July 22, 2014
Julie Yates, USDA NRCS
A program included in the 2014 farm bill will provide funding for the safety assessment of 13 dams in Alabama. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will oversee the national investment of $262 million to rehabilitate dams that provide critical infrastructure and protect public health and safety.
“This investment will protect people and ensure that these critical structures continue to provide benefits for future generations,” said Jason Weller, NRCS chief. “Homes, businesses and agriculture are depending on responsible management of the dams and overall watersheds, and NRCS is continuing to provide that support to these communities.”
More than 150 dams in 26 states will receive rehabilitation assistance for planning, design or construction through NRCS’ Watershed Rehabilitation Program.
The program also funds safety assessments on 500 dam sites nationwide, including the 13 in Alabama. Overall, about 250,000 people will benefit from improved flood protection of rehabilitated dams.
“These funds will help ensure the safety and continued benefits provided by these watershed structures,” said Ben Malone, acting state conservationist for Alabama. “We will work closely with the local project sponsors to ensure that these dams continue to protect and provide water for communities and agriculture.”
From the 1940s through the 1970s, local communities used NRCS assistance to construct more than 11,800 dams in 47 states. These watershed management projects provide an estimated $2.2 billion in annual benefits in reduced flooding and erosion damages; and they improved recreation, water supplies and wildlife habitat for roughly 47 million people.
For more information, visit the Watershed Rehabilitation webpage.