16 U.S. Code § 3871b - Regional conservation partnerships

(a) Partnership agreements authorized
The Secretary may enter into a partnership agreement with an eligible partner to implement a project that will assist producers with installing and maintaining an eligible activity on eligible land.
(b) Length
A partnership agreement shall be for a period not to exceed 5 years, except that the Secretary may extend the agreement one time for up to 12 months when an extension is necessary to meet the objectives of the program.
(c) Duties of partners
(1) In general
Under a partnership agreement, the eligible partner shall—
(A) define the scope of a project, including—
(i) the eligible activities to be implemented;
(ii) the potential agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land operations affected;
(iii) the local, State, multistate, or other geographic area covered; and
(iv) the planning, outreach, implementation, and assessment to be conducted;
(B) conduct outreach and education to producers for potential participation in the project;
(C) at the request of a producer, act on behalf of a producer participating in the project in applying for assistance under section 3871c of this title;
(D) leverage financial or technical assistance provided by the Secretary with additional funds to help achieve the project objectives;
(E) conduct an assessment of the project’s effects; and
(F) at the conclusion of the project, report to the Secretary on its results and funds leveraged.
(2) Contribution
An eligible partner shall provide a significant portion of the overall costs of the scope of the project that is the subject of the agreement entered into under subsection (a), as determined by the Secretary.
(d) Applications
(1) Competitive process
The Secretary shall conduct a competitive process to select applications for partnership agreements and may assess and rank applications with similar conservation purposes as a group.
(2) Criteria used
In carrying out the process described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall make public the criteria used in evaluating applications.
(3) Content
An application to the Secretary shall include a description of—
(A) the scope of the project, as described in subsection (c)(1)(A);
(B) the plan for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on progress made toward achieving the project’s objectives;
(C) the program resources requested for the project, including the covered programs to be used and estimated funding needed from the Secretary;
(D) each eligible partner collaborating to achieve project objectives, including their roles, responsibilities, capabilities, and financial contribution; and
(E) any other elements the Secretary considers necessary to adequately evaluate and competitively select applications for funding under the program.
(4) Priority to certain applications
The Secretary may give a higher priority to applications that—
(A) assist producers in meeting or avoiding the need for a natural resource regulatory requirement;
(B) have a high percentage of producers in the area to be covered by the agreement;
(C) significantly leverage non-Federal financial and technical resources and coordinate with other local, State, or national efforts;
(D) deliver high percentages of applied conservation to address conservation priorities or regional, State, or national conservation initiatives;
(E) provide innovation in conservation methods and delivery, including outcome-based performance measures and methods; or
(F) meet other factors that are important for achieving the purposes of the program, as determined by the Secretary.

Source

(Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1271B, as added Pub. L. 113–79, title II, § 2401,Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 746.)

 

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