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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Latest Information

The next RCPP Classic funding announcement is scheduled for release in summer 2021.

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.

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

RCPP funding is divided evenly among two funding pools: state/multi-state and critical conservation areas.

Maryland's Priorities

Maryland's resource priorities are:

  • Water Quality
  • Soil Health
  • Wetland Restoration and Easements
  • Land Easements
  • Habitat for Threatened and Endangered Species
  • Air Quality

Eligibility

Partner Eligibility

Eligible organizations interested in partnering with NRCS on conservation projects can develop applications for the RCPP competition. The lead partner for an RCPP project is the entity that submits an application, and if selected for an award is ultimately responsible for collaborating with NRCS to successfully complete an RCPP project. 

Producer and Landowner Eligibility

Once NRCS selects a project and executes an RCPP agreement with a lead partner, agricultural producers may participate in an RCPP project in one of two ways. First, producers may engage with project partners and delegate a willing partner to act as their representative in working with NRCS. Second, producers seeking to carry out conservation activities consistent with a RCPP project in the project’s geographic area can apply directly to NRCS.

Land Eligibility

RCPP projects must be carried out on agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land or associated land on which NRCS determines an eligible activity would help achieve conservation benefits (i.e., improved condition of natural resources resulting from implementation of conservation activities).

Eligible conservation activities may be implemented on public lands when those activities will benefit eligible lands as determined by NRCS and are included in the scope of an approved RCPP project.

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 can sign up for RCPP projects throughout the year, but funding selections are made at specific times. The second fiscal year 2021  sign-up deadline is April 16.

Current Projects

Project Names

Descriptions

Ranking and Guidance Documents

Achieving WIP Goals and Nutrient Management in Maryland

This is a Critical Conservation Area (CCA) RCPP project to promote a cost effective and nutrient effective solution to address manure management and related resource concerns in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The overall project success will be based on reducing the best management practice (BMP) gap for the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) and increasing NM regulation compliance in northern Maryland. Producers in Alllegany, Balitmore, Cecil, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, and Washington counties who are interested in Waste Storage Facilities, Watering Facilities, and Fencing

 

Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement

Offered in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy, this project will focus on suites of conservation practices intended to enhance acres of forest habitat on private lands for cerulean warblers, an at-risk species, and associated species by addressing habitat loss, soil health, and water quality.  Producers and/or landowners that are interested in enrolling additional acres into easements, and increase the biodiversity of their the forest are encouraged to visit their local USDA Service Center to apply.

 

Ranking Tool
(PDF, 12 kb)

Map

Grazing for Water Quality & Soil Health

In partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, this multi-state RCPP project seeks to increase the adoption of complementary practices like livestock stream exclusion, off-stream watering, and forested buffers in the northern tier counties in Maryland to reduce nutrients and sediment runoff and help with the Chesapeake Bay clean-up. Producers located in Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, and Washington interested in pasture intensive Prescribed Grazing, Forage and Biomass Planting, Watering Facilities, and Fencing are encouraged to visit their local USDA Service Center to apply.

 

Promoting Rotational Grazing The objective of the project is to increase adoption of rotational grazing and complementary practices by converting cropland to pasture or moving existing continuous grazing operations to more intensive rotational grazing systems to address water quality degradation in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac watersheds.  It is available to producers in Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties.

Ranking Tool
(PDF, 12 kb)

ACEP ALE Checklist
(DOCX, 26 kb)

Map
Taking Soil Health in Maryland to the Next Level

This project supports conservation practices that enhance soil health and improve both air quality through increased carbon sequestration and water quality through increased efficiency of nutrient use and water management.

Conservation practices include adaptive nutrient management, cover crops, crop rotations, variable rate technology, residual and tillage management crop rotations, precision farming, edge of field tools, composting, forest and biomass planting and other practices supportive of soil health.

 
Chesapeake Bay Farm Stewardship and Preservation The Chesapeake Bay Farm Stewardship and Preservation project supports a diverse three-state partnership to accelerate the adoption of precision nutrient management and soil health practices. Financial and technical assistance will be focused where:
1) practices will have the greatest impact on
Chesapeake Bay water quality;
2) farmers have demonstrated enthusiasm for
these practices;
3) partner outreach and education and technical
assistance efforts support financial assistance
delivery; and
4) prime farmland is located.
 
 

 

Program Contacts

Carol Rivera
Farm Bill Program Specialist (AMA, CSP, RCPP)
Phone: 443.482.2916
Email: carol.rivera@usda.gov

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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