Kansas pre-proposals approved to submit full proposals for RCPP funding
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) drew an overwhelming response from partners across the nation. Of the 600 pre-proposals submitted in July, about 230 were accepted to continue the process by submitting full proposals by Oct. 2.
“The RCPP offers a unique opportunity to harness innovation and welcome new partners into the conservation mission. The program puts our partners in the driver’s seat, allowing them to find creative solutions to the conservation issues in their areas,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said.
The RCPP provides a way for private companies, tribes, local communities and non-government partners to collaborate and invest in cleaner water and air, healthier soil and enhanced wildlife habitat. It will enable USDA to partner with third parties or work directly with producers in watersheds and other critical conservation areas to leverage private sector funding to maximize conservation investments.
Applicants from across the nation applied to the program, requesting more than six times the $394 million in available funding. Partners identified the resources they would bring to the table in order to leverage USDA’s investment.
By mid-July, partners had submitted pre-proposals for rigorous evaluation, including 201 for projects related to eight previously designated critical conservation areas, 60 for multi-state and national-level projects, and 278 for state-level projects, including three from Kansas.
Applicants chose between three funding pools, the Critical Conservation Area (CCA), the National, and the State. Kansas’ pre-proposals now moving on to the next step will receive funding consideration from one in the National and two in the State funding pools.
“The amount of pre-proposals from Kansas and across the nation show a like-minded determination to better the quality of our lands and their ecosystems,” said Kansas State Conservationist Eric B. Banks. “As the program grows, we expect to see Kansas’ forward-thinking and proposal counts grow with it.”
The RCPP was made possible by the 2014 farm bill.