Oct 25 2004

SHELBY APPLAUDS HURRICANE RELIEF AID

USDA, FEMA announce assistance for Alabama

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today commended an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that several million dollars will be available for farmland and forest restoration following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan.

Senator Shelby said, “Alabama suffered tremendous damage from Hurricane Ivan, and these funds are critical for our communities following this devastating storm. I am pleased that the Department of Agriculture has made these funds available to assist Alabama’s farmland and forests with repair.”

Emergency Conservation Program–$2.7 Million
The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) helps farmers and ranchers rehabilitate farmland damaged by severe weather. Alabama will receive $2,756,000 for this program, which provides financial and technical assistance to help producers remove debris from farmland, restore fences and conservation structures, provide water for livestock in drought situations and grade and shape farmland damaged by a natural disaster. The program is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) state and county committees. More information can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.

Emergency Watershed Program--$3.5 Million
Alabama will receive $3,586,040 for the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP), which provides funding for locally-sponsored watershed protection projects resulting from recent hurricanes and other natural disasters such as tornadoes, fires, drought and floods. Through EWP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to protect life and property threatened by excessive erosion and flooding caused by the sudden impairment of a watershed from a natural disaster. NRCS works in partnership with local, state and federal agencies to ensure public safety and to address restoration efforts on private lands.

These rehabilitation projects provide sound erosion control measures that are economically and environmentally defensible. EWP funds are used to remove debris, restore eroded streambanks, re-seed burned areas, and take related steps to mitigate threats to people and property from impaired watersheds. More information can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/EWP.

Forest Rehabilitation--$19.5 Million

This funding will be used by the Forest Service to restore thousands of acres of trees, hundreds of miles of trails and roads, dozens of recreation and administrative sites, bridges and other infrastructure as well as endangered species habitat. The funds, which are available for both public and private forests, will also be used to reduce the risk of potential insect, disease and invasive weed infestations. Specifically, Alabama will receive $19,537,000 for recovery of forest resources, including money to fund additional state and volunteer fire resources.

Public Assistance

In addition to the funding announcement by the Department of Agriculture, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that additional counties in Alabama are eligible for Public Assistance. Those counties include: Bullock, Cherokee, Jackson and Houston Counties. In total, 50 Alabama counties are eligible for Public Assistance. The Public Assistance Program provides supplemental Federal disaster grant assistance, including debris removal, emergency protective measures, road systems and bridges, buildings and equipment, public utilities, and parks. This program also provides grants to eligible facilities operated by certain private, non-profit agencies including educational, emergency, utility, medical and custodial care facilities. For more information, please visit: http://www.fema.gov/news/event.fema?id=3683.