EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:NRCS is the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) conservation agency working with farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners nationwide to identify and address natural resource objectives in balance with operational goals in order to benefit soil, water, wildlife, and related
natural resources locally, regionally, and nationally.
NRCS works in partnership with other entities to accelerate getting conservation on the ground.Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), NRCS seeks to co-invest with partners in innovative, workable and cost-effective approaches to benefit farming, ranching, and forest operations, local economies, and the communities and resources in a watershed or other geographic area.RCPP partners develop project applications, as described in this notice, to address specific natural resource objectives in a proposed area or region.
Partnering organizations design, promote, implement, and evaluate the project outcomes.NRCS will select final RCPP projects following a two-phase application process that includes:(1)a pre-proposal application; and (2) a full proposal application.
NRCS will assess and evaluate RCPP project applications against four criteria-solutions, contributions, innovation, and participation.
The full proposal process is only open to applicants whose pre-proposal applications are selected by the agency to go forward from the pre-proposal stage.
All RCPP applications become the prope1iy of NRCS for use in the administration of the program and will not be returned to the applicant.RCPP federal assistance is delivered in accordance with the authorities of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP), and in ce1iain geographic areas, the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program.
NRCS and partners implement RCPP projects by working with agricultural producers and owners of agricultural and forestland.The purpose of this notice is to announce the availability of CCC funding for RCPP and to solicit applications from potential partners.
Subject to fiscal year (FY) 2016 appropriations, NRCS anticipates the availability of about $225 million in funding for RCPP.
If the Sequester were not in effect in FY 2016, as proposed in the President's FY 2016 Budget, available funding would be about $235 million.
The FY 2015 proposal process offered up to $394 million in funding, reflecting two years of funding (FY2014 and FY2015), not a higher level of annual funding.Applications will be accepted from all 50 States, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and U. S. Virgin Islands), and U. S. territories in the Pacific Island Areas (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).