House Demolition in Pike County Saves Family from Future Flooding Disasters
Christy Morgan, Acting Public Affairs Specialist
Lexington, KY - In May of 2009, strong storms caused severe flooding in Pike, Owsley, Floyd and Breathitt counties. The magnitude and frequency of the damage caused by the floods prompted the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to request $3.5 million to help these communities clean up the current damage and prevent future disasters in these same areas.
Through the agency’s Emergency Watershed Protection Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE) program, the NRCS provided financial assistance to the affected communities and through a partnership effort with the local governments, clean up took place. The problem that remained was the potential for future disasters in these flood prone areas. NRCS in Kentucky used the EWP-FPE program to purchase easements on eligible land. Through the program, flood prone areas are repurposed. Instead of being the site for a home, the floodplains are restored to their natural function as habitats for fish and wildlife, flood water retention areas, ground water recharge areas or open spaces. Trees and vegetation take the place of homes.
Using the financial assistance from NRCS, homes were purchased in these floodplains. Families were able to relocate to safeguard their lives and property. Earlier this month, the first home purchased with EWP-FPE funding was demolished in Pike County. Demolitions are planned in other counties as well. EWP Program Manager for NRCS in Kentucky Jack Kuhn said, “NRCS has purchased 19 properties totaling over $2 million so far.” He added, “We will purchase floodplain easements on a total of 27 properties located in Pike, Owsley and Floyd Counties.”
To find out more about the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ky/programs/planning/ewpp/
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