The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has helped conserve thousands of acres of land across the United States. This program focuses on protecting watersheds by promoting soil health, well-managed working farmland, and general good conservation practices. In order to apply for RCPP’s Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFAs) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, applications should be submitted by May 18, 2020. Up to $50 million will be awarded this year.
RCPP is different from other federal conservation programs in that projects must be undertaken as partnerships between a variety of stakeholders that may include nonprofit groups, land trusts, landowners, and other groups. This means that instead of farmers and landowners receiving payments directly from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), they may receive them from the organization leading the partnership. The organizations that participate in the program are expected to provide significant matching funds for the project. Farmers who participate in the program will most often work with the partnership of organizations rather than directly with NRCS.
RCPP projects are also intended to address specific natural resource concerns at a landscape scale. This can include individual states, larger regions or even entire watersheds. These areas are known as Critical Conservation Areas (CCAs). Some CCAs include the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Prairie Grasslands region, the Colorado River Basin, as well as others.
If you’re interested in learning more about what NRCS looks for in RCPP projects, take a look at this helpful webpage.
Any partner interested in submitting an RCPP application should go through NRCS’s funding portal. We encourage interested partners to reach out to an NRCS agent as soon as possible to get the process started.