Calif. to receive $10.8 mln in 'watershed protection' funds

Among 15 states to split $104.5 million from federal natural disaster recovery assistance program for locally-sponsored watershed protection projects resulting from floods, etc. Golden State's share due to aftermath of record-breaking rainfall in January and February...

DAVIS, CA, June 9, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced 15 states will receive a total of $104.5 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) funding for locally-sponsored watershed protection projects resulting from floods and other natural disasters such as tornadoes, fires, drought and hurricanes. California's share -- $10.8 million -- will assist in the aftermath of record-breaking rainfall during January and February 2005 in Southern California.

"These funds will help communities recover from natural disasters and help restore critical watersheds while responding to the needs of rural communities in the event of natural disaster," said Ed Burton, Acting State Conservationist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). "The funds will be used in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Diego Counties in Southern California to construct emergency conservation measures, which help reduce the threat of injury, loss of life or devastating property damage should a disaster occur."

Through EWP, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to protect life and property threatened by excessive erosion and flooding caused by the sudden impairment of a watershed from natural disaster. EWP funds address public safety and restoration efforts on private lands and are used to remove debris, restore eroded streambanks, re-seed burned areas and take related steps to mitigate threats to people and property from impaired watersheds.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance through EWP to help remove threats to life and property that remain in the nation's watersheds in the aftermath of natural disasters. For additional information on EWP, go to the California NRCS Web site at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ewp/.

In 2005, the Natural Resources Conservation Service celebrates its 70th anniversary. Originally known as the Soil Conservation Service, the agency has been a partner in conservation since 1935.

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