WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states. This includes a $14.1 million investment for eight projects here in West Virginia, announced today by USDA Under Secretary Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie who visited one of the project sites. This builds on a $6.3 million investment for West Virginia projects announced earlier this year, bringing the total investment to $20.4 million in 26 projects through the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Projects include rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects.
“We recognize that President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure,” Bonnie said. “These projects create good-paying jobs and improve economies in rural America. USDA offers several watershed programs that help communities rebuild after natural disasters and build resilience. Here in West Virginia and across the country, we’re Building A Better America.”
As part of this project, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with White Sulphur Springs to evaluate flood protection and other natural resource concerns along Howard Creek, which experienced a devastating flood in 2016 that killed eight people in town. A full list of projects is available on NRCS’ Infrastructure Funding 2022 webpage.
Today’s infrastructure announcement includes funding through two programs: the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program provides technical and financial assistance for new watershed infrastructure, and the Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) upgrades existing NRCS dams.
In total, NRCS received $918 million of BIL funding to allocate through its watershed programs. In addition to WFPO and REHAB, this includes funds for Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) to help communities recover from natural disasters. NRCS will continue to assist communities as it receives disaster requests.
How Communities Can Get Help
NRCS encourages communities to engage with their local project sponsors, participate in developing a sound conservation plan that serves to protect and preserve local watersheds, and connect with their local NRCS office to learn more about Watershed Program assistance.
NRCS will continue to review additional requests and compile a third round of BIL watershed funding as funds are available.
Since 1948, NRCS’ watershed programs have designed and built 11,850 dams, constructed water storage structures, flood management systems, stabilized streambanks, relocated residences, redirected stream flows, re-established wildlife habitat and more to save lives and protect watersheds.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.