USDA Now Accepting FY ’16 Proposals for Regional Conservation Partnership Program
May 13, 2015
USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is now accepting proposals for FY ’16 projects. ASDWA encourages states to consider partnering with your water utilities and their local producers to submit a project proposal aimed at improving or protecting drinking water quality. RCPP efforts are intended to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. Eligible partners include: state, local, and tribal governments; water utilities; private companies; universities; non-profit organizations; and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives. Last year, the RCPP funded 115 projects across all 50 states and Puerto Rico for a total of more than $370 million, and were estimated to leverage an additional $400 million in partner contributions. This coming year, the RCPP will again provide $225 million for projects (at up to $10 million per project) through three funding pools:
- 35 percent of total program funding is directed to critical conservation areas (including Great Lakes Region, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Mississippi River Basin, Longleaf Pine Range, Columbia River Basin, California Bay Delta, Prairie Grasslands, and the Colorado River Basin);
- 40 percent is directed to regional or multi-state projects through a national competitive process; and
- 25 percent is directed to state-level projects through a competitive process established by NRCS state leaders.
Iowa serves as a great example for other states who are considering partnering on RCPP projects. In Iowa, the state drinking water program partnered with the City of Cedar Rapids on the RCPP funded Middle Cedar Partnership Project to work with local conservation partners, farmers and landowners to install best management practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, wetlands and saturated buffers to help improve water quality, water quantity, and soil health in the Cedar River Watershed.