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News Release

Indiana NRCS Requests Funds to Repair Tornado Damaged Streams in Clark County

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278
www.in.nrcs.usda.gov

Indianapolis, IN March 20, 2012--On March 2, 2012 six Indiana counties were devastated by severe weather and tornadoes.  The strong storms and tornadoes hit the rural southeastern part of the state killing at least 13 people and rendering hundreds homeless.  On Thursday, March 8, 2012, Jane Hardisty, Indiana’s State Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), along with a team of NRCS employees, visited southern Indiana to perform an environmental assessment of damage done.

The assessment revealed 33,120 feet of stream impairment in Clark County, along Miller Fork of Silver Creek, Silver Creek/Clegg Creek tributary to Silver Creek, and the West Fork of Fourteen-Mile Creek.  The team found huge amounts of fallen trees, metal and household debris clogging the streams, along with two damaged bridges and damage to crop fields and access roads.  Hardisty said, “If the fallen trees and other debris are not removed from the streams and eroded areas repaired, further damage and flooding will occur to surrounding properties and cropland with future storm events.” 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service administers the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters.  The program is designed to help people and conserve natural resources by relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences. NRCS field office and technical staff receive annual EWP training to identify eligible sites and the process needed to get funding for these sites. Because of this training, the NRCS Salem Technical Team staff led by Chris Downing and Clark County District Conservationist Jennifer Kipper was able to assess the damage within days of the storm and quickly develop a disaster survey report to submit for funding.

Hardisty reports that within 24 hours of the assessment, NRCS was approved to receive one million dollars to begin the repair process, and those repairs are likely to begin this spring.  This funding will allow NRCS to work with local partners to repair flood damages, protect water quality, and help rebuild the community in Clark County. EWP funds help rebuild communities with direct financial support and technical assistance.

For information about other NRCS conservation programs, visit http://www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/programs, or visit the nearest USDA Service Center in your area.  To locate your nearest NRCS office, visit http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.

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Contacts:
Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, 317-290-3200
Rebecca Fletcher, State Public Affairs Specialist, 317-290-3200, ext 325

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