Friday, December 3, 2021

NRCS-PA Accepting Applications From Farm, Forest Landowners Along Kittatinny Ridge To Permanently Preserve Sensitive Lands

Agricultural landowners and owners of non-industrial private forestland can apply for funding for
USDA NRCS RCPP Entity Held Easements in a new RCPP Project led by The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture entitled “Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape.”

RCPP Entity Held Easements provide funding to cooperating entities to preserve agricultural land with a focus on preserving prime and statewide important soils, or forestland. 

NRCS conservationists will work with producers to develop a conservation plan on their land to identify concerns and opportunities, help determine objectives, and recommend solutions.

“Our high-quality, comprehensive conservation plans can provide farmers and landowners with step-by-step recommendations they can use to improve their water quality, soil health and more -- all while reducing input costs,” said Denise Coleman, Pennsylvania NRCS State Conservationist.

The Kittatinny Ridge is a landscape within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that encompasses a ridge and valley area in south central Pennsylvania. 

The Kittatinny Ridge is also an important natural region with productive agricultural land and forestland with important habitat areas. This area also encompasses two important defense operations, the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center and Letterkenny Army Depot. 

The Kittatinny Ridge RCPP project area can be viewed on the map posted on the PA NRCS website.

NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. Pennsylvania landowners with applications in by January 4, 2022, will have a higher chance of application approval in 2022, as funding is limited. 

Applications received after that date will be accepted and considered for funding in additional ranking review cycles if funds remain. March 1, 2022 is the date for the second 2022 review. 

To Participate

To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be farm or forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria.

The following partner Entities are participating in this RCPP Project. Please contact any of the individuals listed below to apply for an easement that would be held by that Entity. 

For additional information landowners can contact Stephanie Zimmerman at the PA Department of Agriculture at 717-783-3167.

RCPP Partner Entity Contact Information

1. PA Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Farmland Preservation, Contact Persons: Douglas Wolfgang, Director, or Stephanie Zimmerman, Administrative Officer, Phone: 717-783-3167

2. PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Contact Person: Ashley Rebert, Chief Land Conservation and Stewardship Phone: 717-772-3322

3. PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Environmental Management, Contact Person: Daryl Valley, ACUB Program Manager, Phone:  717-861-2634  Or:  Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, Contact Person:  Tom Inge, Phone: 434-470-1776

4. Pennsylvania Game Commission, Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management, Contact Person:, John Taucher, Private Lands Section Chief, Phone: 717-787-4250

5. The Nature Conservancy, PA/DE Chapter, Contact Person: Mari-Beth DeLucia, Land Conservation Manager, Phone: 717-232-6001 ext. 215    

6. Manada Conservancy, Contact Person Sally Zaino, President P.O. Box 25 Hummelstown, PA 17036 Phone Office: 717-566-4122 Phone Mobile: 717-645-2908, Secondary Contact is Mark Vibbert, Stewardship Director, Phone: 717-566-4122

7. Berks Nature, Contact Person: Sarah Chudnovsky, Land Protection Specialist for Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Phone: 610-372-4992 ext. 104,

8. Central Pennsylvania Conservancy, Contact Person: Anna N. Yelk, Executive Director 401 E. Louther St., Suite 308 Carlisle, PA  17013, Phone Office: 717-241-4360 Phone Cellular: 717-756-9763; Secondary contact: Ben Mummert, 

9. Lebanon Valley Conservancy, Contact: Courtney Reimann, Executive Director and Jon Schach, Board President, Phone: 717-273-6400

Click Here for the complete announcement.

Visit the NRCS-PA Regional Conservation Partnership Program webpage for more information.  Questions should be directed to Susan Marquart, PA RCPP Manager, 717-237-2237.

For more information on assistance available to landowners, visit the NRCS-PA webpage.

Related Article:

-- NRCS-PA Now Accepting Applications For $300,000 For Funding Forest Easements In 12 PA Counties 

[Posted: December 3, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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