Puget Sound – Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

San Juanr ferry ride at sunset, by Kelsey Green

San Juan ferry ride at sunset, by Kelsey Green

The Puget Sound Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) supports voluntary, incentive-based conservation projects on private lands that improve water quality and habitat for at-risk species, including Chinook salmon, bull trout, and steelhead.

A strategic approach to voluntary conservation

Rather than funding projects that are scattered across a large geographic area, the Puget Sound RCPP makes coordinated investments that fund several conservation practices within a specific watershed or portion of a watershed.  This allows for more efficient and measurable improvements in water quality and salmon habitat.

How it works

  • Landowners within designated watershed project areas request cost-share assistance to help them complete eligible conservation best management practices (BMPs) on their property. (“Cost-share” means both the landowner and the watershed project lead will cover a portion of the BMP cost.)
  • Eligible BMPs are determined by watershed project area. Examples of practices may include replanting streamside areas or removing fish barriers.
Eligible watersheds

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has committed primarily Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding to implement this program. Currently, EQIP applications are being accepted for the following project areas:

Eligible producers and entities interested in applying for financial assistance through this program should contact their local NRCS office or project area lead (follow links above to view project lead contact information for each area).

Priority areas

The Washington State Conservation Commission and The Nature Conservancy partnered to determine priority geographic areas to focus and target RCPP and partner funding. That prioritization is described in the Opportunity Assessment for Salmon and Water Quality in Puget Sound.

You may also view an interactive map of the priority areas identified.

Program administration

The Puget Sound RCPP began in 2015 as a partnership between the NRCS and the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC). It is one of several programs funded through the national Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a new NRCS initiative created in the 2014 Farm Bill.

NRCS has committed $9 million over the 5-year agreement term for the Puget Sound RCPP to implement a precision conservation approach to address water quality and salmon habitat resource concerns in the Puget Sound. The SCC is the lead and program administrator for the Puget Sound RCPP and has committed to matching the investment made by NRCS.