Friday, August 12, 2022

USDA Awards Regional Conservation Partnership Program Grants To 2 Projects In PA Totaling $17.8 Million

On August 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture  announced it is awarding $197 million for 41 locally led conservation projects through the
Regional Conservation Partnership Program. 

Two projects in Pennsylvania received a total of $17.8 million.

RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality, and address other critical challenges on agricultural land.

“Our partners are experts in their fields and understand the challenges in their own backyards,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through RCPP we can tap into that knowledge, in partnership with producers and USDA, to come up with lasting solutions to the challenges that farmers, ranchers, and landowners face. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of public-private partnership at its best, made possible through these RCPP investments.”

Pennsylvania Projects

Regional Conservation Partnership Program grants benefitting Pennsylvania include--

-- Chesapeake Conservancy - $9,996,006, Match $11,494,983: Several years of strategic outreach by project partners have set the stage for this project—over 30 agricultural producers in six central Pennsylvania counties stand ready to implement conservation practices and systems that would help address water quality and wildlife habitat concerns for 18 streams listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. 

The Chesapeake Conservancy and thirteen partners will work with NRCS to accelerate conservation improvements to work toward eventual delisting of the streams. Nutrient reductions will be modeled to facilitate reporting of project outcomes.

-- PA Dept. Agriculture Farmland Preservation - $7.85 Million, Match $12.8 Million: The Farmland Preservation and Climate Change Mitigation project will leverage State and county farmland preservation investments to complement the use of RCPP funds to install climate smart practices and systems on Pennsylvania farms. 

The proposal builds on a successful 2018 RCPP award. Soil health practices and systems, as well as helping transition producers to organic production, will be the focus of the land management element of the project. 

Project partners will use COMET-Farm to model the greenhouse gas benefits of project activities.

Click Here for a complete list of projectsClick Here for full announcement.

Visit the USDA PA Natural Resources Conservation Service webpage for more information on assistance available to farmers and landowners.


Chesapeake Conservancy Program Manager Carly Dean issued this statement on the grant award--

“Chesapeake Conservancy is thrilled with today's announcement from USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service that our project was selected for a Regional Conservation Partnership Program award.

“Together with our partners, we look forward to working with NRCS to support central Pennsylvania farmers to implement conservation practices toward restoring 30 agriculturally-impaired streams by the year 2030.”

Related Articles:

-- Chesapeake Bay Program Blog: Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay Develops Corporate Partnerships To Tackle Agricultural Pollution Along Susquehanna River - By Caroline Grass, Communications Intern, Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay   [PaEN]

-- Bay Journal: Pequea Creek Restoration Work Moves Ahead In Lancaster County -- By Ad Crable, Chesapeake Bay Journal

[Posted: August 12, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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