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News Release

USDA Awards New Partnership Projects in PA to Benefit Bay

Molly Rose

HARRISBURG, PA, April 27, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announces 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 Pennsylvania. Projects are awarded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnerships working at their best,” said Denise Coleman, NRCS State Conservationist in Pennsylvania. “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 Pennsylvania, projects have been awarded to the Lancaster Clean Water Partners and Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

Through Lancaster’s Common Agenda for Clean Water, Lancaster Clean Water Partners brings together a diverse group of organizations including non-profits, government and businesses with a goal of delisting impaired waters to make Lancaster County’s streams clean and clear by 2040. The partnership will use a custom screening tool to identify critical lands for water quality improvement. An innovative incentive structure will be used to reward producers for installing riparian forest or grass buffers, or for adopting regenerative farming practices.

Through the Turkey Hill Clean Water Partnership project, The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in partnership with Turkey Hill Dairy and ten other partners, will rapidly implement land management conservation measures on dairy farms in South Central Pennsylvania. Partners will work with farmers to draft conservation plans to prepare for financial assistance to help producers implement water quality practices and systems to support local and Chesapeake Bay water quality.

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.

See the interactive map of awarded RCPP projects here.

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