More than 200 conservation districts from across the nation will implement innovative, solutions-oriented natural resource conservation through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects announced earlier today by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) Tom Vilsack.
“It’s no surprise that conservation districts are one of the most highly represented entities among the winning proposals,” said National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Earl Garber. “Locally led partnerships are what conservation districts are all about. Districts have a strong history of engaging with a variety of stakeholders at the local level to enact meaningful conservation on the landscape.”
Over 600 highly competitive pre-applications were submitted to USDA from every state and Puerto Rico involving hundreds of partnering organizations. More than 200 conservation districts are directly involved in the over 100 projects selected for state, national or Critical Conservation Area (CCA) RCPP funding. Furthermore, NACD recognizes that districts will be involved as projects in these three categories are implemented within their boundaries.
Conservation district representatives will be attending many of the events planned by USDA across the county this week to mark the RCPP announcement. NACD President-elect Lee McDaniel will attend the event in Maryland on January 16 with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller.
RCPP is about empowering local project sponsors in designing and delivering solutions that benefit natural resources where they live and work.
“As trusted and respected sources for conservation planning and assistance at the local level, conservation districts are well positioned to be leaders in these projects,” said Garber. “We appreciate USDA’s commitment to this locally-led approach to natural resource conservation. Through its flexible, public-private partnership approach, the RCPP is empowering partners to come together to deliver practical and effective solutions to address local communities’ specific resource concerns.”
USDA intends to accept proposals for the next round of RCPP sometime in spring of 2015. More information can be found here.