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 property 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 certain 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 forest land. 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) 2018 appropriations, NRCS anticipates the availability of up to $252.6 million in funding for RCPP. RCPP is not a grant program. Through RCPP, NRCS works with partners to provide a combination of financial and technical assistance to help producers implement conservation practices. 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).
Proposal Deadline: Apr 21, 2017. Closing date is for submission of "Pre-applications" only. Selected applicants will be notified to submit "Full applications" no later than August 31, 2017.