USDA Awards Texas Conservation Projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service


For Immediate Release

August 15, 2022


 Lori Ziehr
Assistant State Conservationist-Programs

USDA is awarding Texas more than $21 million for four locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Texas projects include:

Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP)

The lead partner, Pecan Bayou Soil and Water Conservation District #553 primary goal through the Drought Resilience Incentive Program (DRIP) is to increase surface water supplies by addressing brush infiltration onto rangelands in central Texas. The partnership plans to treat approximately 4,000 acres and re-seed treated areas with native perennials. A unique pay-for-performance approach will provide funding to producers based on estimated acre-feet of water yield increase.

Prairie Grasslands Conservation in Central Texas: GRIP

As the lead partner, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever goal of the Prairie Grassland Conservation in Central Texas project is to help producers incorporate proven grassland management practices into their operations to increase plant diversity and carbon sequestration, and reverse grassland bird losses caused by habitat degradation. The partnership will focus its efforts on a 30-county area in central Texas, aiming to work on at least 54,000 acres by contacting over 4,000 producers to recruit project participants. Many of the implemented practices, primarily chosen to benefit grassland bird species, will have a secondary benefit of improving or restoring habitat for monarch butterflies.

Nueces Watershed Additive Conservation Partnership

The Nueces River Watershed encompasses all or portions of 23 counties in south Texas and is responsible for approximately 60% of the recharge to the Edwards Aquifer. Over the past two decades, however, development has eaten into the agricultural land base of the watershed, threatening the region’s water resources. Texas Agricultural Land Trust (TALT) and nine partners plan to place conservation easements on almost 7,000 acres of farm and ranch lands with high conservation value, identified and targeted using geospatial analysis. Partnerships with Audubon Texas and Grassroots Carbon will connect producers with new marketing opportunities. The lead partner is Texas Agricultural Land Trust.

Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape RCPP

Joint Base San Antonio--Camp Bullis, which provides critical medical training facilities for all branches of the Armed Forces, faces numerous challenges to its mission including urban encroachment, increased droughts, floods, and wildfire risk, decreases in water quality and quantity, decreases in habitat for critical species, and ultimately an increased vulnerability to climate change. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and a unique coalition of military, conservation and agricultural organizations plan to use a combination of land management activities and conservation easements to address these resource concerns across an almost million-acre project area. Project funding will be targeted to lands with maximal conservation value to meet the goals and objectives of the Camp Bullis Sentinel Landscape. The lead partner is Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

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.”

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