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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Two individuals in a sunflower field

The Regional Conservation Partnership 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 the program, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas. Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved.

NRCS implements RCPP conservation program contracts and easement agreements through four existing NRCS programs authorities;

  • Agricultural Water Enhancement Program
  • Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program
  • Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative
  • Great Lakes Basin Program

Colorado Projects | Eligibility | Funding | How to Apply | Important Dates | Contact

Colorado RCPP Projects

Successful RCPP projects demonstrate:

  • Participation: Successful partnerships will bring a diverse array of stakeholders into a project, greatly accelerate adoption of conservation systems in the project area, and engage participants including historically underserved audiences.  
  • Innovation:  Partnerships will be innovative in their approach, and successful proposals will utilize one or more program authorities (EQIP, CSP, HFRP, or ACEP) to address natural resource management concerns.  
  • Contribution:  Successful partnerships will bring an array of financial and technical interests and capabilities to projects, such as cash contributions and technical professionals to work one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to provide planning, management and engineering activities. NRCS’ goal is to leverage funds to double the federal conservation investment with partner contributions. 
  • Solutions: Successful partnerships will design lasting solutions that are technically sound and locally supported so that benefits will extend beyond the Federal investment.

*Program information such as the application sign-up and funding cutoff dates; program materials (eligible practices, screening and ranking criteria, practice payment rates); producer and land eligibility requirements; and, payment rates are posted on each of the RCPP project pages listed below.

Projects Awarded in FY 2017

Projects Awarded in FY 2016

Projects Awarded in FY 2015

Eligibility

RCPP connects partners with producers and private landowners to design and implement voluntary conservation solutions.

  • 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.

Funding

*RCPP projects receive financial awards through one of three funding pools. 

  1. Critical Conservation Areas - Designated by the Secretary of Agriculture and represent an opportunity for many stakeholders to come together at a regional level to address common natural resource goals while maintaining or improving agricultural productivity. These receive 35% of funding.
  2. National - National project applications should further the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and other related resources. Applications that address multi-state resource concerns (listed below), and those that provide detail on how specific resource objectives will be monitored to assess outcomes, will be given priority under the national funding pool. These receive 40% of funding.
    • Excess/Insufficient Water/Drought
    • Water quality degradation
    • Soil quality degradation
    • Inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife (and invertebrates)
    • Air quality impacts
    • Degraded Plant Condition (specific to certain CCA only)
    • Energy
    • Climate Change 
  3. ​​State - State project applications should address at least one of the national priorities or a state-identified priority (Colorado priorities listed below). State priorities were identified by the NRCS State Conservationist, with advice from the State Technical Committee. Applications competing under the state funding pool should be located entirely within one state. These receive 25% of funding.
    • Energy
    • Forest Health
    • Water Quality
    • Water Quantity

(*A RCPP project must address at least one resource concern to receive national funding. To receive state funding, a project must address either a national resource concern or a resource concern identified by the state).

Funded RCPP projects are implemented through conservation program contracts and easement agreements under 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 and Flood Prevention Program, other than the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, in the designated critical conservation areas. After a RCPP project agreement is selected for funding, eligible participants may apply for financial and technical assistance through conservation program contracts and conservation easements offered under the RCPP Project.​

How to Apply

NRCS invites potential partners to submit applications annually through an Announcement for Program Funding (APF).

  • Eligible Partners - 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. The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:
    • Eligible activities to be implemented
    • Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operation 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.
  • Eligible Participants - 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 or, directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area.

Application for Program Funding (APF) and Supporting Application Materials

Important Application Dates

(Applications must be received by NRCS before 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) on the due dates provided below).

April 21, 2017: Pre-proposal applications due

Week of June 26, 2017: Announcement of selected pre-proposals

August 31, 2017: Full proposal applications due

November 2017: Announcement of selected full proposals - 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 the partner will complete the project objectives and provide assistance to producers in the project area.

 

 

Contact

Becky Ross, Acting Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Denver Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
720-544-2822