By Lea Douglas
April 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $420 million from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act for dam rehabilitation, flood prevention and watershed restoration in 31 states, it said on Thursday. the agency.
The funding is part of a larger multi-agency effort to provide greater technical and financial assistance to rural communities that face the increasingly unpredictable and severe effects of climate change with outdated infrastructure.
It will be distributed to 132 projects in all 31 states, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a trip to Georgia with White House infrastructure coordinator Mitch Landrieu and Rep. Sanford Bishop.
“Our watershed programs help communities rebuild after natural disasters and prepare for future events,” Vilsack said in a statement. “This includes communities that we have historically underserved.”
Funded projects will reduce flood risk in Arkansas, improve the efficiency of irrigation canals in Oregon, and upgrade dams in Vermont and Georgia, among other efforts.
The USDA and the White House on Wednesday announced a new program, called the Rural Partners Network, that will partner federal agencies with rural communities so underserved areas can more easily access federal funds available through the US bailout and law. on infrastructure.
“It’s not enough to make resources available – the federal government needs to work better for rural communities so they can take full advantage of these opportunities,” White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice said in a statement on Wednesday. a press release concerning the launch of the network. (Reporting by Leah Douglas; Editing by Jan Harvey)
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