Critical Conservation Areas:
Accelerating Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plans (2015): The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is the lead Virginia partner in this tri-state project that covers portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Farmers in 22 Virginia counties are eligible for $1.45 million in NRCS funding to help improve Bay water quality through livestock exclusion and forestry practices in targeted rivers and streams. View project map.
Comprehensive Watershed Conservation in Dairy and Livestock Landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (2015): This multi-state project, offered in cooperation with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), targets five regions in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Virginia portion of this project is open to Rockingham County farmers interested in improving water quality and restoring habitat for Eastern brook trout in three focal watersheds.
Upper Clinch-Powell Watershed Partnership (2016): The Nature Conservancy will spearhead this $4.5 million public-private initiative to accelerate the planning and implementation of Best Management Practices in Lee, Scott and Russell counties in Virginia and Hancock and Claiborne counties in Tennessee. This five-county area includes more than 4,000 farms and 350 miles of impaired streams polluted from mining, agriculture, and urban runoff.
Blue Ridge PRISM Landowner Programs Expansion (2016): NRCS will invest $894,000 in a Shenandoah National Park Trust project benefitting Virginia’s first Cooperative Weed Management Area or Blue Ridge PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) to help control nonnative, invasive plants in a 10-county region.
Forests - Fundamental for Conservation in Virginia (2015): Offered in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), the RCPP Forestry Program offers landowners an opportunity to help establish and maintain the forestlands that are fundamental to clean air and water, wildlife habitat and recreation/tourism.
Ranking Summary (pdf, 68kb)
Payment Schedule (pdf, 71kb)
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.
RCPP combines the authorities of four former conservation programs – the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative, the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and the Great Lakes Basin Program. Assistance is delivered in accordance with the rules of EQIP, CSP, ACEP and HFRP; and in certain areas the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program.
RCPP encourages partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales.
Through RCPP, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation practices in selected project areas. Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved. The Secretary of Agriculture has designated eight critical conservation areas to focus RCPP assistance.
Funding for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different fund pools.
Critical Conservation Areas
Projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary receive 35 percent of funding. Learn more.
Nationwide and multi-state projects receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.
The state fund pool receives 25 percent of funding to be used for single state projects. Learn more.
Conservation program contracts and easement agreements are implemented through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP). NRCS may also utilize the authorities under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program in certain geographic areas.
In Virginia, our priorities are:
- Water Quality Degradation
- Inadequate Habitat for Fish and Wildlife
- Soil Quality Degradation
- Soil Erosion
- Livestock Production Limitation
- Degraded Plant Condition
Eligible Partners - Agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmer cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education.
Eligible Participants - Under RCPP, eligible producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement.
How to Apply
NRCS will release an announcement for program funding, that will outline requirements for proposal submissions for funding. NRCS will review partnership proposals according to the priorities identified in the announcement and make project selections. Upon selection of a partnership proposal, NRCS and the partner will enter into a partnership agreement through which they will coordinate to provide producers in the project area assistance. Partnership agreements may be for a period of up to five years. NRCS may extend an agreement one time for an additional 12 months if needed to meet the objectives of the program.
Producers may apply for RCPP assistance in several ways:
- At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
- Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area
The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:
- Eligible activities to be implemented
- Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operations affected
- Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
- Planning, outreach, implementation, and assessment to be conducted. Partners are responsible for contributing to the cost of the project, conducting outreach and education to eligible producers for potential participation in the project and for conducting an assessment of the project’s effects. In addition, partners may act on behalf of the eligible landowner or producer in applying for assistance and for leveraging financial or technical assistance provided by NRCS with additional funds to help achieve the project objectives.
Before closing the agreement the partner must provide an assessment of the project costs and conservation effects.
RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 275KB)
To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted
Find your local USDA Service Center
Sign up for Farm Bill email updates
Return to NRCS Farm Bill Homepage