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Obama Recovery Act Funding Stimulates Oklahoma Conservation Partnership an

Obama Recovery Act Funding Stimulates Oklahoma Conservation Partnership and Helps Economy

Approximately $15 million for Rehabilitation and Repair of Dams Statewide

STILLWATER - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced April 6th $45 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds for rehabilitation of aging flood control structures nationwide. For Oklahoma this means $13.4 million for the rehabilitation of seven dams.

"President Obama is committed to strengthening much-needed infrastructure in rural communities and this support will enhance water quality, create more dependable water supplies, decrease soil erosion across the country, and create jobs," Vilsack said. "This is good news for Oklahoma."

The Oklahoma projects, funded through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Watershed Protection Program, will create jobs and support local businesses that supply products and services required to revitalize the dams.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) the work will be managed by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission with assistance from the local conservation districts

“Partnership and collaboration between Federal, State, and local agencies is essential for the timely rehabilitation of these aging flood control structures throughout Oklahoma,” said NRCS Oklahoma State Conservationist Ronald Hilliard. “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding has proven so far to be a prime example of what Federal, State, and local agencies can accomplish when working in partnership.”

Each entity has an integral role in the projects. NRCS provides technical assistance for the planning, design, construction, and oversight of the construction for each project and OCC is provided $4.71 million in state funds to cover the local cost of the projects as required by the USDA program. OCC also provides legal and program assistance to the conservation districts. The conservation districts obtain land rights from landowners and are responsible for the long-term maintenance of the projects.

The projects funded by these agreements include:
Cottonwood Creek Watershed Dam No. 15 – Kingfisher County
Sallisaw Creek Watershed Dam No. 18 – Sequoyah County
Upper Clear Boggy Watershed Dam Nos. 33, 34, and 35 – Pontotoc County
Sugar Creek Watershed Dam Nos. L-43 and L-44 – Caddo County

All the projects will rehabilitate existing flood control structures to meet current safety standards. Sallisaw 18, Sugar Creek L-43, and Upper Clear Boggy 35 will be the first to start construction. Advertising for the construction contracts will begin soon.

NRCS and OCC also signed agreements providing for the repair of 17 Oklahoma flood control dams. These projects totaling $1.26 million are also funded by the Recovery Act. These projects are located in the following counties: Kiowa, Washita, South Caddo, East Canadian, Logan, Bryan, Garfield, Hughes, Kay and Upper Washita. Additionally, NRCS will also soon advertise a contract for the construction of a new flood control dam in Garfield County. Dam No. 3, located in the Turkey Creek Watershed, will be the first new watershed dam constructed in Oklahoma in over five years.

“Many dams and other critical flood control structures across the country are in a race against time when it comes to their ability to protect people and property from flooding,” said Hilliard. “The funding being made available from the Recovery Act couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The dams in Oklahoma being rehabilitated are a part of the system of 2,105 flood control dams that were originally constructed with NRCS assistance 40 to 50 years ago. “The Recovery Act investments being made now will not only stimulate the local economy and create badly needed jobs but will provide flood control and recreation benefits for the next 100 years and will create safer dams to protect generations to come,” Hilliard said.

More information about USDA’s efforts regarding the Recovery Act is available at www.usda.gov/recovery . More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the economic stimulus is available at www.recovery.gov.

NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer. All programs and services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service are provided in a nondiscriminatory manner.