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News Release

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Additional Assistance for Rehabilitating Flood Control Structures and Vital Watershed Projects in Arkansas

Recovery Act Funding Provided to Arkansas, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., Feb. 23, 2010 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $9.4 million in additional funding to five states to repair flood control structures, improve water quality, increase water supply, decrease soil erosion, and improve fish and wildlife habitat while creating jobs in rural communities as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.  

Arkansas will receive $418,000 for work on three sites: Ozan Creek Site 11 in Hempstead County ($145,000), Poteau River Site 4 in Scott County ($162,500) and South Fourche Site 1 in Perry County ($110,000).

“This Recovery Act funding is going to areas with watersheds and flood control structures that are at great risk of infrastructure failure and a threat to life and property,” said Vilsack.  “These projects will contribute to rural economies by creating jobs and supporting local businesses that supply needed materials and construction, products and services.” 

USDA will deliver this assistance through its Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.  Funding is being directed toward the most cost-effective projects with the greatest need.  These projects will improve safety to communities by removing hazardous threats to dam structures and provide other benefits including protection of private property, utilities and transportation routes.  Other benefits include improved water quality by providing more effective management of potential contaminants.

“The funding for the projects in Arkansas is for remedial repairs.  Site conditions on these projects changed from the original condition so that repairs are needed to the spillways to maintain the integrity of the dams.  These relatively minor but essential repairs will insure these dams are safe and will provide flood control benefits into the future,” said Mike Sullivan, Arkansas state conservationist. 

The NRCS works with local partners who provide land rights, permits and long-term operations and maintenance.  Upon completion, these projects are owned and operated by these local partners.

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program was appropriated $145 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  The first and second phase of allocations to states totaled $127.1 million.  The $9.4 million in funding announced today brings the total ARRA funding for watershed protection and flood prevention up to $136.5 million.

The Recovery Act was passed by congress in 2009 to create jobs, promote economic recovery, and invest in critical infrastructure and environmental protection. 

More information about USDA’s efforts regarding the Recovery Act is available at  More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the economic stimulus is available at