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.
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 for RCPP is allocated to projects in three different categories.
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.
Training and Assistance
A webinar for partners interested in applying for an RCPP project is scheduled for 3pm EDT on September 26, 2019. A webinar on how to use the RCPP portal will be scheduled once the portal is ready to accept applications. Information on how to participate in these webinars will be posted to the RCPP website once it is available.
State priorities are:
Forestry: reforestation, tree planting, timber stand improvement.
Wildlife habitat: focus on prairie\prairie wetland protection, restoration and management.
Soil Health: focus on conservation tillage and/or cover crops.
Water Quality: Focus on nutrients and sediment.
Water Quantity: focus on drainage water management, flooding impacts to ag land.
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
The application period for RCPP is open from September 3, 2019 through December 3, 2019. Learn how to apply for RCPP. 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:
At the producer's request, a partner may submit the application for participation in a selected project area
Directly at their local USDA Service Center in a selected project area
The partnership agreement defines the scope of the project, including:
Eligible activities to be implemented
Potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest operation affected
Local, state, multi-state or other geographic area covered
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.
Minnesota RCPP Projects
Contact your local NRCS Field Office for additional details.
Producer applications submitted by April 19, 2019, will be evaluated to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2019. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding’
Fiscal Year 2019 RCPP-CSP Deadline
Producer applications submitted by June 21, 2019, will be evaluated to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2019. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding’
How to Apply for RCPP-CSP
Complete RCPP-CSP Application at Your Local NRCS Field Office
The following payment schedule shows Conservation Activity Plans (CAPs), conservation practices and practice scenarios that may be offered for 2019 RCPP-EQIP. Keep in mind, not all CAPs, practices and/or practice scenarios are available in every funding pool. Contact your local NRCS Field Office for additional details.