September 26, 2021

USDA to invest up to $360 million in partner-driven conservation

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service in Illinois is inviting potential conservation partners to submit project applications for federal funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Nationally, NRCS will award up to $360 million dollars to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

“RCPP brings an expanded approach to investing in natural resource conservation that empowers local communities to work with multiple partners and agricultural producers to design solutions that work best for them,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.

Partners may request between $250,000 and $10 million in RCPP funding through this funding announcement. Partners are expected to offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding in an amount equal or greater to the NRCS investment.

“Eligible lead partners are encouraged to apply. Funding is open to private industry, non-government organizations, state and local governments, soil and water conservation districts, and universities. RCPP can work for current partners or new partners,” Dozier said.

First authorized by the 2014 farm bill, RCPP has combined nearly $1 billion in NRCS investments with close to $2 billion in non-NRCS dollars to implement conservation practices across the nation. There are 336 active RCPP projects that have engaged more than 2,000 partners.

Illinois is already enjoying the benefits of successful RCPP projects that provide innovative conservation solutions, leverage partner contributions and offer impactful and measurable outcomes.

USDA is now accepting proposals for RCPP through the RCPP portal. Proposals are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 4. For more information, view the Application for Program Funding on grants.gov.