WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns yesterday announced that an additional $42.5 million will be provided to help with natural disaster recovery efforts in 13 states. This funding provides recovery assistance for natural disasters that occurred between December 2005 and June 2006.



"These funds will provide critical assistance and continue the federal partnership for environmental restoration projects on private lands damaged by natural disaster," Johanns said.



The funding is being made available through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program and includes more than $7 million in technical assistance and more than $35 million in financial assistance.



It will help restore agricultural and community infrastructure disrupted by flooding, severe stream bank erosion and debris deposits.



Through EWP, NRCS will provide up to 75 percent of the funds needed to restore the natural function of a watershed and up to 90 percent in limited resource areas damaged by a natural disaster. The community or local sponsor for the work must pay the remaining cost-share, which can be provided by cash and/or in-kind services.



EWP assists with the implementation of critical emergency measures such as removal of debris from streams, protecting destabilized streambanks, establishing cover on critically eroding lands, and repairing conservation practices needed to relieve the imminent hazards to life and property created by natural disaster. All measures taken must be environmentally and economically sound and generally benefit more than one property owner.



Emergency Watershed Protection Funding Reallocation



State: Amount
CA: $6 million
CO: $166,500
HI: $6 million
MA: $1,113,355
ME: $120,000
MO: $360,000
MS: $771,700
NY: $16.8 million
OK: $331,100
PA: $7.2 million
SC: $1,170,000
TN: $2,408,000
VT: $111,600



TOTAL: $42,552,255



NRCS provides products and services that enable people to be good stewards of the nation's soil, water, and related natural resources on non-Federal lands. Additional information about EWP and other USDA conservation programs is available at USDA Service Centers nationwide and online.



SOURCE: USDA news release.