The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia, along with partner groups, is conducting a sign-up for four regionally-focused conservation projects funded through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
This includes Project ID# 1960 – The Red Hills to the Coast, Connecting Land. This state project was developed in conjunction with Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy. The project area includes the entirety of the St. Marks River and Aucilla River watersheds in both Georgia and Florida and contains conserved, well-managed working lands and natural habitats that allow for an increase in listed species populations, improved water quality for residents, and economic benefits to surrounding communities.
Project ID# 2061 – The Georgia Sentinel Landscape, was developed in conjunction with the Georgia Conservancy Inc. which is a partnership consisting of the US Department of Agriculture, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Defense, the Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust and over a dozen other partners. GSL is one of ten designated Sentinel Landscapes in the nation. Sentinel Landscapes are working natural lands that are important to the National Defense mission. These are places where preserving the working and rural character of key landscapes strengthens the economies of farms, ranches, and forests in addition to protecting the military’s mission.
Project ID# 2574 – Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative, is led by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the Georgia Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative seeks to permanently protect at least 65 viable gopher tortoise populations and 100,000 acres of habitat in Georgia, while managing that land to maintain its habitat value. To date, 61 populations have been protected. Protecting 65 populations will help preclude the need to list the tortoise under the Endangered Species Act. Avoiding an Endangered Species Act listing will benefit the tortoise and its habitat and help maintain a compatible economic environment for Georgia’s forest owners, agricultural producers, and the business community. Military operations in the state will also benefit, as gopher tortoises are found on several military installations.
And, Project ID# 2419 – The Working Farms Fund is through the Conservation Fund. It is designed to permanently protect significant farmland across the Atlanta metropolitan “foodshed”, and create conservation opportunities for ambitious, diverse farmers to build a resilient regional food system by integrating sustainable farm practices into their production. The six-county project area in north Georgia will address resource concerns for healthy soil, water quality, wildlife, and protection of farmland in Harris, Jasper, Lamar, Meriwether, Newton, and Rockdale counties.
Each project has unique objectives and boundaries, but the ranking date for all eligible producers in these project areas to apply is November 4, 2022.