Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 115 high-impact projects across all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive more than $370 million in federal funding as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In addition, these projects will leverage an estimated $400 million more in partner contributions—for a total of nearly $800 million—to improve the nation’s water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment. Vilsack made the announcement near Phoenix, where the new program will invest in a project with five local partners to clean and conserve water along the Verde River, a tributary of the Colorado River.

“This is an entirely new approach to conservation efforts,” said Vilsack. “These partnerships empower communities to set priorities and lead the way on conservation efforts important for their region. They also encourage private sector investment so we can make an impact that’s well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own. We’re giving private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in a new era in conservation that ultimately benefits us all. These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism, outdoor recreation, and other industries.”

A complete list of the projects and their descriptions is available on the NRCS website.