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Disaster-recovery assistance available
WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced March 6 in a U.S. Department of Agriculture press release, that $19.7 million of financial and technical assistance is available to help communities rebuild and repair damages caused by flooding, drought, and other natural disasters. Funds are made available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Emergency Watershed Protection program.
Earlier this year, the Natural Resources Conservation Service distributed $215 million to 26 states to assist in disaster-recovery projects around the nation. The $19.7 million will meet additional needs expressed by states. Congress set up Emergency Watershed program to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters. In this year’s appropriations, Congress provided funds to put toward wait-listed projects from presidentially or locally declared disasters that occurred during 2011.
Disaster-recovery projects are administered by the conservation services in partnership with local sponsors, often municipal or county governments. The Natural Resources Conservation Service pays up to 75 percent of the construction costs, while the remaining 25 percent is obtained by local sponsors. When funding is dedicated to a project, contracts for construction work are awarded to local companies, spurring job creation.
Typical projects funded under this program can include removing debris clogging waterways, protecting eroded stream banks, reseeding burned or eroded areas, and in some cases, purchasing flood-plain easements on eligible land.
To learn more about the Emergency Watershed Protection program and its funding allocations, visit http://usda.gov.
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