Thursday, March 2, 2017

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USDA Invests $103 Million to Protect Lives, Property After Natural Disasters

WASHINGTON–Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young today announced U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $103 million in fiscal year 2017 for disaster recovery efforts to help state, local and tribal units of government protect lives and property in disaster-affected areas following natural disasters. 
Local units of government, or sponsors, will use financial and technical assistance from the  Emergency Watershed Protection Program to carry out much-needed recovery projects to remedy damages caused by natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes. Nearly $9 million will be used to fund disaster recovery projects, such as debris removal and streambank stabilization, in idaho, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina that will repair damages caused by storms.
Up to 70 percent of this fiscal year's financial assistance funding will be used by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase floodplain easements in Louisiana. In August 2016, severe flooding devastated sections of two of Louisiana's largest cities—Baton Rouge in southcentral Louisiana and Shreveport in northwestern Louisiana. 
"America's communities rely upon the stability USDA emergency programs provide when unpredictable disasters hit" Young said. "The Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds will support diverse recovery projects including clearing debris-clogged waterways, stabilizing streambanks and repairing damaged water-control structures in local communities to make them resistant to future threats." 
Congress designates funding for the EWP Program. The fiscal year 2017 funding is included in the continuing resolution signed by Congress in early December 2016 to keep the federal government operating through April 2017.
Initial funding requests and projects approved for the five states are included below. States will continue to submit requests for EWP disaster recovery assistance and the remaining funds will be used to help communities cope with the adverse impacts from existing and future natural disasters.

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