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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a wide variety of partners including businesses, universities, non-profits and local and tribal governments apply to work on landscape- and watershed-scale projects selected on a competitive basis. Local private partners must match the USDA funding commitment.

Florida Projects Approved in FY 2018

  • The Ocala to Osceola Wildlife Corridor, $3.5 million (critical conservation area – longleaf pine range) Lead Partner: North Florida Land Trust
     
  • Coastal Headwaters Longleaf Forest, $7 million (critical conservation area – longleaf pine range) Lead Partner: The Conservation Fund
     
  • Gulf of Mexico – Forest to Sea Project, $5 million (national)
    Lead Partner: The Conservation Fund
     
  • Slow the Flow: Next Generation Practices, $1.1 million (state)
    Lead Partner: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

    2018 national project list
Florida Projects Approved in FY 2017
  • Innovative Watershed Protection Financing, $2.5 million (national)
    Lead Partner: U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
     
  • Gulf of Mexico – Forest to Sea Project, $3 million (national)
    Lead Partner: The Conservation Fund
     
  • Climate Resiliency in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, $3 million (national)
    Lead Partner: Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District
Florida Projects Approved in FY 2016  
  • Everglades Headwaters Longleaf Pine, $3.7 million (critical conservation area)
    Lead Partner: The Nature Conservancy – Florida
     
  • Training Florida's Natural Resource Managers, $1 million (state)
    Lead Partner: Florida Forest Service
     
  • Working Lands for Florida Panther Conservation, $630,000 (state)
    Lead Partner: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Florida Projects Approved in FY 2014-2015
  • Coastal Headwaters Forest – Longleaf Conservation and Restoration - Lead Partner: The Conservation Fund
     
  • Securing Private Working Forests to Benefit Longleaf Pine, Threatened & Endangered Species, Military Readiness - Lead partner: U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
     
  • Regional Partnership for Conservation of Gopher Tortoise and At-Risk Species Habitat in Florida - Lead partner: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
     
  • Click on Florida map of ACF RCPP for larger map
  • Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Rivers Conservation Partnership for Alabama, Florida, and Georgia - Lead partner: Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District. Click on map for larger view.

Benefits

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 activities in selected project areas. Partners leverage RCPP funding in project areas and report on the benefits achieved. The Secretary of Agriculture may also designate up to eight critical conservation areas to focus assistance.

Funding

Funding for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories.

Thumbnail of map outlining CCA areas Thumbnail of map of US salmon-colored placeholder map

Critical Conservation Areas

For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by Secretary. These receive 35 percent of funding.  Learn more.

National

For nationwide and multi-state projects. These receive 40 percent of funding. Learn more.

State

For projects in a single state. These receive 25 percent of funding. 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 use the authorities under the Watershed and Flood Prevention Program.

Florida's Priorities

  • Inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife
  • Plant and animal health (degraded plant condition & livestock production limitation)
  • Insufficient water (surface and ground water quantities
  • Soil health (erosion & quality)
  • Walter quality degradation

Critical Conservation Area

Longleaf Pine Range

Eligibility

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.

Participants - Under RCPP, 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. RCPP assistance is also available independent of a partner if the land is located either in a partner project area or in a critical conservation area designated by the Secretary. 

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 an agreement 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:

  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 operation affected.
  3. Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered.
  4. Planning, outreach, implementation and assessment. 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

Grants website

National website

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted

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Florida Program Contacts

Contact your local USDA Service Center or
Jeffrey Woods, 352-338-9515
Roney Gutierrez, 352-338-3502