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USDA: Funds available for post-typhoon recovery projects upon request

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The typhoon-battered Guam is eligible for Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is encouraging local sponsors to submit project requests for funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Eligible project sponsors include state government entities, local municipalities, conservation districts, and federally-recognized tribal organizations.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the EWP Program. It is not necessary for a national emergency to be declared for an area to be eligible for assistance.

Typhoon Mawar ripped through Guam on May 25, causing massive destruction that left several parts of the island still without power, water and intent.

The EWP Program is a recovery effort aimed at relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural disasters. All projects must have a project sponsor.

NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the eligible construction cost of emergency measures (90 percent within limited-resource areas as identified by the U.S. Census data). The remaining costs must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services.

EWP is designed for the installation of recovery measures to safeguard life and property as a result of a natural disaster. Threats that the EWP Program addresses are termed watershed impairments.

These include, but are not limited to:

· debris-clogged waterways,

· unstable streambanks,

· severe erosion jeopardizing public infrastructure,

· wind-borne debris removal, and

· damaged upland sites stripped of protective vegetation by fire or drought.

Funding is available for new projects as well as those already submitted to NRCS. NRCS will give additional consideration to projects in historically underserved communities that directly benefit limited resource areas or socially disadvantaged communities. NRCS will continue to review as funding is available.

Sponsors are encouraged to reach out to their local District Conservationist see contact information above and/or their state’s/territorial NRCS Watershed Program Manager John Mathews or (808) 600-2922 with watershed concerns as soon as possible to ensure their project request is in the funding queue for consideration.


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