Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has made immediately available $6 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program aid for disaster recovery projects in 10 states affected this month by storms and floods.  These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

“Our thoughts are with the families and communities across many parts of the country that have been affected by this severe weather,” says Vilsack. “USDA personnel in our state and local offices are coordinating with their state and local government counterparts in order to provide much-needed assistance as quickly as possible to communities that have been hard hit by this string of terrible tragedies.”

In partnership and through local government sponsors, the EWP provides assistance to areas that have been damaged by natural disasters, such as floods, windstorms, drought and wildfires. The EWP safeguards lives and property by installing conservation measures to reduce storm water runoff and prevent soil erosion, as well as remove watershed impairments such as debris caught in culverts and under bridges.

In response to the recent storms and floods, NRCS provided $600,000 in EWP financial and technical assistance to each of its 10 NRCS state offices so that field personnel can swiftly begin work on projects that reduce or remove dangerous threats to public safety and infrastructure. 

To the extent possible, NRCS state and field personnel are surveying damaged areas and working with their local partners to identify the full scope of the damage and prepare disaster recovery projects.  NRCS will evaluate the need on a continuous basis for additional assistance to the impacted communities.