The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced an additional $10.2 million in Emergency Watershed Protection funding is now available for eight more natural disasters that have occurred in Utah over the past year. Dave Brown, State Conservationist in the Utah NRCS office, said NRCS had received approval to go ahead with work from Utah County to Washington County and in the Uintah Basin. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program was set up by Congress to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters, such as floods, fires and wind storms. The program is designed to protect life and property from any future event of a similar magnitude. These EWP projects are administered by the NRCS state office in Utah, in partnership with the local sponsors, usually county governments. EWP funding made available through NRCS bears up to 75 percent of the construction costs. The remaining 25 percent must be obtained by the local sponsor from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services.
In addition to natural resource and human protection, another positive benefit from this work is the added employment opportunities the funding provides to local contractors, governments and suppliers who carry out the restoration work. The local sponsor actually contracts the work out and NRCS provides oversight for the federal government and insures the work is done according to established engineering and environmental specifications.
"We look forward to working with the local sponsors to restore these critical natural resource systems and help make these communities whole again," said Brown. He gave the assurance that an NRCS interdisciplinary team would follow federal law in evaluating the possible impacts the work might have on natural resources, cultural resources and the socioeconomic effects associated with the possible alternatives. The following areas will receive the current funding: Saratoga Springs City - $2M - to construct debris basins and make channel improvements to prevent flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure following the Dump Fire. Millard County and Oak City - $3.5M - to assist in reseeding burned areas, protecting infrastructure and homes from flooding along Oak Creek and its tributaries following the Clay Springs Fire. Emery County - $2.1M - to construct debris basins, remove debris from streams and channels, and protect homes, roads and other infrastructure from damaging mud and debris flows following the Seeley Fire. Carbon County - $500k - to protect roads and homes from damaging debris and mud flows following the Seeley Fire. Duchesne County - $100k - to protect roads and homes from flooding following the Church Camp Fire. San Juan County - $500k - to protect a bridge where damage occurred following an intense thunderstorm. Enoch City - $1M - to protect roads, homes and infrastructure from future flood damage due to intense rainfall. Washington County - $500k - to protect infrastructure following floods resulting from heavy rainfall. For further information about this program and these projects, contact your local NRCS office or visit the Utah NRCS Web site at www.ut.nrcs.usda.gov.