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NRCS New York Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Overview of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act)

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The Recovery Act was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need. Visit RECOVERY.Gov for additional information.

Whole Farm Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance in the New York City Watershed, New York State

Fencing installed along this stream prevents access by livestock.


Introduction

This project covers an area of 1.2 million acres. It is part of a much larger effort to supply nine million New York City residents with clean drinking water. Through the use of extensive environmental assessments, whole farm planning, and improved management practices, the risk of pollution is reduced and water quality is improved.

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, this project is part of the Obama Administration’s plans to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, jump-start the economy, and create jobs. NRCS is using Recovery Act dollars to update aging flood control structures, protect and maintain water supplies, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands. NRCS acquires easements and restores floodplains to safeguard lives and property in areas along streams and rivers that have experienced flooding.

Project Description

Location: Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Dutchess, Putnam, Rockland, Nassau, Westchester, Ulster, and Sullivan Counties; 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 22nd Congressional Districts

Federal Funding: $652,000
Sponsor Funding: $7,700,000

This project is located in the southeast corner of New York. The Area’s water supply system contains 19 reservoirs and three lakes with controlled water levels. Funding will support two full time positions from July 2010 through January 2014. This project will continue the development of whole farm plans, implementation of riparian buffers and related conservation practices on farmland, consistent with the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Memorandum of Agreement, and develop new non-structural best management practices (BMPs) and repairs or replace aging/failing BMPs.

A manure storage pond used prior to a newly consrtucted manure storage facility
A manure storage pond used prior to a newly constructed manure storage facility

A newly constructed waste storage facility

A newly constructed waste storage facility

Partners

  • USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • New York City Department of Environmental Protection
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • New York Watershed Agriculture Council
  • Cornell University Cooperative Extension

Benefits

This project is part of a much larger effort to provide improved drinking water for 9 million people in New York City. It assists farmers in building better management systems, and supports sustainable agriculture.

Economic Opportunities

The project will create or save jobs in the construction industry and increase farm productivity. The expanded demand for construction supplies and agricultural equipment will provide a local economic boost to assist in community development. The longterm environmental improvements will enhance farm sustainability and profitability.

Statewide Perspective

The use of proven conservation practices will result in improving the overall water quality in the State of New York. The New York City water supply system is one of the largest surface water storage and supply systems in the world. These practices benefit the entire resource conservation effort in New York.

Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) / American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Fact Sheet  (PDF; 593 KB)

For More Information

USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
441 South Salina Street, Suite 354
Syracuse, New York 13202-2450
Telephone: 315-477-6504
Fax: 315-477-6560
www.ny.nrcs.usda.gov
 

Recovery Act Funds for Dam Rehabilitation in New York

NRCS New York has provided financial and technical assistance to sponsors for constructing over 55 flood control dams since the 1960s. In addition to preventing and controlling flooding, the dams help conserve water and habitats for fish and wildlife; and create recreational opportunities.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) received $50 million for Watershed Rehabilitation Program projects. Through this program, NRCS assists State and local governments, public utilities, and other sponsoring local organizations with rehabilitating their aging flood control dams. The program purpose is to rehabilitate dams to extend their service life and bring them into compliance with current safety and performance standards, or to decommission them, so they no longer pose a threat to life and property. Watershed rehabilitation projects can take several years to complete.

In March 2009, NRCS New York selected three flood control dam projects to be funded through the Recovery Act. NRCS New York selected the three highest-risk projects that we determined could commence the soonest to use Recovery Act Watershed Rehabilitation Program funding. To be eligible for Recovery Act funds, the sponsor’s dam needed to be classified high-hazard by NRCS. When selected it was anticipated by NRCS NY and the Sponsors that land rights and permits needed for the rehabilitation project as well as Sponsor funds or services to meet their 35 percent share of the cost for rehabilitation could be obtained. Each of these projects would need to go through the planning, design and then the construction phases.

Conewango 6 used $26,402 in technical assistance funds for planning out of a total of $1,200,000 before it was determined that the most efficient rehabilitation would be to widen the auxiliary spillway and additional land rights would be needed. These could not be obtained in a timely manner so the remaining funds were subsequently transferred to other Recovery Act projects that required additional funding for completion.

Conewango 3 used $40,412 in technical assistance funds for planning out of a total of $1,200,000 before it was determined in that the sponsors would not be able to provide the 35 percent cost share as their economic situation had deteriorated. The remaining funds were subsequently transferred to other Recovery Act projects that required additional funding for completion.

Little Choconut 2 used $16,015 in technical assistance funds for design out of a total of $344,200 before it was determined that an upstream dam should be rehabilitated first. We estimated in the project design phase the sponsor would avoid up to $2 million in costs to rehabilitate Little Choconut 2 if the upstream dam is rehabilitated first. The remaining funds were subsequently transferred to other Recovery Act projects that required additional funding for completion.

NRCS Information Related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009