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Regional Conservation Partnership Program | Virginia

RCPP Header, Virginia

Critical Conservation Areas:

Chesapeake Bay Farm Stewardship and Preservation
This project will support the DE, MD, and VA agricultural sectors efforts to meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL milestone goals for nutrient and sediment reduction via promoting implementation of precision nutrient management practices and soil health practices.

Nutrient Management Needs on Maryland and Virginia Dairies
Engaging Small AFO's in the Nutrient Management Process.

National RCPP:

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.

State RCPP:

Oyster Bottom Restoration Through Aquaculture
Through a special partnership with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering funding to help shellfish aquaculture growers improve water quality and increase oyster habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

Franklin County Dairy Ag and Water Protection Program
RCPP-EQIP funding will provide Franklin County dairy farmers with $625,000 to implement NRCS programs that address the resource concerns.


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.

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Critical Conservation Areas

Projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary receive 35 percent of funding. Learn more.

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Nationwide and multi-state projects receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.

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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.

Virginia Priorities

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:
  1. At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
  2. Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area

Partnership Agreements

The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:

  1. Eligible activities to be implemented
  2. Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operations affected
  3. Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
  4. 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.

More Information

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 275KB)

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

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