Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The January Issue of The AFWA Strategist

The January issue of The AFWA Strategist is now available! Articles include brief updates on AFWA’s legislative priorities for the 114th Congress, our Legal Strategy, the Blue Ribbon Panel on America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources, aquatic invasive species, AFWA’s survey concerning lynx, online leadership development courses from the Management Assistance Team and an invitation to participate in the 2015 Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in.

The AFWA Strategist highlights the top issues that AFWA is covering as the representative voice of state, provincial and territorial fish and wildlife agencies.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Regional Conservation Partnership Program Empowers State Agencies to Focus on Priority Species

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies applauds today’s $370 million funding announcement from U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  RCPP was created by the 2014 Farm Bill to support partnership-driven, innovative conservation projects on farms, ranches and private forest land.

In this first RCPP announcement, 24 percent of funds – approximately $90 million – are going to projects that name fish and wildlife habitat as the primary resource concern.  At least 13 state fish and wildlife agencies are contributing partners on at least 16 successful RCPP projects, totaling more than $65 million in Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funds. RCPP project partners are expected to leverage the USDA contribution with their own resources, bringing the total investment from today’s announcement close to $800 million.

State fish and wildlife agencies and their partners will be using RCPP project funds to address a variety of priority fish and wildlife species and habitats: from Arizona pronghorn antelope to Gopher Tortoise in Florida, to Cerulean Warblers in Appalachian states. The states and their partners will innovatively use RCPP funds to help agricultural producers sustainably manage forests, restore grasslands, improve water quality, protect farms and ranches and enhance irrigation efficiency, to name a few.  

RCPP allows partners to decide which resource concerns to focus on, and where and how to target program funding. Partners from the 115 successful projects announced today will coordinate with the NRCS to deliver their projects, providing financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through voluntary programs to enhance conservation. 

This first application round for RCPP was highly competitive. Of approximately 600 pre-proposals, 231 projects were invited to submit full proposals. The 201 submitted full proposals requested about four times the available funding. NRCS is expected to announce another funding round with approximately $200 million available this spring.

> Read the full RCPP announcement

> Learn more about AFWA's Agricultural Conservation Focus Area