UPDATE: WV one of 26 states to receive money for dam rehabilitat - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

UPDATE: WV one of 26 states to receive money for dam rehabilitation projects

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UPDATE, 11 a.m., July 23:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said July 23 communities across the nation will benefit from a $262 million investment to rehabilitate dams that provide critical infrastructure and protect public health and safety.

West Virginia is one of 26 states to receive the money.

“This investment will protect people and property from floods, help keep our water clean, and ensure that critical structures continue to provide benefits for future generations," said Jason Weller, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Families. “Businesses and our agriculture economy depend on responsible management of dams and watersheds, and we are continuing to provide that support to these communities.”

As part of the appropriation of funds for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program for Fiscal Year 14, more than $14 million will assist NRCS with six projects. An additional $1.2 million was made available for 64 assessments in the Mountain State.

“NRCS has been anticipating receiving funding since the passage of the Farm Bill earlier this year for the purposes of watershed rehabilitation in West Virginia,” said Kevin Wickey, State Conservationist. “I am very pleased to move forward with the six projects and more than five dozen assessments the funding will allow. Our conservation partners are committed to assisting our efforts to improve these structures.”

Nationwide NRCS has partnered with local communities to construct more than 11,000 dams in 47 states since 1948. These projects provide an estimated $2.2 billion in annual benefits in reduced flooding and erosion damages, recreation, water supplies, and wildlife habitat.

“This is excellent news. It’s good for West Virginia and allows us to move forward with these projects,” said Brian Farkas, State Conservation Agency Executive Director. “We hope it is a sign of more dollars coming our way in the future so we can ensure this

critical flood-control infrastructure continues to protect West Virginians for years to come.”

The West Virginia project list includes: Upper Deckers Creek 1, Brush Creek 15, Brush Creek 14, Brush Creek 9, Wheeling Creek 25, and Potomac-New Creek-Whites Run 17. The Upper Deckers Creek 1 funding is for design and construction costs; while planning costs are funded for the additional five projects. Upper Deckers Creek 1 includes creating a new auxiliary spillway, raising the dam to current safety standards and creating a dedication water supply source for the local Public Service District.

The Watershed Rehabilitation Program was established by Congress through an amendment of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954 (Public Law 83-566). The rehabilitation of the structures is needed to address updated national and state public health and safety requirements since the structures where built.

Original Story July 18:

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced July 18 watershed management projects in four West Virginia communities will receive about $14 million from the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

West Virginia projects awarded funding include: Upper Deckers Creek Site 1 (Preston County) — $10,250,000 Brush Creek Site 14 (Mercer County) — $2,476,728 New Creek Site 14 (Grant County) — $1,000,000 Wheeling Creek Site 25 (Marshall County) — $473,371.

Manchin said the management projects will get a total of $14,200,099 through the USDA NRCS assistance program for planning, design and/or construction of watershed structures. The funds will be used to make critical improvements to dams and watershed structures that protect public health and safety.

“Our watershed structures and dams are an important line of protection to our communities—protecting our families and homes from floods, keeping our water supplies clean and providing reliable infrastructure,” Manchin said in a news release. “Not only do these funds directly support local communities struggling to address aging infrastructure, but the rehabilitation of our waterways also creates construction jobs and invests in local service and support industries.”

Through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service assistance program, local communities across the nation have constructed over 11,000 dams in 47 states, including West Virginia. Many of these dams are nearing the end of their 50-year design life; therefore, rehabilitation of these dams is needed to address public health and safety.

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