USDA Announce $95.9 Million Investment in 19 Watershed Infrastructure Projects in Arkansas
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states. This includes a $95.9 million investment for 19 projects in Arkansas.
FORREST CITY, AR, April 21, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states. This includes a $95.9 million investment for 19 projects in Arkansas. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby made the announcement at the Forrest City Civic Center before visiting one of the project sites in Marianna.
These projects include rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects, and they are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), building on a $166 million nationwide investment announced earlier this year.
“These investments will help protect communities and their residents here in Arkansas that are impacted by floods, natural disasters, and other watershed scale resource concerns,” Cosby said. “For example, our project here will benefit three communities with residents who not only faced socioeconomic challenges but those from flooding and the other impacts of severe weather. This project and others across Arkansas will create a more climate resilient future and will help these communities thrive in the years to come.”
As part of this project, NRCS is working with the Cities of Helena-West Helena, Lake View, and Marvell collectively; the Cities of Forrest City, Haynes, and Marianna collectively; the Cities of Hughes and Jennette collectively; the City of Pine Bluff; and the City of Camden for potential PL-566 projects. Flooding has caused significant problems for these historically underserved communities, including deterioration of highways, streets and bridges. These projects aim to alleviate flooding of suburban and rural homes, cropland, and grazing lands as well as improve wildlife habitat and water quality.
“These projects create good-paying jobs and improve economies in rural America. USDA offers several watershed programs that help communities rebuild after natural disasters and build resilience,” said Mike Sulivan, Arkansas state conservationist. “We encourage communities to connect with their local NRCS office to learn more about Watershed Program assistance.”
As part of this investment, NRCS is working with the Arkansas Black Mayors Association, East Arkansas Enterprise Community, conservation districts and others on these projects.
In total, NRCS received $918 million of BIL funding to allocate through its watershed programs. In addition to WFPO, NRCS is also using the Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) to upgrade existing NRCS dams and the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) to help communities recover from natural disasters. NRCS will continue to assist communities as it receives disaster requests. NRCS will continue to review additional requests and compile a third round of BIL watershed funding as funds are available.
Since 1948, NRCS’ watershed programs have designed and built 11,850 dams, constructed water storage structures, flood management systems, stabilized streambanks, relocated residences, redirected stream flows, re-established wildlife habitat and more to save lives and protect watersheds.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.