Clean water plants implored to apply to Regional Conservation Partnership Program

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WASHINGTON, DC, May 29, 2014 -- The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) welcomes the rollout of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which was launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Tuesday, May 27. The NACWA plans to partner with the USDA in ushering in a new era of collaborative conservation.

The new RCPP enables municipal water and wastewater authorities to play an increasingly significant role in helping agricultural producers achieve better water quality outcomes. Further, the program encourages partnerships between agricultural producers and municipal entities, such as NACWA's public clean water agency members, to help farmers manage nutrients and improve water quality on a regional scale more effectively.

Almost $400 million will be available in the first full year to support this work. NACWA is encouraging its members located in watersheds who can benefit from working in collaboration with agricultural producers to take advantage of the opportunity the RCPP provides. Likewise, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has also indicated a strong interest in working with the clean water sector to help make the RCPP a success.

"42 years after the passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA), we have reached a point where we must move upstream in our watersheds to realize further water quality improvements," said Ken Kirk, Executive Director, NACWA. "The RCPP will foster progress by encouraging all sources and sectors of water pollution to work collaboratively, and I encourage our utility members to apply."

Bruce Roll, Director Watershed Management, Clean Water Services, added, "Restoring watershed health will require innovative urban and agricultural partnerships. With programs like the RCPP, we will be able to build the capacity to address complex water quality issues and at the same time support the economic vitality of our agricultural and urban communities."

Accordingly, "Protecting and enhancing land and water natural resources must be a collaborative effort to succeed regionally," said Kevin Shafer, Executive Director, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. "Success will not be realized if solutions are approached as solely an urban or a rural issue; the solutions will be found with a watershed approach. The 2014 Farm Bill's Regional Conservation Partnership Program is the right approach at the right time. The RCPP will align an entire watershed's resources around common, cost-effective approaches to help the farmer and their municipal partners meet the future needs of their country."

See also:

"New Farm Bill spurs partnership between agriculture, clean water agencies"

"USGS grants to help communities meet agricultural water challenges"

About NACWA

NACWA represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.

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