GAINESVILLE, Fla. — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) 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 following natural disasters. Sponsors will use financial and technical assistance from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) to carry out recovery projects.
Nearly $9 million will be used to fund debris removal and streambank stabilization in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina caused by Hurricane Matthew in late September and early October, 2016. Up to $3.1 million will go to Florida to repair damages in Putnam, Volusia, Seminole and Brevard counties.
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.
Louisiana – $65 million to purchase floodplain easements. In the city of Baton Rouge, approximately 30 homes in Livingston Parish and about 20 homes in Pointe Coupee Parish will be demolished and land restored.
Florida – up to $3.1 million for disaster recovery projects to repair damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in Putnam, Seminole and Volusia counties and channel bank stabilization in Brevard and Seminole counties.
Georgia – up to $97,000 for projects to repair damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in Brantley County.
North Carolina – $908,000 for projects to repair damages caused by Hurricane Matthew including sediment removal and streambank stabilization to protect roads and a waste water treatment plant.
South Carolina – up to $5.7 million to repair damages from Hurricane Matthew including debris removal in the counties of Beaufort, Charleston and Horry; towns of Hilton Head Island, Mount Pleasant and Summerville; and Horse Range Watershed Conservation District in Orangeburg County.
The EWP Program helps communities carry out recovery projects in watersheds caused by hurricanes, floods, fires, windstorms, wildfires and other natural disasters. EWP offers disaster recovery and permanent floodplain easements. Privately-owned land or public lands owned by local, state or tribal units of government are eligible for USDA assistance through the program. NRCS provides 75 percent of the funds for recovery projects and the public entity pays the remainder in cash or in-kind services. Floodplain easements are purchased and held by the USDA NRCS. Landowners are compensated for the surface easement and retain ownership of the properties enrolled.
—USDA NRCS Florida
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