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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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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.

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 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

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

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

National

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

State

Projects in a single state 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 utilize the authorities under the Watershed and Flood Prevention Program, other than the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, in the designated critical conservation areas.

How Projects Are Selected

Projects are evaluated on four criteria:

Contributions
Projects will expand private lands conservation investment by leveraging partner contributions

Solutions
Projects will provide real-time, measureable 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. Signup for RCPP is continuous but will applications must meet deadlines to be ranked for early consideration.

Tennessee's Priorities

Tennessee's priorities are:

  • Soil Erosion
  • Plant Condition
  • Water Quality 
  • Soil Health/Soil Quality
  • Wildlife Habitat

Tennessee Projects

National

 Funding 
Year
Lead
Partner
Project
Name
Project
Description
 Agreement 
Period
 Agreement 
 Documents 

 FY 2019

 American   Bird   Conservancy

Reversing Declines in Grassland Biodiversity

The American Bird Conservancy and its partners will use a multifaceted conservation program that will complement existing efforts to reverse the decline of grassland habitats in the Southeast U.S., especially near protected landscapes. NRCS will invest $4.5 million in this project that seeks to recover populations of grassland bird species deemed in need of conservation attention by Partners in Flight, as well as the native biodiversity associated with the historic grassland landscapes of the Interior Low Plateaus ecoregion of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana. Conservation efforts will include removal of woody cover and prescribed fire, reconversion of cropland or Fescue pastures to native grasses, increasing forb-to-grass ratios, changing grazing intensities, and altering haying regimes.

Click here to see map of project area.

9/30/2018 until 9/30/2023

 Eligible  Practices

 Ranking  Tool

 Screening   Tool

 

State

 Funding 
Year
Lead 
Partner
Project 
Name
Project 
Description
 Application 
Period
 Agreement 
Documents

FY 2019

 Security   Seed &   Chemical,   Inc.

Advanced Precision Agriculture for Sustainable Conservation

The Cumberland River basin in Tennessee and Kentucky spans nearly 18,000 square miles and is home to nearly 2.5 million people. NRCS will invest $5.5 million to this project, which will occur in the Red River and Lower Cumberland watersheds, two of the 14 watersheds that make up the Cumberland River Watershed. Both surface water and groundwater impairments are a concern in the watershed with nutrients, bacteria, and sediment being the primary issues. The partners will work with producers to improve water quality by maximizing fertilizer uptake, preventing sediment and nutrient losses, using science based precision agricultural practices, and implementing high nutrient reducing structural practices. The partners’ goal is to advance the implementation of on-farm precision agriculture practice to help ensure the sustainability, resilience, and continued productivity of the area’s working lands while simultaneously improving the producer’s bottom line. The partners assembled for this project are some of the most advanced, cutting edge companies in the U.S., which assures that both producers and NRCS staff will have access to the most up-to-date technologies available today. Another goal of this project is to work with NRCS to improve and update practice standards and enhancements, so they work better for producers and achieve higher results for the environment.

9/30/2018 until 9/30/2023

Ranking
Criteria
and
Eligible Practices

 

FY 201

 West   Tennessee
 River   Basin
 Authority  (WTRBA)

 West  Tennessee  Floodplain  and  Wetland  Restoration 

NRCS will invest $1.87 million to fund a partnership with WTRBA. The goal of this project is to measurably improve the water quality and ecological integrity of the identified watersheds through implementation of NRCS soil health initiative practices, grade stabilization structures, riparian forest buffer, sediment basins, wetland enhancement, and wetland restoration. Conservation projects within ten watersheds in Chester, Hardeman, Hardin, Henderson, and McNairy counties are eligible to receive assistance.

Click here to see map of project area.

1/1/2016 until 12/31/2020

 Eligible   Practices/
 Payment  Schedule
 

 

RCPP Fact Sheet

RCPP Fact Sheet (PDF, 391KB)​​

​RCPP Press Release

Tennessee NRCS Now Accepting Applications for RCPP Partnership Projects Aimed at Improving Water Quality, Wildlife Habitat and Soil Health

Partner Success Stories

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program brings together a wide array of local and national partners, including Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, private industry, conservation districts, water districts, universities and many others. So far, more than 2,000 partners are engaged in locally-led conservation efforts through RCPP.

The most successful RCPP projects share four common characteristics. They innovate, leverage additional contributions, offer impactful solutions and engage more participants.

Read more about our partners and download our RCPP: Partner-led Solutions publication.

More Information

Learn how to get started with NRCS by visiting www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

Contact

Find your local USDA Service Center

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