WASHINGTON, DC, March 9,
2005 (ENS): Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced
$6.9 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) funding
to help Southern California recover from severe storms and flooding
that hit the state in February.
"The Bush Administration has made prevention efforts and assisting
the long-term recovery in areas impacted by devastating natural
disasters a priority," said Johanns on Tuesday. "These
emergency funds will provide technical and financial assistance
to help restore damaged watersheds and rebuild local communities."
Severe storms and an unusually wet season for California caused
flooding and unstable hillsides to collapse in landslides and mudflows.
Areas previously burned by wildfires have been especially vulnerable,
the USDA said.
The $6.9 million in funding will be spent on two projects in Ventura
County that need immediate attention along Santa Paula Creek and
at the Santa Paula Airport where mudflows and flooding caused damage
to the infrastructure.
This is in addition to $1.2 million for emergency environmental
restoration work in California that the USDA provided last month.
Through EWP, the Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation
Service works with local project sponsors to help people reduce
imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, drought,
earthquakes, tornados and other natural disasters.
Rehabilitation efforts will provide sound erosion control measures
that are economically and environmentally defensible. EWP measures
include removing debris, reshaping and protecting eroding banks,
repairing levees and reseeding damaged areas.
Information on NRCS natural disaster assistance in California can
be found at: http://www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.