Berks, Armstrong, and Butler Conservation Districts among partners
USDA’s Natural Resources Service (NRCS) announced it is investing in 48 conservation projects across 29 states through its Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). NRCS will award $206 million for these 48 RCPP projects while leveraging nearly $300 million in partner contributions.
Three projects were selected for funding in Pennsylvania:
- Kittatinny Ridge Conservation Landscape
Lead partner: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Funding amount: $ 9,928,571
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture will target the long-term protection of farmland and deciduous forests in the Kittatinny Ridge corridor of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Farm and forest land preservation investments in this region ensure food security for a growing population, support Pennsylvania’s robust agricultural economy, and protect wildlife habitat in a region home to threatened and endangered species.
- Ag BMP Implementation in the Chesapeake Bay
Lead partner: Berks County Conservation District
Funding amount: $2,232,14
The Berks County Conservation District will implement Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMP) and establish near stream conservation practices such as riparian buffers, filter strips, and animal exclusion fencing on operations in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The partners intend to model the project’s water quality improvements and report on nutrient and sediment load reductions generated by conservation implementation by producers.
- Buffalo Creek Watershed Conservation Alliance
Lead partner: Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania
Funding amount: $1,169,618
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, supported by several local partners, plans to carry out conservation planning, implement conservation practices, and purchase easements to support the long-term goal of delisting Buffalo Creek, currently designated as an impaired water body. The watershed designated as an Important Bird Area and is home to several threatened wildlife species including Eastern hellbender and Indiana bat.
Project Partner: The Armstrong Conservation District: “The Armstrong Conservation District is proud to partner with Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, The American Chestnut Foundation, and the Butler Conservation District to deliver high quality conservation programs and projects to our cooperators and landowners in the Buffalo Creek Watershed.” District Manager Dave Rupert states, “this partnership among our neighboring Butler Conservation District and two other highly respected non-governmental organizations is something that we have discussed for years and is now going to be a reality.”