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Deadline: July 8, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Regional Conservation Partnership Program

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination between the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. NRCS is the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) conservation agency working with farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners nationwide to identify and address natural resource objectives in balance with operational goals in order to benefit soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources locally, regionally, and nationally. NRCS works in partnership with other entities to accelerate getting conservation on the ground. NRCS provides assistance to producers through partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements.

Through the RCPP, NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners in innovative, workable, and cost-effective approaches to benefit farming, ranching, and forest operations, local economies, and the communities and resources in a watershed or other geographic area. RCPP partners develop project applications, as described in this notice, to address specific natural resource objectives in a proposed area or region. Partnering organizations design, promote, implement, and evaluate the project outcomes. NRCS will assess and evaluate RCPP project applications against four criteria: solutions, contributions, innovation, and participation.

Amount: Approximately $225,000,000 is available. Of this, 35% will be dedicated to Critical Conservation Areas (see eligible areas in the table in RFP); 40% to National/Multi-State projects; and 25% to State projects. National/Multi-State project priorities include: excess/insufficient water/drought; water quality degradation; soil quality degradation; inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife; and air quality impacts. State projects should address one of these priorities, or a priority identified by a state.

Eligibility: Eligible partners include: agricultural or silvicultural producer associations, farmer cooperatives or other groups of producers, state or local governments, American Indian tribes, municipal water treatment entities, water and irrigation districts, conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations, and institutions of higher education. Under RCPP, eligible producers and landowners of agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland may enter into conservation program contracts or easement agreements under the framework of a partnership agreement.

Link: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/

Note: The July 8 deadline is for pre-proposals. The full proposal process is only open to applicants whose pre-proposal applications are selected by the agency to go forward from the pre-proposal stage.

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