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News Release

Ribbon cut at completed floodplain restoration and flood prevention project on Belfield Drive, Johnston, RI

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

Federal and local officials cut the ribbon at the completed flood prevention project on Belfield Drive, Johnston, RI.

JOHNSTON, RI (Aug. 16, 2021) – Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Town of Johnston, the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts, and Rhode Island's congressional delegation cut the ribbon on a completed floodplain restoration project to prevent recurring flooding of the Pocasset River, which had previously affected properties on Belfield Drive in Johnston.

Federal funding was provided through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. EWP authorizes NRCS to purchase permanent easements on eligible lands and restore the floodplain functions in the easement area to their natural conditions. Participation is voluntary.

Only land in the affected section of Belfield Drive in Johnston was eligible for floodplain easement enrollment with this funding and had to meet certain criteria, including being damaged by flooding at least once within the previous calendar year or having been subject to flood damage at least twice within the previous 10 years.

NRCS entered into an agreement with the Rhode Island Association of Conservation Districts (RIACD), which accepted applications from eligible landowners, secured appraisals and acquired land.

Restoration work, which was designed and constructed by the engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill, included both structural and non-structural measures to bring back floodplain functions. A structure was removed to create a flood water storage area, then a box culvert was installed to allow storm water to flow under the road and back into the Pocasset River. Native vegetation was planted to control soil erosion.

“Floodplains can provide significant protection from flood damages to downstream landowners,” said Phou Vongkhamdy, Rhode Island State Conservationist for NRCS. “The purpose of this project was to limit future uses of land in this floodplain area to make it available to store flood water.”

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with conservation districts and the people of Rhode Island to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources.


State Conservationist Phou Vongkhamdy speaks at the ribbon cutting event for the Belfield Drive flood prevention project.

The completed flood prevention project at Belfield Drive.

Flooding on Belfield Drive.