Recovery Act Assistance Coming to Louisiana Will Help Our Rural Communities

Alexandria, LA – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA will be sending $4,470,000 to Louisiana’s state and local governments to enhance natural resources and help the people of Louisiana. The funds, provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, will sponsor two watershed operations projects that will improve water quality, increase water supply, decrease soil erosion, and improve fish and wildlife habitat in rural communities.

“President Obama is committed to improving water quality, creating more dependable water supplies and decreasing soil erosion and this funding will make a big difference in the lives of the people who live in these rural communities,” Vilsack said.

Other major benefits for Louisiana include improved community safety and health, sediment control, and enhanced fish and wildlife habitat. ARRA funds will be used in Red Bayou and Bayou Duralde-Lower Nezpique Watersheds in Louisiana to develop conservation measures such as planting vegetative cover, improved wildlife habitat, improving irrigation efficiency and conserving water, installing filter strips and soil erosion control practices, and enhancing stream corridors, as well as create jobs.

USDA is directing technical and financial assistance available through this funding toward projects that are ready to begin and that will relieve stress on local economies through the creation of over 1,400 jobs nationally.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has worked closely with sponsors to identify projects that are ready for immediate implementation.

NRCS Louisiana State Conservationist Kevin Norton said “The Red Bayou Watershed project will help communities in rural Louisiana. It will lead to a reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation; improve water quality for residents within the watershed and its tributaries; improve fish and wildlife habitat; increase efficiency of existing irrigation systems. The project will provide farmers with a means to irrigate their crops and maximize yields. It will also create an estimated 80 jobs in Louisiana.”

The Bayou Duralde-Lower Nezpique project will also help the people of rural Louisiana by enhancing water supplies and improving wildlife habitat. It will treat 33,300 acres of critically eroding cropland. “Nearly 45,450 tons of soil will be saved from offsite deposition which will improve water quality for 135 miles of drainage canals and 200 acres of lakes, 36,600 acre/feet of water will be saved annually which equates to a 19% reduction in the demand for groundwater, improved wildlife habitat on 14,800 acres of bottomland hardwoods, and 15,000 acres will receive 54% less soil deposition and retain its function and values for a longer time period.” The project will also create an estimated 30 jobs.

Funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is part of the Obama Administration’s plans to modernize the nation's infrastructure, jumpstart the economy and create jobs. For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit www.recovery.gov.

To learn more about your eligibility for USDA projects underway through the Recovery Act, go to www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usdahome.

For more information on NRCS in Louisiana please visit us on the Web at www.la.nrcs.usda.gov.

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