Federal Program Provides Help for Irma Storm Damage

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Irma Storm Damage

Release from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

If your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind­storms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect destabilized stream banks, establish cover on critically eroding lands and purchase flood plain easements.

Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.

The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance from a local NRCS office. Staff visit the site and determine eligibility based on damage, property protected, environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. If Congress appropriates funds, the sponsor enters into a cooperative agreement to complete the work.

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