NACD Welcomes Rollout of USDA’s RCPP

Jamie JohansenAg Group, Conservation, NRCS, USDA

logo-national-association-of-conservation-districts-colorThe National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) looks forward to supporting the USDA in the implementation of the new USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The new RCPP program will promote collaborative projects that improve soil quality, water quality/quantity, and wildlife habitat in a specific area.

The eight Critical Conservation Areas (CCAs) are: Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the Columbia, Colorado and Mississippi river basins, the Longleaf Pine Range, prairie grasslands and the California Bay Delta. Beyond these specific areas, there will be additional delivery opportunities at the state and national levels.

“Conservation districts have always supported a collaborative, locally-led approach to getting conservation implemented on the ground, and this new program falls right in line with this approach,” said NACD President Earl Garber. “Soil and Water Conservation Districts were established on the state and local level since the 1930s to partner in the delivery of federal funds based on local priorities. The RCPP program expands our opportunities to reach a higher level of commitment to conservation delivery on the working landscape in America.”

he RCPP program will encourage greater investment, leveraging of resources, and participation by the private business sectors, membership organizations, and state and local governments. NACD is encouraged by the accountability built into the RCPP, ensuring that work should be monitored throughout the contract period to accurately document, quantify and account for results.

NACD has been supportive of the RCPP throughout the Farm Bill process, and encouraged its inclusion in the final bill. In April, NACD joined with a coalition in sending a letter to NRCS Chief Weller outlining recommendations for the program. NACD also provided input on the APF in an April Listening Session with USDA.