As one of 115 projects awarded funding through USDA’s new Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Delta Wildlife will receive $1 million for its Wetland Habitat Restoration for Wildlife and Water Resources project.
Natural Resources Conservation Service Assistant Chief Kirk Hanlin made the announcement Jan. 15 at the Stoneville, Miss.-based organization’s headquarters. With the required matching dollars provided by program partners, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program will essentially put $800 million into conservation efforts across the country.
“Starting today, with this program, we’ve asked out partners to come to us with their ideas for conservation projects,” said Hanlin. “Each of these projects are locally designed and locally led.”
According to Hanlin, program partners must provide contributions to leverage federal dollars with local funds, provide expertise, be able to quantify program results, provide innovation, and supply participation with new and different partnerships.
Delta Wildlife is the lead partner in the project to improve wetland habitats while also protecting and enhancing water resources in the Mississippi Delta. Partnering on the project with Delta Wildlife are the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Delta Council, Delta F.A.R.M., Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy of Mississippi, and all Delta county soil and water conservation districts.
“This is not an investment specifically by the federal government, but also by several partner organizations in the Delta. We wouldn’t have been awarded this project with the additional funding, assistance and expertise of our partners,” said Trey Cooke, executive director of Delta Wildlife.
“RCPP puts our partners in the driver’s seat, said Kirk Readus, Mississippi state conservationist for NRCS. “Projects are led locally, and demonstrate the value of strong public-private partnerships that deliver solutions to tough natural resource challenges.”
The 115 high-impact projects approved by NRCS will receive $370 million in federal funding as part of the new Regional Conservation Partnership Program. These projects will help leverage an estimated $400 million in partner contributions to improve the nation’s water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment, according to NRCS.
“This is the first round of RCPP funding,” said Hanlin. He expects the second round applications to begin being accepted sometime this spring.
To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.