Senator Secures Flood Assistance for Rural MT


Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture today to assist with flood recovery efforts in Montana’s rural agriculture communities.  The announcement comes after Baucus pressed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack  to take immediate steps to support Montana’s ranchers and farmers even before a Major Presidential Disaster is declared. 

“I am humbled by the strength, resilience and generosity of Montanans who are already hard at work rebuilding their communities.  These additional resources will provide Montana ranchers, farmers and rural communities with the fastest available funds to begin repairing the water systems they depend on and replant damaged crops that our economy needs to recover,” Baucus said. “As we continue to press our federal partners for additional support, I urge Montana communities and producers with water system and crop damage to apply for this initial support and contact my office for help.”   

“This emergency funding is a good first step toward making sure our communities have the resources necessary to deal with these floods,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester, a member of the Homeland Security Committee which oversees FEMA.  “Talking with folks on the ground and visiting our affected communities, it’s clear that this disaster continues to threaten Montanans’ safety and livelihoods—as well our state’s economy.  That’s why these resources are vital, and why I’m on the ground fighting for these communities.”

The funding announced today will be available through USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protect Program for projects that are critical to Montana’s rural agriculture recovery, but may not be covered under other federal disaster funds concentrated on roadways and urban repairs.  Projects may include, but are not limited to: repairing damaged irrigation infrastructure; reseeding flooded fields; removing debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges; reshaping and protecting eroded banks; correcting damaged drainage facilities; and repairing irrigation canal structures.  These funds may also be used to prevent future flooding from this year’s record snowpack.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) county field offices in Montana are already processing lists of potential damage sites based on input from irrigation districts, Farm Service Agency offices, and county administrators.  In coming days, NRCS state staff will fan out across Montana to evaluate these sites, and help local residents and officials apply for support. 

Baucus is urging Montana communities and landowners who may be eligible to apply for assistance through their local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices and contact his office for help.  He is continuing to press FEMA for swift approval of the Major Presidential Disaster Declaration request and make for federal support available to all Montana flood victims.

More information on the Emergency Watershed Protect Program is available HERE.  Baucus original letter to Vilsack is available HERE.

Office of Senator Max Baucus

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