Natural Resources Conservation Service provides flood recovery assistance for Colorado
DENVER, Nov. 25, 2013 – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller announced today that $11.7 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program funds will be provided to restore and stabilize conditions in parts of Colorado that were recently hit by flooding. The decision to provide the funds was made as a result of initial NRCS damage assessment reports (DAR).
“DARs provide a more detailed understanding of devastated areas and provides valuable data to determine which area is in most need of assistance,” said Phyllis Ann Philipps, NRCS State Conservationist in Denver. “We identified 26 top projects and our national office was able to provide $11.7 million, although we recognize there is significant additional need.”
Recently, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie accompanied Philipps on a tour of the area. “There is so much damage. It was difficult to look in any one direction and not see where assistance was needed,” said Philipps.
Bonnie and Philipps, along with other NRCS and U.S. Forest Service officials went to Lyons, viewing the debris and destruction within the town caused by flooding of the St. Vrain River. They then viewed devastation in the Apple Valley which is home to numerous small acreage landowners and then went to an area leading to Estes Park where the Under Secretary was able to hear firsthand from those impacted. “To see the storm damage and then hear firsthand how it has upended people’s lives underscores the need to move quickly to help these Colorado communities,” said Bonnie. Finally Philipps, Bonnie and other federal officials stopped in what remains of Jamestown; a small community that sits in a narrow canyon along James Creek. Jamestown is widely considered to have been the hardest hit.
Prior to this allocation NRCS made some $400,000 in EWP financial assistance available and continues to partner with the Colorado Office of Emergency Management (OEM) the sponsor of the EWP projects. As a result of the most recent allocation, NRCS will be able to continue work with the sponsors to develop a plan for the implementation of the 26 projects for which the funds are slated. NRCS’ initial DAR determined needs within the flooded areas totaled $96 million.
NRCS manages and administers EWP, which is designed to provide private landowners relief from imminent threat to life and property caused by natural disasters (e.g., fire, hurricane, floods, windstorms, blizzards, etc.) through the installation of conservation measures. The type of assistance EWP funding provides includes removal debris and sediment from streams, protecting stream banks from further erosion, and repairing damaged dikes and levees.
For additional information please contact your local NRCS field office. You may also visit our website at www.co.nrcs.usda.gov and select the 2013 flood recovery link.
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