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Regional Conservation Partnership Program

RCPP Header - Virginia
 

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value-added contributions to expand our collective ability to address on-farm, watershed and regional natural resource concerns.

Through RCPP, NRCS co-invests with partners to implement projects that offer innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes tied to the resource concerns they seek to address.

2014 Farm Bill Projects

Critical Conservation Areas:

Chesapeake Bay Farm Stewardship and Preservation
This project supported the DE, MD and VA agricultural sectors efforts to meet Chesapeake Bay TMDL milestone goals for nutrient and sediment reduction by promoting implementation of precision nutrient management and soil health practices.

Nutrient Management Needs on Maryland and Virginia Dairies
Engaging Small AFO's in the Nutrient Management Process.

National RCPP:

Upper Clinch-Powell Watershed Partnership (2016): The Nature Conservancy spearheaded this $4.5 million public-private initiative to accelerate the planning and implementation of Best Management Practices in Lee, Scott and Russell counties in Virginia and Hancock and Claiborne counties in Tennessee. This five-county area includes more than 4,000 farms and 350 miles of impaired streams polluted from mining, agriculture, and urban runoff.

State RCPP:

Oyster Bottom Restoration Through Aquaculture
Through a special partnership with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering funding to help shellfish aquaculture growers improve water quality and increase oyster habitat in the Chesapeake Bay.

Franklin County Dairy Ag and Water Protection Program
RCPP-EQIP funding to help Franklin County dairy farmers to implement best management practices that will improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat in the Roanoke River Watershed.

The New RCPP

RCPP is now a standalone program under the 2018 Farm Bill with its own dedicated funding and an emphasis on reportable project outcomes. Landowners and agricultural producers will enter into RCPP contracts and RCPP easements.

NRCS also offers an Enhanced Alternative Funding Arrangement provision for grant-like projects that rely more heavily on partner capacity to implement conservation activities.

Funding

RCPP funding is divided evenly between two funding pools.

Thumbnail of map outlining CCA areas

Critical Conservation Areas

For projects in eight geographic areas chosen by the Secretary of Agriculture. These receive 50 percent of funding. Learn more about RCPP Critical Conservation Areas.

thumbnail of rcpp single or multistate projects in CONUS, AK, HI and PR State/Multi-State

For projects in a single state or across several states. These receive 50 percent of funding. 




 
RCPP Activity Types

  • Land Improvement/Management/Restoration
  • Land Rental
  • Easement (U.S.-held)
  • Easement (Entity-held)
  • Public Works/Watersheds

Virginia Priorities

In Virginia, our priorities are:

  • Water Quality Degradation
  • Inadequate Habitat for Fish and Wildlife
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Soil Erosion
  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Degraded Plant Condition

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. Qualified entities capable of holding easements will be eligible for RCPP easements.

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.

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.

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 operations 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.

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.

More Information

Read the RCPP Fact Sheet ( PDF, 542 KB).

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

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