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NRCS-PA Accepting Applications For Emergency Watershed Protection Assistance In PA; DEP To Pay 25% Local Share

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA State Conservationist Denise Coleman Monday announced NRCS-Pennsylvania is currently taking applications for Emergency Watershed Program assistance in Berks, Bradford, Chester, Columbia, Dauphin, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northampton, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, Wyoming, and York Counties.

Applications will be taken until October 15.

The funding will enable NRCS to assist local government entities in stabilizing severely eroding stream banks that threaten homes, business, and utilities. This funding will be used to help restore streams whose natural flows were disrupted by the flooding from the July 21, 2018 storm or later.

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

The funding is being made available through the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

On Thursday, Gov. Wolf announced DEP is making available funding to pay for the 25 percent share normally paid by municipalities for these emergency projects.

“Getting our communities back on their feet after these floods is one of my administration’s top priorities, and these grants to local governments will help make sure that flooding can be reduced in the future,” said Governor Wolf. “DEP will work collaboratively with the federal government on the design, permitting, and construction of these projects so that we can ensure long-term protection from flooding.”

“Restoring and repairing streambanks in these areas can help protect residents from future flooding,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We are grateful to NRCS for making this funding available and are looking forward to working with affected local governments to begin this important work.”

EWP assists with the implementation of critical emergency measures needed to address public safety and restoration efforts.

Typical streambank restoration projects funded under EWP include removing debris from waterways, protecting eroded stream banks, reseeding damaged areas, and in some cases, purchasing floodplain easements on eligible land. Maintenance and repair of existing structures along a waterway are not eligible for funding.

Eligible sites must have a home (permanent residence) or business located within 50’ of a stream and have experienced severe streambank damage. Examples include several feet or more of bank loss, exposed foundations, or the total failure of existing streambank structures.

Damage to homes and businesses caused by high flood water is not eligible for assistance. 

Through EWP, NRCS provides up to 75 percent of the construction funds needed to restore areas damaged by flooding. The community, local, or state sponsor for the work must pay the remaining costs, which can be provided by cash and/or in-kind services. Program policy does not allow NRCS to directly contract with individual landowners.

Please contact your local NRCS office for more information.

Visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA webpage for more information on technical and financial assistance available from NRCS.

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[Posted: Sept. 13, 2018]


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