USDA Awards Washington Conservation Projects $7.2 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

For Immediate Release

Aug. 12, 2022


Nate Gallahan

NRCS-WA State Public Affairs Specialist

509.323.2911 |

USDA Awards Washington Conservation Projects $7.2 million through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – USDA is awarding Washington $7.2 million for the following two locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program | Awarded $6,000,000
Grant County Conservation District and seven contributing partners plan to help agricultural producers replace groundwater irrigation systems with Columbia River surface water for 11,180 acres of high-value irrigated farmland that currently relies on the rapidly declining Odessa Subarea Aquifer. The partnership plans to work with up to 13 farms and ultimately leave over 33,000 acre-feet of water in the aquifer each year. Groundwater replacement will provide benefits to the local and regional economy, improving water quality and quantity for municipalities, strengthening the agricultural industry to be more climate resilient, and encouraging local job growth.

Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program | Awarded $1,175,325
The Whatcom County Conservation Easement Program’s (CEP) purpose is to permanently preserve farm and forest land to maintain economically viable natural resource industries in northwest Washington. Many of the working lands targeted by this project are zoned for rural development, placing increasing threats to our agricultural and forest industries. The project leverages existing farm and forest land preservation programs. The partnership plans to use part of the RCPP funding to engage limited resource producers as beneficiaries of buy-protect-sell easement transactions.

RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality, and address other critical challenges on agricultural land.

“Our partners are experts in their fields and understand the challenges in their own backyards,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through RCPP we can tap into that knowledge, in partnership with producers and USDA, to come up with lasting solutions to the challenges that farmers, ranchers, and landowners face. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of public-private partnership at its best, made possible through these RCPP investments.”

Read the full press release here.