For Second Year, New Partnership-Driven Projects Boost Conservation in California

Feb 12, 2016, 15:18 ET from USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service

DAVIS, Calif., Feb. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced $220 million in funding for 84 partnership projects nationwide.  California captured funding for six projects—five completely within the state and one shared with Oregon. Funding comes through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), new in the 2014 Farm Bill. 

"We are excited and energized by these new projects that bring together a diverse mix of partners to improve California's ecosystems and landscape," said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez.  "It is very powerful to be able to engage in partnerships that embrace both agricultural and environmental interests and perspectives—and find collaborative ways of making progress on critical issues." 

Each project has its own set of conservation benefits, specific goals and management practices and can extend up to five years. Over the coming weeks, NRCS California staff will work with representatives from the selected projects to establish the scope and financial investment amounts for each individual project.

California-Specific Project Overviews:

  • Sierra Valley Conservation Partnership Project. Lead partner: Feather River Land Trust. Project will help to protect and enhance mountain meadow ecosystems in Sierra Valley, promote compatibility between wildlife habitat and agricultural landscapes, improve water quality and foster drought resiliency.
  • Sonoma County Venture Conservation. Lead partner: Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Project will focus on water supply, water quality, soil quality and wildlife habitat in Sonoma County using cutting edge science and technology.
  • Yurok Traditional Landscape Management Plan. Lead partner: Yurok Tribe.  Project will address cultural resource priorities, forest management plans, aquatic habitat conservation, carbon sequestration goals and watershed restoration on their tribal land.
  • Salton Sea Agricultural Wetlands Habitat Program. Lead partner: Salton Sea Authority. Project will help producers and partners improve Salton Sea water quality, Imperial and Coachella valley air quality, and restore wildlife habitat and wetlands.
  • North Coast Oak Woodland Conservation Project. Lead partner: University of California Cooperative Extension. Project will increase wildlife habitat, restore structural integrity of oak woodland habitat, reduce wildfire risks, increase plant communities, and improve forage and shelter for livestock.

Multi-State Project Overview:

  • Southern Oregon-Northeastern California Working Wet Meadows Initiative. Lead partner: Intermountain West Joint Venture. Project will address at risk wildlife habitat and water quality by conserving 25,000 acres of wet meadow habitats and improving the resiliency of working ranchlands.

In 2015, the first year of RCPP, NRCS selected six projects that focused on bird habitat, climate change, forest health, and a number of other conservation resources to ensure the health and sustainability of California's agricultural landscape.

RCPP selected competitive conservation projects, designed by local partners specifically for their state or region. Eligible partners included private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to their proposed initiatives.


SOURCE USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service