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Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

Grants to USA State, Local, and Tribal Agencies, IHEs, Farming
Cooperatives, and Agricultural Producers for Environmental Projects

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Conf. Date:

09/10/20

Deadline Date:

11/30/20 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Description:

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Grants to USA and Territories state, local, and tribal agencies, IHEs, farming cooperatives, and agricultural producers for environmental projects. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Funding is intended for a range of on-the-ground conservation activities implemented by farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value-added contributions to expand the collective ability to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns. Through RCPP, NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners to implement projects that demonstrate innovative solutions to conservation challenges and provide measurable improvements and outcomes tied to the resource concerns they seek to address.

RCPP Conservation Activities:

RCPP projects may include a range of on-the-ground conservation activities implemented by farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. These activities include:

  • Land management/land improvement/restoration practices
  • Land rentals
  • Entity-held easements
  • United States-held easements
  • Public works/watersheds

A single RCPP project application can propose to employ any combination of these eligible activity types as part of an RCPP project.

Successful RCPP projects embody the following core principles:

  • Impact: RCPP applications must propose effective and compelling solutions that address one or more natural resource priorities to help solve natural resource challenges. Partners are responsible for evaluating a project’s impact and results.
  • Partner Contributions: Partners are responsible for identifying any combination of cash and in-kind value-added contributions to leverage NRCS’s RCPP investments. It is NRCS’s goal that partner contributions at least equal the NRCS investment in an RCPP project. Substantive partner contributions are given priority consideration as part of the RCPP application evaluation criteria. 
  • Innovation: NRCS seeks projects that integrate multiple conservation approaches, implement innovative conservation approaches or technologies, build new partnerships, and effectively take advantage of program flexibilities to deliver conservation solutions.
  • Partnerships and Management: Partners must have experience, expertise, and capacity to manage the partnership and project, provide outreach to producers, and quantify the environmental outcomes of an RCPP project. RCPP ranking criteria give preference to applicants that meaningfully engage historically underserved farmers and ranchers.

RCPP applicants must identify in their proposals whether they are applying to the CCA or State/multistate fund pool. For more information, see page 7 of the NOFO in Attached Files, below. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 144030

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$360,000,000

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum RCPP funding available for any project (combined financial and technical assistance) selected under this announcement is $10 million. The minimum funding amount for an RCPP project is $250,000.

Term of Contract:

RCPP funds, at the time of PPA execution, are committed by NRCS for the duration of the project, generally not to exceed 5 years from the date of PPA execution. Partners may request a PPA term of longer than 5 years in exceptional circumstances.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Lead partner entities must qualify as one of the following:
- An agricultural or silvicultural producer association or other group of producers.
- A State or unit of local government.
- An Indian Tribe.
- A farmer cooperative.
- A water district, irrigation district, acequia, rural water district or association, or other organization with specific water delivery authority to agricultural producers.
- A municipal water or wastewater treatment entity.
- An institution of higher education.
- An entity, such as an Indian Tribe, State government, local government, or a nongovernmental organization that has a farmland or grassland protection program that purchases agricultural land easements, as defined in 7 CFR Section 1468.3.
- A conservation district.
- An organization or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers on agricultural land, as determined by NRCS, to address Local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, or nonindustrial private forest land management; or Critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource issues

Partner Eligibility:
Eligible organizations interested in partnering with NRCS on conservation projects can develop applications for the RCPP competition. The lead partner for an RCPP project is the entity that submits an application, and if selected for an award is ultimately responsible for collaborating with NRCS to successfully complete an RCPP project.

Producer and Landowner Eligibility:
Once NRCS selects a project and executes an RCPP agreement with a lead partner, agricultural producers may participate in an RCPP project in one of two ways. First, producers may engage with project partners and delegate a willing partner to act as their representative in working with NRCS. Second, producers seeking to carry out conservation activities consistent with a RCPP project in the project’s geographic area can apply directly to NRCS.

Land Eligibility:
RCPP projects must be carried out on agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land or associated land on which NRCS determines an eligible activity would help achieve conservation benefits (i.e., improved condition of natural resources resulting from implementation of conservation activities).

Eligible conservation activities may be implemented on public lands when those activities will benefit eligible lands as determined by NRCS and are included in the scope of an approved RCPP project.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Information Sessions:
- Interested applicants are encouraged to attend information sessions during the proposal open period. A webinar with general program information for RCPP applicants is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern Time on August 27, 2020.
- A second webinar that specifically addresses how to submit an RCPP proposal through the RCPP portal is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern Time on September 10, 2020.

Details on this webinar will be posted on the URL for Full Text

Pre-Application Information:

RCPP Classic Application Period Open through November 30, 2020.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the appropriate RCPP State Coordinator(s) with questions.

Applicants must have eAuthentication (eAuth) level-2 credentials to access the RCPP portal. This is a Departmental requirement and is non-negotiable. The steps for obtaining eAuth permissions to submit an RCPP project proposal are—
1. Identify a single system user for your organization
2. Establish a USDA level-2 e-Auth account (designated user only)
3. After an eAuth credential is secured, request RCPP portal system access
4. Develop full proposal in RCPP portal.

The RCPP portal automatically sends applicants an email to acknowledge receipt at the time of submission. Applicants are solely responsible for ensuring timely submission through the portal and are strongly advised to allow sufficient time to obtain eAuth and RCPP portal access, and to complete the proposal in the RCPP portal. Applicants are advised that steps 2 and 3 above may take several weeks to complete. Difficulties related to these or other proposal submission requirements will not result in an extension of the proposal deadline.

DUNS Number—A Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of over 70 million businesses worldwide. All RCPP applicants must have or obtain a DUNS number and include it in their proposal.

SAM Number—All RCPP applicants must also have or obtain a current System for Award Management (SAM) number and include it in their proposal. SAM is the official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of the Central Contractor Registration, Federal Register, Online Representations and Certification Application, and Excluded Parties List System. Applicants should allow ample time to obtain or renew a SAM number.

How to Apply:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/rcpp/?cid=nrcseprd1477816

View this Opportunity on Grants.gov:
https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=328578

News Release: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=nrcseprd1670816

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Applicants must submit proposals through the RCPP portal at
https://nrcs-sites.secure.force.com/.

Applicants with questions are encouraged to contact the appropriate NRCS State RCPP coordinator with questions. State RCPP coordinators are often best suited to answer partner questions about proposals and RCPP in general. See Appendix II of the NOFO in Attached Files, below page 31.

Potential applicants may also contact national RCPP staff by email at rccp@usda.gov with questions.

CFDA Number:

10.932

Funding or Pin Number:

USDA-NRCS-NHQ-RCPPC-21-NOFO0001033

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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