Notice of Funding Opportunity for NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangement for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020.

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Funding Opportunity ID: 325380
Opportunity Number: USDA-NRCS-NHQ-RCPP-20-GEN0010751
Opportunity Title: Notice of Funding Opportunity for NRCS’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangement for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2020.
Opportunity Category: Discretionary
Opportunity Category Explanation:
Funding Instrument Type: Other
Category of Funding Activity: Agriculture
Environment
Natural Resources
Category Explanation:
CFDA Number(s): 10.932
Eligible Applicants: Others (see text field entitled “Additional Information on Eligibility” for clarification)
Additional Information on Eligibility: RCPP Eligible partners include: • 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, 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; and • An organization or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers on agricultural land, as determined by NRCS, to address: o Local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, or nonindustrial private forest land management; or o Critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource issues. • An entity, such as an Indian Tribe, State government, local government, or a nongovernmental organization that has a program that purchases agricultural land easements, as defined in 7 CFR Section 1468.3. • A conservation district. Individual producers and landowners are not eligible to submit project applications under this notice.
Agency Code: USDA-NRCS
Agency Name: Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Posted Date: Mar 17, 2020
Close Date: May 18, 2020
Last Updated Date: Mar 12, 2020
Award Ceiling: $10,000,000
Award Floor: $250,000
Estimated Total Program Funding:
Expected Number of Awards:
Description: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY DUE DATE: Applications must be received by NRCS by Midnight Eastern Time on May 18th. NOTE: This announcement is for the RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangement (AFA) competition, through which NRCS can make up to 15 awards per fiscal year, providing RCPP funding directly to eligible partners using a grant-like approach. The fiscal year 2020 RCPP Classic funding announcement is scheduled for release in summer 2020. For RCPP Classic, a majority of RCPP funding is provided by NRCS to producers and landowners through contracts and conservation easements. Through AFAs, RCPP funding is provided to partners, which in turn are responsible for working with and providing funding to producers and landowners for eligible conservation activities. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) promotes coordination of NRCS conservation activities with partners that offer value-added contributions that expand our collective ability to address on-farm, watershed, and regional natural resource concerns. NRCS seeks to co-invest with RCPP 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. Through RCPP, partners propose projects—using guidance contained in this notice—that generate conservation benefits by addressing specific natural resource objectives in a state/multistate area, or address one or more primary resource concerns within a Critical Conservation Area (CCA). NRCS and partners design, implement and evaluate RCPP projects on agricultural and non-industrial private forest land. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized RCPP and made several substantive changes to the program. RCPP is now a standalone program driven by three key objectives—incentivizing innovation and flexibility, leveraging partner contributions and measuring environmental outcomes. NRCS will co-invest in projects selected through a competitive application process that evaluates applications based on four criteria: impact, partner contributions, innovation, and partnerships and management. Another change to the RCPP statute modified a provision authorizing NRCS to provide funding to entities through AFAs, leading to the development of this RCPP AFA funding announcement. RCPP AFA is intended to support project structures and approaches that cannot be carried out as effectively through RCPP Classic. RCPP AFA applicants must describe the innovative nature of the conservation approach they are proposing to justify potential funding through the AFA funding announcement, versus RCPP Classic. Additionally, applicants should consider the additional administrative and technical assistance responsibilities that accompany receipt of an AFA award. The 2018 Farm Bill statute provides examples of project types that might be implemented through RCPP AFA: Projects that use innovative approaches to leverage the Federal investment in conservation; Projects that deploy a pay-for-performance conservation approach; Projects that seek large-scale infrastructure investments that generate conservation benefits for agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forest owners. Although RCPP AFA provides flexibilities to partners, these projects share the overarching focus of RCPP — engaging with producers and landowners to implement conservation practices, systems and approaches on or for the benefit of agricultural and forest lands. This notice announces the availability of funding for up to 15 RCPP AFA projects in fiscal year 2020. Applications are 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). SUBMISSIONS: Applications must be submitted through the RCPP Portal: https://nrcs-sites.secure.force.com/ FOR MORE INFORMATION: A webinar for interested RCPP applicants is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern Time on April 2nd. Information on how to tune into the webinar, along with all other RCPP application information, is housed on the national RCPP webpage: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/rcpp/ Partners may email the RCPP inbox — rcpp@usda.gov with questions about this announcement.
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