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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Latest Information

Kansas Projects

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RCPP on the NRCS National website

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 Program, 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 Operations and Flood Prevention Program.

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 RCPP 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 multistate projects. These receive 40 percent of funding.

State

For projects in a single state. These receive 25 percent of funding.

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 and Flood Prevention Program, other than the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, in the designated critical conservation areas.

Announcement for Program Funding

USDA is now accepting proposals for Fiscal Year 2018 RCPP funding. Pre-proposals are due April 21, 2017.

Kansas Priorities

Kansas' priorities are:

  • Soil Erosion: Wind Erosion
  • Water Quality Degradation: Nutrients in Surface Water
  • Water Quality Degradation: Nutrients in Ground Water
  • Insufficient Water: Inefficient Use of Irrigation Water
  • Plants: Degraded Plant Condition
  • Fish and Wildlife: Cover/Shelter
  • Fish and Wildlife: Water

Eligibility

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.  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 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 operation 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.

Kansas Projects

The first projects of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program have been selected. More than 100 high-impact projects across all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive more than $370 million in Federal funding, and projects are leveraging an estimated $400 million in partner contributions to improve the nation’s water quality, support wildlife habitat, and enhance the environment.

How Projects Were Selected

Projects were evaluated on four criteria:

  • Contributions—Projects will expand private lands conservation investment by leveraging partner contributions
  • Solutions—Projects will provide real-time, measurable results to benefit individual farms, ranches and forests but also local economies and communities in watersheds and targeted geographic areas.
  • Innovations—Partners will creatively design projects by drawing all authorities into an integrated project.
  • Participation—Partners will pull new organizations into the fold and increase the diversity and number of stakeholders that participate in projects.
Project Area of Eligibility Cutoff Date Additional Documents

Improving Water Quality Through the Implementation of Forestry Practices and the Assessment of Riparian Systems in Kansas' Priority Watersheds (Lead Partner: Kansas State University—Kansas Forest Service)

Surface water reservoirs in Kansas have lost 40 percent of their storage capacity and waterways are experiencing stream bank erosion. By implementing forestry best management practices on 25,000 acres and creating a protection framework for remaining riparian forests in ten high-priority watersheds, this project will help sustain reservoir storage and wildlife habitat, improve the drinking water supply, and increase recreation opportunities. This project also supports the outcomes outlined in the Governor's Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas by sustaining and creating forest riparian conservation near Kansas streams.

Forestry Practices Areas (PDF; 758 KB) Applications accepted on a continuous basis

Forestry Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 67 KB)
Forestry Practice Payment Schedule (PDF; 1 MB)
Forestry Screening Criteria Worksheet (PDF; 110 KB)

Advanced Irrigation Water Management on the High Plains Aquifer in Kansas (Lead partner: Southwest Groundwater Management District No. 3)

This project will provide producers and crop consultants with telemetry-enabled soil moisture probes, water metering, and evapotranspiration measurement for near real-time monitoring. Implementation of this practice through RCPP will bring conservation and economic gains to producers in southwest Kansas.

Groundwater Management District Areas (PDF; 250 KB) Applications accepted on a continuous basis Irrigation Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 64 KB)
Irrigation Practice Payment Schedule (PDF; 885 KB)
Irrigation Screening Criteria Worksheet (PDF; 114 KB)

Pheasant Initiative (Lead partner: Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism [KDWPT])

Pheasants are a socially and economically important resource to Kansas; however populations are experiencing challenges across their range. With the recent drought, loss of Conservation Reserve Program acres, and intensifying farming practices, the pheasant population is the lowest on record in Kansas. KDWPT and its partners have proposed a focus-area approach to intensify habitat management.

Pheasant Focus Area (PDF; 280 KB) Applications accepted on a continuous basis Pheasant Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 503 KB)
Pheasant Practice Payment Schedule (PDF; 953 KB)
Pheasant Screening Criteria Worksheet (PDF; 105 KB)
Grassland Birds and Grazing Land Enhancement Initiative (Lead partner: KDWPT) Greater Prairie-Chicken Range (PDF; 330 KB) Applications accepted on a continuous basis Grassland Birds Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 532 KB)
Grassland Birds Practice Payment Schedule (PDF; 1 MB)
Grassland Birds Screening Criteria Worksheet (PDF; 105 KB)
Middle and Lower Neosho River Water Quality Project (Lead partner: Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Conservation) Water Quality Project Area (PDf; 290 KB) December 21, 2018
March 15, 2019
Neosho Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 62 KB)
Neosho Practice Payment Schedule (PDF; 1.4 MB)

Native Grazing Lands Protection in the Plains (Lead partner: The Nature Conservancy)

Native grasslands of the central Great Plains are some of the most majestic yet least conserved landscapes in North America. The project area for this proposed effort encompasses the most intact native grazing lands remaining in Kansas and Oklahoma, which provide critical habitat for a number of rare and sensitive species, including the lesser prairie-chicken. This project aims to prevent habitat fragmentation and conversion to non-grazing uses, improve wildlife habitat, and reduce the spread of invasive species.

Native Grazing Lands Protection Project and Priority Area (PDF; 492 KB) December 21, 2018
March 15, 2019

Native Grazing Lands Protection Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 39 KB)
Native Grazing Lands Protection Payment Schedule (PDF; 990 KB)

Improving Working Lands for Monarch Butterflies (Lead partner: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation)

This agreement will improve monarch butterfly habitat focusing on existing grasslands with management practices such as prescribed grazing and prescribed burning.  In addition, plantings of milkweeds and monarch nectaring forbs on other land uses will also be part this project.
Statewide December 21, 2018
March 15, 2019
Monarch Butterfly Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 73 KB)
Monarch Butterfly Payment Schedule (PDF; 1.1 MB)

Water Quality in Milford Lake Watershed in Kansas (Lead partner: Kansas Water Office)

This agreement will offer financial assistance to help landowners reduce Milford Watershed nutrient loading by 31,000 pounds of phosphorus per year and to decrease the frequency and duration of harmful algal blooms (HABs) on Milford Lake.

Milford Lake Watershed December 21, 2018
March 15, 2019
Milford Lake Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 56 KB)
Milford Lake Payment Schedule (PDF; 1.4 MB)

Reducing Sedimentation in Doniphan County, Kansas (Lead partner: Doniphan County Conservation District)

This agreement will offer financial assistance to help landowners improve water quality by reducing sedimentation from field drainage areas that are impacting county roadways in Doniphan County, Kansas.

Doniphan County December 21, 2018
March 15, 2019
Doniphan Approved Land Uses, Resource Concerns, Conservation Practices, and Ranking Questions (PDF; 39 KB)
Doniphan County Payment Schedule (PDF; 896 KB)

More Information

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 391KB)

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

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