Ohio land owners have until Friday to sign up for flood plain easements at their local USDA Service Center NRCS office.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide up to $30 million to eligible landowners in Ohio through the flood plain easement component of its Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, State Conservationist Terry Cosby said. The funds will be used to restore frequently flooded land to its natural state and create jobs.
“We will be working with land owners who voluntarily agree to restore the flood plains to their natural condition by placing their land into easements,” Cosby said. “These easements will convert environmentally sensitive lands into riparian corridors and wooded bottomlands that are so vital for fish and wildlife habitat and to mitigate downstream flooding.”
Cosby said green jobs can be created in rural communities across Ohio when land owners establish conservation practices on the land entered into easement. Jobs will be created mostly in the engineering, biology and construction fields when trees and native grasses are planted and the hydrology of the flood plain is restored.
The funding, obtained from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, includes both technical and financial assistance to restore the easements. All funds will be spent on targeted projects that can be completed with economic stimulus monies. The goal is to have all flood plain easements acquired and restored within 12 to 18 months.
For information about EWP Program flood plain easements, visit http://www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov.