US Department of Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday announced $45 million in funding from the federal stimulus package to help 11 states revamp flood control systems.
On the heels of devastating floods on the Red River in North Dakota, Vilsack said in a conference call with reporters that he spoke last week to the state's governor about USDA assistance to North Dakota.
"The bulk of our work, however, will take place after floodwaters recede, and we're able to accurately impact the assessment of the damage that has taken place to livestock operations, to farms, and to communities," Vilsack said.
The stimulus funds will go toward 27 watershed rehabilitation projects, including dams and other flood control structures across the country. "This funding is going to projects to avoid the risk of infrastructure failure and the threat that would represent to life and property," Vilsack said.
Vilsack said the funding should also stimulate local economies and add jobs in the communities surrounding the projects.
The assistance will be delivered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to state and local sponsors, which will kick in 35 percent of the projects' costs.