The Resource Conservation and Development Program (RC&D) was created in 1962, to help people protect and develop their regional economic, natural, and social resources. It is a nationwide network of regional non-profit organizations that grew out of a former partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
RC&D projects are accomplished regionally through RC&D Councils, which are non-profit organizations with volunteer boards that include local and civic leaders. Their mission is to develop economic opportunities and promote good natural resource stewardship in their communities.
In 2011, 375 RC&D Councils served 180 million people in all 50 states, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. These Councils covered 80% of the geographic United States. They accomplish many things with dedicated volunteers and few resources.
The Patriot RC&D Council can help you:
- Find technical assistance
- Help write grants
- Make connections
- Training, outreach and education
- Help set up non-profit corporations
- Run programs
- Help build partnerships
Highlights of recent projects:
- Stormwater management and green roof on a 40-acre construction site in Boston: In 2010, we finished a $400,000, four-year sediment and erosion control project funded through an EPA/Mass. Department of Environmental Protection grant to protect the Charles River Watershed. Our 13 partners included Boston Parks Department, Mass Audubon, the New Boston Development Fund, City Soil and Bob Spencer.
- Biofuels: Oil seed crops, such as sunflowers, grown on abandoned or fallow land are an excellent way to rehabilitate the land and provide biofuel and high-quality animal feed (from the crushed seeds). Our primary partner on this project in Worcester County is Mass Natural.
- Regional horse manure management: The Patriot RC&D Council area, especially Middlesex and Essex Counties, has densely populated areas that also contain substantial and expanding horse populations. We produced a business plan that anyone can use to manage horse manure on a regional basis.
- Massachusetts Farm Energy Program: a two-year, $400,000 grant that partners with the major utility companies so farmers can become more energy efficient and consider alternative fuels and renewable energy projects.
- Supporting local agriculture and Agricultural Commissions: Researching needs and opportunities for a commercial kitchen that serves farmers in the region. 131 “AgComs” have been formed across the state. They are appointed town standing committees whose members are primarily engaged in farming and are responsible for preserving, revitalizing, and sustaining the communities’ agricultural businesses and lands.
During the planning process for our next Five-Year Area Plan, local and regional stakeholders identified the following top priorities for our area:
- Increased agricultural diversification and related market support.
- Higher participation in government conservation assistance programs.
- Better nutrient management on farms and more use options for animal waste.
- Preservation and protection of rural farmlands and the family farm concept.
- More land user education and awareness on ways to improve water quality on agricultural lands.
- Public water supply quantity, quality and delivery system improvements.
- Improve surface water quality through reduced contaminated runoff and sedimentation from roads and farmland.
- Increased volunteerism needed in communities through program development.
- Business expansions, job creation and alternative enterprises.
- Maintenance of existing infrastructure or development of new infrastructure that enhances economic, social and/or community growth.
- Improved coordination, planning and design of urban growth and development for natural resource conservation and enhancement.