Utah to receive $60M in USDA disaster aid to states

By Bill Draper

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 18 2012 8:00 p.m. MST

Slightly more than $215 million of the aid comes from the Emergency Watershed Program, about $80 million will come from the Emergency Conservation Program and nearly $12 million is from the FSA's Emergency Forest Restoration Program. Texas, for instance, will receive nearly $6 million after wildfires charred the southern part of the state.

The watershed funds will go toward public safety and restoration efforts on private, public and tribal land, Vilsack said. Projects funded by that money will include removing debris from waterways, protecting eroded stream banks, reseeding damaged areas and, in some cases, purchasing floodplain easements on eligible land.

New York trails only Utah in the amount of watershed protection money received, at $37.8 million.

New York's money is earmarked for repairing erosion and other damage left behind by back-to-back late summer tropical storms Irene and Lee.

Dennis DeWeese, acting state conservationist with the conservation service in New York, said 51 communities have asked for assistance and damage assessments have been completed for 15. The agency's staff of 25, mostly engineers, had visited 160 sites by the end of last week and is continuing work that may extend into the Adirondacks.

One challenge, he said, will be asking already cash-strapped towns and villages to pay their shares to qualify for the federal money and begin design and construction.

"A lot of these municipalities are overwhelmed," DeWeese said.

In addition to flooding, 2011 was a big year for tornadoes, including record outbreaks in the South and a monster storm that leveled a large portion of Joplin, Mo.

Alabama is scheduled to get nearly $7 million in assistance for tornado recovery, followed by nearly $4 million in Georgia. Missouri, at the other end of the spectrum, is to receive only $130,000 to fix tornado damage to agricultural land.

Vilsack said the emergency money is being used to help agricultural interests beyond what is covered by crop insurance. He said the USDA paid out $8.6 billion in crop insurance payments last year, and $17.2 billion over the past three years.

Associated Press writer Josh Loftin in Salt Lake City and George M. Walsh in Albany, N.Y., contributed to this report.

State-by-state breakdown of disaster assistance being provided to 33 states and Puerto Rico from USDA emergency funds. Figures are provided by the USDA.

Alabama: $16,555,901

Alaska: $8,262,000

Arizona: $5,213,700

Arkansas: $8,018,280

Georgia: $4,411,850

Indiana: $195,827

Iowa: $10,820,000

Kansas: $2,200,000

Kentucky: $1,710,600

Maine: $810,000

Maryland: $231,000

Massachusetts: $6,470,000

Minnesota: $419,400

Mississippi: $5,465,098

Missouri: $50,073,773

Montana: $1,060,000

Nebraska: $10,869,950

New Hampshire: $443,000

New Jersey: $2,540,000

New York: $41,794,484

North Carolina: $4,631,000

Ohio: $3,139,400

Oklahoma: $5,266,795

Pennsylvania: $13,875,000

Puerto Rico: $2,265,000

Rhode Island: $6,453,300

South Dakota: $400,000

Tennessee: $10,106,601

Texas: $12,921,217

Utah: $60,268,801

Virginia: $1,240,000

Vermont: $8,714,250

Wyoming: $931,000

Total USDA Emergency Aid: $307,777,227

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