USDA extends floodplain easement assistance sign-up

USDA extended the sign-up for floodplain easement assistance.
USDA extended the sign-up for floodplain easement assistance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the sign-up period for flood-plain easement assistance until April 10.

As much as $145 million has been made available to eligible landowners through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and includes technical and financial assistance, the USDA said.

Assistance funding is intended to restore frequently flooded land to its natural state as well as restore and protect an estimated 60,000 acres of flood-prone lands nationwide. The USDA said that the funding should create jobs in rural communities as landowners establish these floodplain easements.

"President Obama wants to make sure that landowners impacted by the recent flooding in states like North Dakota and Minnesota are given ample opportunity to apply for this assistance," said agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack. "This extension is part of USDA's plan to mitigate the impact of future flooding by restoring the landscape to its natural hydrology and native vegetation."

Benefits of floodplain rehabilitation include better flood protection, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, improved water quality and a reduced need for future public disaster assistance, USDA said.

Eligible landowners can sign up for funding by visiting their local NRCS office until April 10, 2009.