Applications Requested for Innovative Parnter Projects
Gary O’Neill, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Oklahoma, invites potential conservation partners to submit project applications for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) by April 21, 2017. Partners may include private industry, government and non-government organizations, Native American Tribes, water districts and universities. For more information on applying for fiscal year 2018 projects, visit the RCPP website.
Through RCPP, NRCS will award up to $252 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. Applicants must match or exceed the federal award with private or local funds.
“Partnership has been the backbone of successful natural resource conservation in Oklahoma from the beginning,” said O’Neill. “RCPP magnifies that spirit of partnership and cooperation—it’s a program model that seems custom made to work here.”
Last month, NRCS announced 88 new high-impact projects for fiscal year 2017, including a partnership between Oklahoma and Texas organizations to improve habitat for declining grassland bird and monarch butterfly populations.
In addition to several RCPP projects with project areas that include all or parts of Oklahoma, Oklahoma is identified as the lead state on three RCPP projects. The Grand Lake and Elk City Lake Water Quality Projects are led by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission along with 14 other partners with the goal of implementing conservation practices and conservation education in their respective watershed to improve water quality. The Oklahoma Healthy Soils Project led by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and up to 15 other partners is establishing several conservation demonstration farms in the state to share conservation practices with farmers and ranchers that both benefit business operations and the environment.
Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP connects partners with producers and private landowners to design and implement voluntary conservation solutions that benefit natural resources, agriculture and the economy. By 2018, NRCS and its more than 2,000 conservation partners will have invested at least $2.4 billion in high-impact RCPP projects nationwide.
Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect over 400 million acres nationwide, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat. For an interactive look at USDA's work in conservation and forestry over the course of this Administration, visit http://medium.com/usda-results.
News release: Applications Requested for Innovative Partner Projects (PDF, 117 KB)
Image: NRCS will award up to $252 million for RCPP projects in FY18. (JPEG, 356 KB)