The USDA is launching the second round of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) with $720 million dollars towards water quality, fighting droughts, improving soil health, supporting wildlife habitat and protecting the future viability of agriculture. There are 84 projects and multiple partners across the U.S. that will bring these goals closer to reality.
The RCPP was established in the 2014 farm bill and has invested a grand total of $1.5 billion in 2015 and 2016. Projects are funded on a competitive basis and require private partners to match the USDA’s commitment.
“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program puts local partners in the driver’s seat to accomplish environmental goals that are most meaningful to that community. Joining together public and private resources also harnesses innovation that neither sector could implement alone,” Secretary Vilsack said. “We have seen record enrollment of privately owned lands in USDA’s conservation programs under this Administration, and the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program will be instrumental in building on those numbers and demonstrating that government and private entities can work together for greater impacts on America’s communities.”
RCPP draws on local knowledge and networks to fuel conservation projects. Bringing together a wide variety of new partners including businesses, universities, non-profits and local and Tribal governments makes it possible to deliver innovative, landscape- and watershed-scale projects that improve water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, soil health and other natural resource concerns on working farms, ranches and forests.
Water quality and drought concerns top the list for this year’s RCPP projects with 45 out of 84 projects working to resolve our water challenges. You can see the full list of projects on the RCPP website.