The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that they will use $340 million from the Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund three floodplain-related programs:

Floodplain Easements ($145,000,000)
NRCS may purchase easements to help restore, protect, maintain, and enhance the functions of the floodplain; conserve natural values including fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention, ground water recharge, and open space; reduce long-term federal disaster assistance; and safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion. Landowners retain several rights to the property, including quiet enjoyment, the right to control public access, and the right to undeveloped recreational use such as hunting and fishing.

Watershed Operations ($145,000,000)
Assistance to sponsoring local organizations of authorized watershed projects. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to States, local governments and Tribes (as project sponsors) to implement authorized watershed project plans for the purpose of watershed protection; flood mitigation; water quality improvements; soil erosion reduction; rural, municipal and industrial water supply; irrigation water management; sediment control; fish and wildlife enhancement; and wetlands and wetland function creation and restoration.

Watershed Rehabilitation ($50,000,000)
Rehabilitating aging watershed dams — any of the over 11,000 dams in 47 states that were constructed under the four watershed programs are eligible for assistance under this authority. NRCS may provide technical assistance and 65% of the total rehabilitation project cost.

Applications for Floodplain Easement funds are due by April 10, 2009. See the NRCS Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 page for more information.

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