January 18, 2012

Reed and Whitehouse Announce $6.45 Million in Disaster Relief Funds

PROVIDENCE, RI – In an effort to help repair and restore infrastructure damaged by the historic floods of 2010 and Hurricane Irene, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today announced the federal government is releasing $6.45 million in federal funds for the Rhode Island Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EPW).   NRCS will receive $6 million for 3 sites that were severely damaged by the 2010 floods and $450,000 for two sites damaged by Hurricane Irene.   
Reed and Whitehouse helped include the funding in the Senate Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
The Senators have worked to reduce the state’s financial burden from natural disasters.  In 2010, Senators Reed and Whitehouse supported provisions in the Supplemental Appropriations bill to reduce the state’s cost share for FEMA aid to 10 percent from 25 percent.  Since NRCS generally mirrors the cost share percentages used by FEMA, this legislation also prompted NRCS to adjust its cost-share requirement by the same amount.  As a result, the federal funding released for the 2010 floods will be matched by the state at a required rate of 10 percent.
“This emergency relief is another installment that will help Rhode Island make a full recovery from the historic floods that swept across our state and help cover the cost of needed repairs to our roads and bridges and make water infrastructure improvements,” said Reed and Whitehouse in a joint statement.
NRSC funding for Rhode Island includes:
$3 million to repair multiple sections of the Blackstone River wall in Pawtucket.
$3 million for the Laurel Avenue Stream Bank Stabilization Project to make temporary improvements along the Pawtuxet River near the Laurel Avenue Bridge to stabilize two local mill buildings.
$200,000 for Pocasset River Debris removal.
$250,000 for Pawcatuck and Queens River debris removal.
Additionally, Rhode Island farmers will receive $3,300 through the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Conservation Program to restore farmland damaged by Hurricane Irene.  Eligible uses of these funds include: removing debris from farmland, restoring livestock fences and conservation structures, providing water for livestock during periods of severe drought, and grading and shaping damaged farmland.
To date, Rhode Island has received approximately $200 million in federal aid to help families, businesses, and communities that were hit by the historic March 2010 floods.
The funding is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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