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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Regional Conservation Partnership Program














 

Overview

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value-added contributions to expand our collective ability to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns. Through RCPP, NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes tied to the resource concerns they seek to address.

Latest Information

Get Started with NRCS

Grants.gov website

RCPP NRCS National website

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF; 548 KB)

The New RCPP

The 2018 Farm Bill made a number of substantial changes to RCPP:

  • RCPP is now a standalone program with its own funding--$300 million annually. Moving forward, landowners and ag producers will enter into RCPP contracts and RCPP easements.
  • Enhanced Alternative Funding Arrangement provision—NRCS may award up to 15 AFA projects, which are more grant-like and rely more on partner capacity to implement conservation activities.
  • Three funding pools reduced to two—the National pool was eliminated. Partners must apply to either the Critical Conservation Area (CCA) or State/Multistate funding pool.
  • Emphasis on project outcomes—all RCPP projects must now develop and report on their environmental outcomes.

Successful RCPP projects embody the following core principles:

  • Impact—RCPP applications must propose effective and compelling solutions that address one or more natural resource priorities to help solve natural resource challenges. Partners are responsible for evaluating a project’s impact and results.
  • Partner Contributions—Partners are responsible for identifying any combination of cash and in-kind value-added contributions to leverage NRCS’s RCPP investments. It is NRCS’s goal that partner contributions at least equal the NRCS investment in an RCPP project. Substantive partner contributions are given priority consideration as part of the RCPP application evaluation criteria.
  • Innovation—NRCS seeks projects that integrate multiple conservation approaches, implement innovative conservation approaches or technologies, build new partnerships, and effectively take advantage of program flexibilities to deliver conservation solutions.
  • Partnerships and Management—Partners must have experience, expertise, and capacity to manage the partnership and project, provide outreach to producers, and quantify the environmental outcomes of an RCPP project. RCPP ranking criteria give preference to applicants that meaningfully engage historically underserved farmers and ranchers.

Current RCPP Projects in Texas

News Release, April 27, 2021, USDA Awards New Partnership Projects in Texas to Protect Natural Resources while Supporting Ag Producers

News Release, Jan. 13, 2021, New Rule Improves Partner Flexibility in Regional Conservation Partnership Program

News Release, Oct. 13, 2020 USDA Updates RCPP Announcement to Clarify Forestry Eligibility

  • Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV) – Grassland Restoration Incentives Program (GRIP) Partnership
  • Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI)

NOTE: The application deadline is March 19th for both the OPJV-GRIP and HCHCI RCPP.

RCPP Regulation

The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and amended RCPP. On February 13, 2020, an interim rule with request for comments was published in the Federal Register (85 FR 8131-8145) that added RCPP regulations in 7 CFR part 1464 to implement changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. A technical correction was published in the Federal Register on March 17, 2020 (85 FR 15051-15052). This final rule adopts, with minor changes, the interim rule.

Texas Program Contact

Lori Ziehr, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs
Phone: 254-742-9881

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