Regional Conservation Partnership Program funds will jumpstart Farmland and Water Quality Conservation Initiative, which aims to address regional natural resource concerns
WEST OLIVE — In a win for West Michigan, the Ottawa Conservation District (OCD) has been awarded project funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for their Farmland and Water Quality Conservation Initiative.
This project aims to benefit the long-term economic, social, and environmental health of Ottawa County and the surrounding area by protecting surface and groundwater quality, improving aquatic and wildlife habitat, and preserving manageable farmland in the Macatawa, Lower Grand, and Pigeon River watersheds. Along with NRCS, the OCD will be partnering with Ottawa County’s Farmland Preservation Program, the Ottawa County Groundwater Sustainability Initiative, the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, Ottawa County Farm Bureau, neighboring conservation districts, and local townships.
This project will leverage nearly 7 million federal, state, and local dollars over the next 5 years to address the unique natural resource concerns in West Michigan, and simultaneously addresses an objective of the Groundwater Sustainability Initiative’s Proactive Strategy Index, an action plan to achieve water sustainability in Ottawa County.
Through RCPP, conservation partners such as OCD work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners throughout the nation to implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats, and increase climate resilience. OCD and partners will offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding. These projects offer impactful and measurable outcomes. Throughout its history, RCPP has leveraged partner contributions of more than $1 for every $1 invested by USDA, resulting in nearly $3 billion collectively invested in natural resource conservation on private lands.
“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is public-private partnership working at its best,” said Terry Cosby, Acting Chief for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “These new projects will harness the power of partnership to help bring about solutions to natural resource concerns across the country while supporting our efforts to combat the climate crisis.”
This is the first time OCD will be partnering with NRCS on an RCPP project. The project is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 and will involve numerous other partners throughout Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Allegan counties. OCD is thankful and excited for this new opportunity to continue its mission of helping people conserve, maintain and improve natural resources and the environment for future generations.
About the Ottawa Conservation District
Ottawa Conservation District is a locally controlled resource management District created by concerned landowners and administered by a publicly elected board of directors. It was organized as a local unit of State government on May 9, 1938, under Michigan Law. The District provides local coordination for many State and Federal land and water management programs, cooperates with local government units to positively influence private land management decisions, and provides management assistance to landowners in Ottawa County. To learn more about the Ottawa Conservation District, visit ottawacd.org.