five Benefit Corporation

Lead State: OH Partner States: Award: $2,900,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,924,500

Project Summary

Targeting an urban and rural network of BIPOC farmers as well as non-BIPOC farmers, the Financing Climate Smart Agriculture project will spur the adoption of NRCS-based conservation practices and systems designed to enhance soil quality and soil carbon storage. This project will advance the most pressing issues for climate smart agriculture, including soil carbon capture and retention by establishing a pay-for -performance compensation approach for farmers who adopt climate-smart agriculture practices and systems. The project area encompasses a diverse landscape of urban and rural and small and large farms and is home to over 1 million inhabitants, 5,000 farms and 8,000 producers spread across six counties.

Iowa Climate Smart Switchgrass Cropping System Transition

Lead Partner: FDC Enterprises, Inc.

Lead State: IA Partner States: Award: $7,071,429
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $14,160,000

Project Summary

The Iowa Climate Smart Switchgrass Cropping System Transition project aims to Improve carbon sequestration, soil health, and reduce nutrient runoff while also improving profit on farms in southern Iowa by developing a Climate Smart Switchgrass Cropping System (CSSGCS). Project objectives include: (1) transition 5000 acres of sensitive traditional row crow agriculture in areas in greated need of soil erosion control and water quality, (2) sequester soil carbon up to 1.79 tons per acre per year, (3) increase farmer net income per acre by 15%, (4) demonstrate effectiveness of CSSGCS, and build a long-term CSSGCS market for emerging erosion control products.

Western Oregon Cascades Recovery Effort Climate-Smart Reforestation and Recovery Assistance

Lead Partner: Sustainable Northwest

Lead State: OR Partner States: Award: $5,000,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $5,235,658

Project Summary

A partnership led by Sustainable Northwest plans to address forest health, fuel accumulation, erosion, and wildlife habitat resource concerns with forest landowners in the footprint of the 2020 Labor Day fires across the western Oregon Cascades. The project’s objectives are to build scalable solutions for post-fire recovery and reforestation, coordinate producer outreach, and facilitate forest management planning and seedling sourcing across multiple fire-impacted areas. Previous outreach and sign-up efforts illustrated a substantial backlog and pent up demand, which the partnership plans to address using a streamlined AFA planning, contracting and payment approach.

Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP)

Lead Partner: Pecan Bayou SWCD #553

Lead State: TX Partner States: Award: $1,818,182
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $1,518,000

Project Summary

The primary goal of the Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP) is to increase surface water supplies by addressing brush infiltration onto rangelands in central Texas. The partnership plans to treat approximately 4,000 acres and re-seed treated areas with native perennials. A unique pay-for-performance approach will provide funding to producers based on estimated acre-feet of water yield increase.

Tualatin Basin Habitat Conservation Partnership

Lead Partner: Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District

Lead State: OR Partner States: Award: $1,493,674
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $1,929,339

Project Summary

The Tualatin Basin Habitat Conservation Partnership proposes to remove barriers that obstruct migration access for native migratory fish in the Gales Creek Watershed in northwest Oregon. These barriers, including dams and inadequate culverts, limit migratory passage for threatened and non-threatened species such as salmon, steelhead and lamprey. and expand spawning and rearing accessibility for anadromous species. In addition to barrier removal, the project will establish native vegetation on streambanks and riparian areas to provide stream shading to help protect water quality from sediment, nutrient, and pesticide runoff. The presence of highly skilled local entities that can streamline the planning and implementation of project activities with landowners makes this an ideal AFA proejct.

Farmland Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation

Lead Partner: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Farmland Preservation

Lead State: PA Partner States: Award: $7,850,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $12,795,255

Project Summary

The Farmland Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation project will leverage State and county farmland preservation investments to complement the use of RCPP funds to install climate smart practices and systems on Pennsylvania farms. The proposal builds on a successful 2018 RCPP award. Soil health practices and systems, as well as helping transition producers to organic production, will be the focus of the land management element of the project. Project partners will use COMET-Farm to model the greenhouse gas benefits of project activities.

Increasing Landscape Resiliency in Virginia's Top Producing Agricultural Region

Lead Partner: Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley

Lead State: VA Partner States: Award: $4,596,125
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $7,210,527

Project Summary

The goal of the Increasing Landscape Resiliency in Virginia's Top Producing Agricultural Region project is to preserve working family farms and increase climate resiliency in one of our nation’s most iconic landscapes. In Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley , only 60 miles from the Capital Beltway, pressure to convert farmland to residential and commercial development is constant. Project partners plan to use the results of a rigorous modeling effort to target conservation easement funding to parcels with the highest conservation value. The partnership includes the Black Family Land Trust, an entity uniquely equipped to help secure the participation of historically underserved landowners.

Lake Decatur Water Quality Initiative

Lead Partner: City of Decatur IL

Lead State: IL Partner States: Award: $9,883,117
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $15,331,239

Project Summary

Lake Decatur Water Quality Initiative’s objective is to collaborate with NRCS and over 50 partners to help producers and landowners adopt Climate-Smart practices that achieve measurable and quantifiable improvements in water quality, specifically reducing sediment and nitrates, in the Mississippi River Basin Critical Conservation Area. The project aims to reduce annually up to 50% of sediment and 20% of nitrate loading to the local water supply reservoir. The partnership will leverage existing watershed plans to target funding to lands where conservation actions wil have the greatest impact.

Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program

Lead Partner: Whatcom County

Lead State: WA Partner States: Award: $1,175,325
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $1,217,200

Project Summary

The Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program’s (CEP) purpose is to permanently preserve farm and forest land to maintain economically viable natural resource industries in northwest Washington. Many of the working lands targeted by this project are zoned for rural development, placing increasing threats to our agricultural and forest industries. The project leverages existing farm and forest land preservation programs. The partnership plans to use part of the RCPP funding to engage limited resource producers as beneficiaries of buy-protect-sell easement transactions.

Improving Oak Ecosystem Health in the Great Lakes Region

Lead Partner: American Bird Conservancy

Lead State: WI Partner States: IL Award: $5,410,596
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $16,937,237

Project Summary

The Improving Oak Ecosystem Health in the Great Lakes Region project will restore, enhance, and protect oak ecosystems (forests, woodlands, and savannas) at a landscape scale to improve ecosystem health, connectivity, and biological diversity on private lands in regions of Illinois and Wisconsin where oak ecosystems historically thrived. The partnership of over 20 entities plans to use a mix of conservation easements and land management activities to protect and enhance habitat for at-risk species of birds, pollinators, herptiles, mammals, and degraded plant communities. The project will leverage an existing Oak Ecosystem Recovery Plan to help target funding to high priority areas.

Rend Lake Watershed Conservation Initiative

Lead Partner: Jefferson County SWCD

Lead State: IL Partner States: Award: $2,142,857
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $3,797,140

Project Summary

This project partnership has thirteen partners that plan to pursue climate-smart agriculture goals published in the Rend Lake TMDL watershed-based plan. Rend Lake is a critical resevoir for over 300,000 residents in southern Illinois. The partnership will work with producers and landowners to help implement climate-smart ag practices to reduce nutrient pollution in the watershed. The partnership plans to engage in outreach to a variety of local stakeholders and producer groups including urban agriculture producers, community leaders, and historically underserved producers in the agricultural community.

Unlocking societal and environmental benefits in the Kankakee watershed by expanding conservation efforts.

Lead Partner: Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Lead State: IN Partner States: IL Award: $7,954,545
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $7,954,777

Project Summary

The primary goal of this project is to address flooding and nutrient pollution issues in Kankakee and Iroquois watershed. The Kankakee flows today through what was once one of the largest wetlands in North America. The partnership of over 40 entities will work in the 11-county project area to facilitate the installation of 3000 acres of conservation cover, two-miles of two-state ditches, and 800 acres of wetland easements. A combination of modeling and water quality monitoring will be used to report project outcomes.

Upper Yellowstone Watershed Conservation Partnership

Lead Partner: Gallatin Valley Land Trust

Lead State: MT Partner States: Award: $7,850,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $24,200,000

Project Summary

The Upper Yellowstone Watershed Conservation Partnership plans to implement a nationally significant conservation project to protect and enhance critical wildlife migration corridors, historic agricultural lands and water quality in the Upper Yellowstone River Watershed of Montana. This area provides critical wintering range and migratory routes for elk, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Project partners recently completed an analysis that identified 30 high-priority ranches to target for conservation activities. The partnership plans to place conservation easements on up to 15,000 acres and implement climate-smart land management practices and systems on an additional 4-6 properties.

Prairie Grasslands Conservation in Central Texas: GRIP

Lead Partner: Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever

Lead State: TX Partner States: Award: $3,335,065
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $3,325,000

Project Summary

The goal of the Prairie Grassland Conservation in Central Texas project is to help producers incorporate proven grassland management practices into their operations to increase plant diversity and carbon sequestration, and reverse grassland bird losses caused by habitat degradation. The partnership will focus its efforts on a 30-county area in central Texas, aiming to work on at least 54,000 acres by contacting over 4,000 producers to recruit project participants. Many of the implemented practices, primarily chosen to benefit grassland bird species, will have a secondary benefit of improving or restoring habitat for monarch butterflies.

Conservation Easements in the Black Hills of SD

Lead Partner: South Dakota Agricultural Land Trust

Lead State: SD Partner States: Award: $4,254,545
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $5,454,545

Project Summary

The Black Hills of South Dakota are experiencing an accelerated rate of exurban growth that threatens the continuity of forest/grassland ecosystems. This project plans to place conservation easements on almost 3,000 acres of farm and ranch lands, providing perpetual protection in this unique area. The target parcels for this project abut National Forest land and would protect grass meadows, an important foraging habitat for both livestock and wildlife in the region.

NJ COASTAL Aquaculture Project

Lead Partner: Partner Organization Ocean County Soil Conservation District

Lead State: NJ Partner States: Award: $961,227
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $961,228

Project Summary

The partnership leading the NJ COASTAL Aquaculture Project aims to enhance aquatic habitat on shellfish leases and improve water quality throughout the Coastal Bays of New Jersey by increasing producer participation in NRCS conservation programs. RCPP funding will be used to increase regonal shellfish aquaculturist participation in oyster reef creation. Project success will be evaluated through documentation of oyster growth and/or spat set increases coupled with estimating oyster filtration rates.

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

Lead Partner: Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute

Lead State: TN Partner States: Award: $10,000,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $11,829,731

Project Summary

The Ridges to Rivers partnership, with over fifteen contributing partners, plans to work with producers and landowners in a seven-county area in the Tenneessee River Basin to improve water quality and and aid the recovery of imperiled aquatic species. The project area is home to five threatened or endangered species, including the Laurel Dace, known only from headwater streams in the project area. A mix of land management practices and conservation easements will be used to restore degraded habitats and protect parcels critical to stream health. Partner contributions will lead to extensive producer and landowner outreach and the development and use of sophisticated geospatial tools to help target project activities.

Nueces Watershed Additive Conservation Partnership

Lead Partner: TALT

Lead State: TX Partner States: Award: $7,349,220
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $18,360,5000

Project Summary

The Nueces River Watershed encompasses all or portions of 23 counties in south Texas and is responsible for approximately 60% of the recharge to the Edwards Aquifer. Over the past two decades, however, development has eaten into the agricultural land base of the watershed, threatening the region’s water resources. TALT and nine partners plan to place conservation easements on almost 7,000 acres of farm and ranch lands with high conservation value, identified and targeted using geospatial analysis. Partnerships with Audubon Texas and Grassroots Carbon will connect producers with new marketing opportunities.

Southeast Harney County, Oregon Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy

Lead Partner: Harney Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD)

Lead State: OR Partner States: Award: $3,292,207
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $9,767,551

Project Summary

The Southeast Harney County, Oregon Sage-Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy project goal is to reduce primary threats to Greater sage-grouse and improve habitat quality and quantity by accelerating implementation of conservation actions on private lands. This project will expand participation in the Conservation Agreemenst and Assurances program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which has proven to restore wildlife habitats while creating opportunities for landowners and benefiting rural economies. Ecological objectives include: Reduce wildfire risk, Treat invasive annual grasses/noxious weeds and augment understory vegetation, Minimize juniper/conifer encroachment, Improve grazing management strategies, plan and implement actions to connect fragmented habitat, and enhance mesic habitat.

Bear River Watershed Agriculture and Habitat Connectivity

Lead Partner: Bear River Land Conservancy

Lead State: UT Partner States: ID, WY Award: $7,850,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $15,150,639

Project Summary

The Bear River Watershed Agriculture and Habitat Connectivity project covers areas of Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. At the heart of the watershed, the Bear River meanders over 500 miles on its path to Great Salt Lake and is the largest river in the western hemisphere that never reaches an ocean. Unprecedented growth and development are resulting in significant fragmentation that impacts agriculture and wildlife. Bear River Land Conservancy and a coalition of over ten partners plans to combine conservation easements and land management activities to protect and connect terrestrial, riparian, and aquatic habitats and to preserve working lands as a viable component of the landscape. A sophisticated geospatial analytical tool will be used to target project funding to areas with the highest conservation value.

Implementing a strategy to rapidly restore agriculturally impaired streams in Central PA

Lead Partner: Chesapeake Conservancy

Lead State: PA Partner States: Award: $9,996,006
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $11,494,983

Project Summary

Several years of strategic outreach by project partners have set the stage for this project—over 30 agricultural producers in six central Pennsylvania counties stand ready to implement conservation practices and systems that would help address water quality and wildlife habitat concerns for 18 streams listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. The Chesapeake Conservancy and thirteen partners will work with NRCS to accelerate conservation improvements to work toward eventual delisting of the streams. Nutrient reductions will be modeled to facilitate reporting of project outcomes.

Establishment of Grassland Strongholds across the Southern High Plains

Lead Partner: The Nature Conservancy

Lead State: CO Partner States: Award: $10,000,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $10,200,000

Project Summary

The Nature Conservancy and over 10 partners have spent years developing the Grassland Strongholds strategy, designed to create large ares of conserved and preserved grasslands within the Prairie Grasslands CCA. RCPP funding will be used to place conservation easements on more than 40,000 acres, kickstarting the effort with a substantial investment that is matched by over $10 million in partner contributions. In addition, short-term rental agremeents covering 3,000-16,000 acres will be used to advance conservation and help build relationships with landowners toward longer-term conservation. The partnership will explore the use of carbon emission reduction projects, specifically those preventing the conversion of native grassland to cropland, as a method of matching NRCS investment in long-term conservation practices, further increasing the amount of economic stimulus that can be deployed into rural communities.

Ashwaubenon Creek and Dutchman Creek (ACDC) Watersheds Water Quality and Habitat

Lead Partner: New Water

Lead State: WI Partner States: Award: $2,980,792
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $5,326,834

Project Summary

NEW Water, the water utility serving Green Bay, WI, and partners plan to make lasting improvements to two subwatersheds—Ashwaubenon Creek and Dutchman Creek—of the Lower Fox River watershed. RCPP funding will be used to help agricultural producers and landowners implement land management conservation activities to address water quality degradation and inadequate habitat for fish, wildlife, and invertebrates. RCPP funding will be complemented by substantial partner contributions from NEW Water and other local partners.

Little Colorado River Watershed Restoration Project

Lead Partner: Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management

Lead State: AZ Partner States: Award: $454,545
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $650,000

Project Summary

Parts of the Little Colorado River Watershed are at high risk for wildfire due to high fuel loads. Arizona’s Department of Forestry and Fire Management, along with other partners, plans to treat private forestlands in the watershed to reduce fueld loads and the risk of catastrophic wildfire that would lead to habitat loss for pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and other key wildlife species. The Little Colorado River is also the primary source of drinking water for the town of Eager, AZ.

Conjunctive Water Use Protects Mid-South Acquifers

Lead Partner: Ducks Unlimited, Inc.

Lead State: LA Partner States: AZ, MS Award: $7,850,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $10,000,000

Project Summary

Conjunctive water use is the coordinated use of ground and surface water resources. Ducks Unlimited and more than 10 partners plan to help farmers implement practices and systems that increase the availability of surface water resources for irrigation while increasing irrigation efficiency, with the aim of reducing dependency on dwindling Mid-South aquifers. Project partners will offer additional technical and financial assistance to particpating producers, including the Arkansas Department of Agriculture which offers State tax credits to producers who improve on-farm water storage. dwater to surface water sources for irrigation. The project will also realize climate benefits with the conversion of up to 250 farms from diesel to electric irrigation systems.

Working Forests for Wildlife and Climate in Western Maine

Lead Partner: New England Forestry Foundation, Inc.

Lead State: ME Partner States: Award: $1,500,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,822,590

Project Summary

The New England Forestry Foundation and its partners plan to improve forest productivity, restore and enhance fish, bird, and wildlife habitats and increase the resilience of western Maine’s forests in the face of climate change. The partnership will perform outreach to recruit particpating private landowners, then apply an innovative conservation forestry approach to properties that synthesizes NRCS conservation planning approach and forestry practices with NEFF’s Exemplary Forestry Standards for the Acadian Forest and integrates guidance developed by our sub-partners, including Maine Audubon’s Forestry for Maine Birds habitat assessment tool. The four county project area in western Maine is renown for its ecological and habitat values, including the largest moose population in the Lower 48 and rivers that sustain the last native populations of endangered Atlantic salmon in the United States.

Upper Sheyenne River Watershed Pilot Project

Lead Partner: Barr Engineering

Lead State: ND Partner States: Award: $2,142,857
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,234,248

Project Summary

The goals of the Upper Sheyenne River Watershed Pilot Project (Project) are to implement best management practices that address priority resource concerns for the Sheyenne River for improved channel stability and water quality. A comprehensive assessment of the Upper Sheyenne was recently completed and identified priority sites for stream bank restoration and improved riparian management. Project objectives focus on changes to riparian vegetation, grazing practices, improving fish passage, targeted bank stabilization measures, reduction in nutrient loading, and overall benefits to water quality.

War Eagle Creek Watershed Initiative

Lead Partner: Beaver Watershed Alliance

Lead State: AR Partner States: Award: $2,400,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,629,684

Project Summary

The War Eagle Creek Watershed (WECW) Initiative will advance landscape-scale conservation and provide source water protection for more than 550,00 residents of Northwest Arkansas. War Eagle Creek is the largest tributary in the Beaver Lake watershed and is a contributor of both sediment and phosphorus with several creek segments not meeting State standards. Reduction of sediment and nutrient loadings will be achieved by working with partners, producers, and landowners to implement innovative and traditional land management practices. In addition, at least one large stream restoration project will be implemented along War Eagle Creek.

Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape RCPP

Lead Partner: Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Lead State: TX Partner States: Award: $8,571,429
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $11,045,540

Project Summary

Joint Base San Antonio--Camp Bullis, which provides critical medical training facilities for all branches of the Armed Forces, faces numerous challenges to its mission including urban encroachment, increased droughts, floods, and wildfire risk, decreases in water quality and quantity, decreases in habitat for critical species, and ultimately an increased vulnerability to climate change. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and a unique coalition of miltary, conservation and agricultural organizations plan to use a combination of land management activities and conservation easements to address these resource concerns across an almost million-acre project area. Project funding will be targeted to lands with maximal conservation value to meet the goals and objectives of the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape.

O'ahu North Shore Working Wetlands

Lead Partner: O'ahu Resource Conservation and Development Council

Lead State: HI Partner States: Award: $3,341,098
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $4,597,145

Project Summary

The O'ahu North Shore Working Wetlands project will focus on strategically enhancing wetland management of lowland agricultural operations on O’ahu’s North Shore in order to sustain both indigenous cropping systems and critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian waterbirds. A combination of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), biocultural restoration techniques and other conservation practices will be used to remove invasive species, restore native wetland species, and help create a more climate resilient indigenous food system. Since 2020, Oahu RC&D has worked with NRCS and local partners to inventory opportunities for indigenous agriculture and wetland management on Oahu’s North Shore. This project will benefit from this analysis as locations ripe for restoration have already been identified.

Upper Pearl River At-Risk Species and Source Water, Phase II

Lead Partner: Wildlife Mississippi

Lead State: MS Partner States: Award: $2,883,929
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,490,600

Project Summary

Phase II of the Upper Pearl River At-Risk Species and Source Water Protection Project will build on current efforts underway in phase I of the project to protect, restore and sustainably manage native forest habitats, associated riparian and wetland areas. Wildlife Mississippi and four partners will use conservation easements to protect critical farmland, forest land and Tribal lands to safeguard the last remaining portion of unprotected private lands upstream of Mississippi's largest source of drinking water for the majority-African American city of Jackson. Project activities will also protect and enhance critical habitat for migratory birds and a turtle species listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Partner contributions provided by the Carbon Fund will be used to report on the carbon sequestration benefits of the project.

Preserving Upriver Farms to Reduce Flooding in NC-Phase II

Lead Partner: North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Lead State: NC Partner States: Award: $7,090,909
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $10,000,000

Project Summary

The North Caroline Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services plans to implement phase II of a phased project that aims to reduce the negative impacts of soil erosion and runoff in the Piedmont and Sandhills river basins of North Carolina. The project should result in the permanent protection of over 4,000 acres of working farms and forests in the Neuse River Basin. In addition to protection of working farms, these conservation easements will provide additional benefits of reduced erosion and improved water quality in the 8-county project area.

Farmers Helping Hellbenders

Lead Partner: Purdue University

Lead State: IN Partner States: Award: $2,669,966
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $2,721,614

Project Summary

The Eastern Hellbender is the largest salamander in North America—adults can weigh up to four pounds. The goal of Purdue University’s project is to improve Hellbender habitat in a four county region in south central Indiana, the only remaining habitat for Hellbenders in the State. Purdue and 14 contributing partners plan to expand the use of agricultural conservation practices that lead to decreased sedimentation in local rivers systems. Sedimentation is a major cause of Hellbender decline and reduced sedimentation will increase available habitat for Hellbenders, mussels, and aquatic macroinvertebrates. Soil and nutrient loss are also concerns for agricultural producers and the targeted conservation practices and systems have been shown to have long-term benefits for agricultural systems and operations.

Forest to Gulf RCPP

Lead Partner: Alachua Conservation Trust

Lead State: FL Partner States: Award: $7,850,000
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $18,019,388

Project Summary

The Forest to Gulf region, nestled between North Central Florida’s sandy ridges and coastal estuaries, wetlands and longleaf pine forest provide critical habitat for many imperiled species, including the eastern indigo snake and gopher tortoise. The region contains ecologically sensitive wetlands and river systems, lands important for groundwater supplies, family-owned timber and grazing lands, and natural area buffers that ameliorate risk of volatile weather and sea level rise. The Alachua Conservation Trust and over ten contributing partners will work with landowners and producers to imlement a combination of permanent easements and land management activities to support existing habitat preservation and water quality goals.

McKay Creek On-Farm Modernization

Lead Partner: Deschutes River Conservancy

Lead State: OR Partner States: Award: $1,214,286
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $1,496,498

Project Summary

Historically, McKay Creek in central Oregon was a breeding ground for steelhead, salmon, and other native species, but due to water diversions and changing climate conditions, the middle reach of the creek runs dry by late summer. The McKay Creek On-Farm Modernization project is the on-farm portion of a larger project led by Deschutes River Conservancy. This project will provide participating producers along McKay Creek with the irrigation infrastructure necessary to increase irrigation efficiency by helping move producers from flood irrigation to pressurized systems. The goal of the project is to improve the overall hydrology of McKay Creek and the adjacent riparian ecosystem, as well as restore steelhead, salmon and other fish to the reach.

Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program

Lead Partner: Grant County Conservation District

Lead State: WA Partner States: Award: $6,000,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $8,323,227

Project Summary

Grant County Conservation District and seven contributing partners plan to help agricultural producers replace groundwater irrigation systems with Columbia River surface water for 11,180 acres of high-value irrigated farmland that currently relies on the rapidly declining Odessa Subarea Aquifer. The partnership plans to work with up to 13 farms and ultimately leave over 33,000 acre-feet of water in the aquifer each year. Groundwater replacement will provide benefits to the local and regional economy, improving water quality and quantity for municipalities, strengthening the agricultural industry to be more climate resilient, and encouraging local job growth.

West Nishnabotna Water Quality and Infrastructure Partnership

Lead Partner: Golden Hills Resource & Conservation Development

Lead State: IA Partner States: Award: $4,600,000
Funding Pool: CCA CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $4,705,000

Project Summary

The West Nishnabotna Water Quality and Infrastructure Partnership aims to improve water quality, increase flood resiliency, and protect local infrastructure across a 681,000-acre project area in southwestern Iowa. The project will complement similar activity on private lands in service of making the landscape more resilient in the face of increasing catastrophic flooding events. The partnership wirll report project outcomes through monitoring and modeling of soil and nutrient loss reductions.

Great Plains Grasslands Restoration Project

Lead Partner: Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever

Lead State: KS Partner States: Award: $3,047,279
Funding Pool: S/M CCA (if applicable): N/A Total Partner Contribution Amount: $3,050,000

Project Summary

The Great Plains Grasslands Restoration Project seeks to build upon the growing momentum within the broader Great Plains Grasslands Initiative to restore and enhance critical grassland habitats within the Flint Hills, Red Hills, and Smoky Hills regions in Kansas. The partnership plans to work with producers and landowners to install climate-smart conservation practices and systems on 45,000 acres of critical grassland habitat. The encroachment of woody species into grasslands is a persistent threat in this landscape and will be a focus of the project. The conservation activities funded by the project will benefit grassland ecosystems as a whole and in particular address the habitat needs of declining bird species such as Lesser and Greater prairie-chicken.