The USDA has announced that 88 high-impact projects across the U.S. will receive nearly a quarter billion dollars in federal funding as part of the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In addition, partners have proposed to contribute up to an additional $500 million to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.
Four projects in California have been named as recipients. The USDA investment here will reach nearly $22 million, with matching funds exceeding $50 million. The projects are as follows:
- Black Rascal Creek Project – The USDA will invest $10 million for flood protection in Merced County, including the city of Merced and surrounding prime agricultural lands that have seen frequent and severe flooding. Matching funds are more than $25 million.
- Livestock in Harmony with Sage‐Grouse – The states of California and Nevada are working together on this project to conserve key sage-grouse habitat. The USDA will provide $8 million and matching funds are more than $20 million.
- San Mateo Coast Farmland, Water and Wildlife – Integration of land protection and stewardship strategies for natural resource conservation on agricultural lands. The USDA will provide nearly $3.5 million more more than $5.5 million in matching funds.
- San Diego County Partners Agricultural Sustainability – Nearly $475,000 will come from the USDA for improved irrigation efficiency on 120 agricultural properties. Matching funds are nearly $725,000.
By 2018, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and its partners, including Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, private industry, water districts, universities and many others, will have invested at least $2.4 billion through RCPP, which was created by the 2014 Farm Bill.