NACWA is pleased that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) recenty and looks forward to working with the Department in ushering in a new era of collaborative conservation. The RCPP makes municipal water and wastewater authorities eligible to play an increasingly significant role in helping agricultural producers achieve better water quality outcomes. The RCPP encourages partnerships between agricultural producers and municipal entities, like NACWA’s public clean water agency members, to help farmers manage nutrients and improve water quality on a regional scale more effectively. Almost $400M will be available in the first full year to support this work, and NRCS has indicated a strong interest in working with the clean water sector to help make the RCPP a success.
“42 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, we have reached a point where we must move upstream in our watersheds to realize further water quality improvements. The RCPP will foster progress by encouraging all sources and sectors of water pollution to work collaboratively, and I encourage our utility members to apply,” says Ken Kirk, Executive Director, NACWA.
“Protecting and enhancing land and water natural resources must be a collaborative effort to succeed regionally. Success will not be realized if solutions are approached as solely an urban or a rural issue; the solutions will be found with a watershed approach. The 2014 Farm Bill’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program is the right approach at the right time. The RCPP will align an entire watershed’s resources around common, cost effective approaches to help the farmer and their municipal partners meet the future needs of their country,” stated Kevin Shafer, Executive Director, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.
“Restoring watershed health will require innovative urban and agricultural partnerships. With programs like the RCPP, we will be able to build the capacity to address complex water quality issues and at the same time support the economic vitality of our agricultural and urban communities,” adds Bruce Roll, Director Watershed Management, Clean Water Services.
NACWA is encouraging its members located in watersheds that can benefit from working in collaboration with agricultural producers to come forward and take advantage of the opportunity the RCPP provides.
SOURCE: The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)