Agricultural landowners and owners of non-industrial private forestland can once again apply for funding for USDA NRCS RCPP Entity-Held Easements in the RCPP Project lead by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture entitled “Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape.”
NRCS accepts applications year-round but makes funding selections at application cut-off deadlines. The next RCPP Kittatinny Ridge parcel application review and selection cutoffs will be July 3, 2023 and November 1, 2023.
The Kittatinny Ridge is a landscape within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that encompasses a ridge and valley area in south central Pennsylvania.
The Kittatinny Ridge is also an important natural region with productive agricultural land and forestland with important habitat areas.
This area also encompasses two important defense operations, the Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center and Letterkenny Army Depot.
The Kittatinny Ridge RCPP project area can be viewed on the map posted on the PA NRCS website.
RCPP Entity Held Easements provide funding to cooperating entities to preserve agricultural land with a focus on preserving prime and statewide important soils, or forestland. NRCS conservationists will work with producers to develop a conservation plan on their land to identify concerns and opportunities, help determine objectives, and recommend solutions.
“Our high-quality, comprehensive conservation plans can provide farmers and landowners with step-by-step recommendations they can use to improve their water quality, soil health and more — all while reducing input costs,” said Denise Coleman, Pennsylvania NRCS State Conservationist.
To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be farm or forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria.
The following WeConservePA member land trust organizations are already participating in this RCPP Project:
- Manada Conservancy
- Berks Nature
- Central Pennsylvania Conservancy
- Lebanon Valley Conservancy
- The Nature Conservancy, PA/DE Chapter
Additionally, the following agencies and entities are deeply involved:
- RCPP Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape Partners
- PA Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Farmland Preservation
- PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC)
- PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Bureau of Environmental Management
- PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation
- Pennsylvania Game Commission, Bureau of Wildlife Habitat Management
For additional information landowners can contact Stephanie Zimmerman at the PA Department of Agriculture at 717-783-3167.
Visit the PA NRCS website for more information on conservation assistance available to landowners.
This post adapted from one by our friends in conservation at PA Environment Digest.