Regional Conservation Partnership Program
In 2015, the Kansas Forest Service was awarded a $13 million grant through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The grant deliverables provided direction for KFS to partner with agricultural producers and landowners to improve water quality in Kansas by reducing farmland loss to stream bank erosion and reducing the sedimentation of federal reservoirs.
The program focuses on the upper reaches of priority watersheds above federal reservoirs that provide two-thirds of the water supply in Kansas. Through RCPP, landowners can apply to receive funding to support their efforts to improve water quality and reduce the sedimentation of federal reservoirs through tree planting and forest stand improvement.
The program covers most of a landowner’s costs to plant trees and improve woodlands by removing invasive and undesirable trees. Streambank stabilization projects were added to the program for farmers and ranchers who are losing valuable farm ground to streambank erosion.
Many Kansas streams and rivers have incised channels (cut in a “U” shape) with high unstable streambanks. Incised channels often require significant bank shaping and engineering to stop soil erosion and withstand flood events when most of the erosion occurs.
“We recognized that streambank shaping and engineering can be a significant investment for landowners,” said Bob Atchison, Rural Forestry Program Coordinator. “Adding streambank stabilization to the RCPP will alleviate some of that cost burden.”
To qualify for RCPP funding applicants must be in one of the targeted watershed areas; be engaged in agricultural production, forest management or have interest in the agricultural or forestry operation associated with the land offered for enrollment; and the land must have a resource concern as determined by KFS district foresters or NRCS district conservationists.
KFS partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to bring RCPP to Kansas landowners.
KFS foresters and NRCS engineers are available to meet with interested landowners to discuss potential projects. Additional information can be obtained on the web at http://www.kansasforests.org/streamside_forestry/rcpp.html or by calling the Kansas Forest Service State Office at 785-532-3300.