The Greater Spokane River RCPP
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was developed by the 2014 Farm Bill. It is a partner-driven, locally led approach to enhancing conservation efforts in a targeted area. It offers new opportunities for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to promote innovation, gather new partners to the conservation mission, and demonstrate the value and worth of voluntary, private land conservation.
With RCPP, partners are in the “driver’s seat” with technical and financial help from NRCS. Partners develop projects that deliver solutions to natural resource challenges. RCPP empowers local organizations and communities to pitch their own projects. This year, NRCS received 265 pre-proposals, and of those, NRCS selected the best of the best to send a full proposal for funding consideration. NRCS funded 84 of those projects this year. The Greater Spokane River Watershed Project was one of two Washington State projects to be selected from the National Pool. The Spokane Conservation District (SCD) is the lead for the Spokane River project and will work side-by-side with NRCS, other conservation partners, and agricultural producers to conserve natural resources. This project will lead to cleaner and more abundant water, healthier soil, enhanced wildlife habitat and many other benefits.
The Spokane Conservation District and its’ many partners secured $7.7 million from the RCPP program to help fund various conservation efforts across nearly 4 million acres between Washington State and Idaho (see map on back). The partners must match the USDA contribution which brings the total funds available for conservation projects to $15.4 million. The projects will utilize NRCS programs such as EQIP, CSP and others to focus improvements in water quality, soil health, habitat, and to benefit working agricultural and forested lands. Agricultural producers can participate in practices including direct seeding, mulch-till, riparian plantings and buffers, grass filter strips and more. Landowners can also qualify for lease payments for agricultural and forested easements.
Starting in the fall of 2016, the project will implement approximately 150,000 acres of conservation and work with over 300 producers over the next five years. This project will introduce a new practice called the “Commodity Buffer”. This is a buffer that will protect water quality, but will compensate the landowner for the loss of land placed under the program at the same value of the adjacent upland crop. The fully implemented project will save approximately 600,000 tons of soil erosion throughout the Spokane River Basin. Water quality monitoring will be a critical component to the upcoming project. The SCD will implement “edge of field monitoring” to assess the effectiveness and success of on-farm soil and water conservation efforts. This will allow for comparing various types of conservation efforts to more traditional farming techniques.
Lead: Spokane Conservation District
WA State Department of Ecology Idaho Department of Lands
Coeur d’ Alene Tribe Inland NW Land Conservancy
Spokane Tribe of Indians Pacific NW Direct Seed Association
Benewah Soil and Water CD WA State Department of Transportation
Kootenai-Shoshone CD Spokane Falls Chapter, Trout Unlimited
Pine Creek CD Spokane River Forum
The Lands Council WA State Conservation Commission
WA State Department of Natural Resources Spokane County, Division of Eng. & Roads
Is my property eligible for incentives through the Greater Spokane Watershed RCPP?
The first step to check for eligibility is to view this map and see if your property is in the geographic area the program will serve. If it looks like your property is in the program area, give us a call and SCD Staff will help from there: 509-535-7274.