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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $45 Million for Rehabilitating Flood Control Structures

Press Release

Location: Little Rock, AR

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces $45 Million for Rehabilitating Flood Control Structures

Recovery Act Project in Scott County to Protect Public and Property

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is distributing $45 million in Recovery Act funds to rehabilitate aging flood control structures nationwide. These projects will help revitalize dams and rural economies by creating jobs and supporting local businesses that supply needed products and services.

Nearly $1.5 million of the money will be used to rehabilitate an aging flood control structure in Scott County, Ark. The Poteau River Multipurpose Dam No. 5 and reservoir provide flood prevention and water supply for Waldron, Ark. The city's water supply serves approximately 4,000 people in a 17-square-mile area around the city. The dam, approximately 47-feet high, is located on the East Fork of the Poteau River about 3.5 miles northeast of Waldron.

"The rehabilitation work will extend the service life of the structure another 100 years allowing it to continue to provide flood prevention benefits and meet current safety requirements," said Kalven L. Trice, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist. "Since 1964, when the structure was completed, no major flood has caused significant damage to Waldron. The dam also protects poultry operations and farms in the area."

The rehabilitation of Site 5 will ensure the present and future economic, social and environmental benefits will continue.

"These funds will help strengthen Arkansas's infrastructure while also supporting local economic growth. I'm pleased to see our state receive this assistance, and I remain committed to ensuring that our state has the resources it needs to stay strong," said U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln.

"When levee systems fail, the results can be catastrophic," said U.S. Senator Mark Pryor. "These recovery funds will not only repair and maintain our state's flood control infrastructure but also create much-needed jobs. It's a win-win for the community and the economy."

The project will immediately contribute to the economic growth of the area by creating at least 32 construction jobs. In addition to the jobs created, there will also be an increased demand in other industries' goods and services that could generate an estimated $3.1 million into the economies of the Poteau River Watershed and surrounding counties, according to Trice.

"This project is vital to the economic well-being of numerous communities and businesses in Scott County," said U.S. Representative Mike Ross (AR-04). "I am pleased to see these recovery dollars in
Western Arkansas because we must develop the necessary water resources and flood protections that will encourage and sustain economic growth in the region."

"President Obama is committed to strengthening much-needed infrastructure in rural communities and this support will enhance water quality, create more dependable water supplies and decrease soil erosion across the country," Vilsack said. "This is good news for America's environment and economy."

There are many dams and other important flood control structures across the country that are in a race against time when it comes to their ability to protect people and property from flooding. NRCS will deliver this assistance through its Watershed Rehabilitation Program and direct the funding toward the most cost-effective projects where there is the greatest risk of infrastructure failure and threat to life and property. State and local sponsors will provide 35 percent of the funding for their projects.


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