RCPP in the Delaware River Basin

Through two Farm Bill cycles, American Farmland Trust championed an innovative approach to federal conservation programs. Passed into law in 2014, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) supports local efforts that leverage private sector investment in conservation.

"In the past, much of the USDA's conservation focus has been on individual farms. The new RCPP enables multiple farms and landowners within a defined region to rally around landscape-level programs and achieve greater impact," Mid-Atlantic Director Jim Baird says.

USDA awarded more than 100 grants to conservation projects across the country. AFT is the lead agency for an exciting project impacting farmers in The Delaware River Basin.

This $13 million USDA grant will provide farmers in priority areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey with expert advice and funding to implement projects such as reducing nutrient runoff, restoring stream banks and wetlands, and improving forests.

"Such efforts will improve water quality, quantity and wildlife habitat," says AFT's Mid-Atlantic Director Jim Baird. "Landowners will also be able to use these funds to help permanently protect their farmland from development in concert with other conservation practices."

This grant is matched by $18 million, part of a significant long-term investment from the William Penn Foundation and other sources, which will put more than $30 million into the health of the Delaware.