(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3), Joe Courtney (D-CT-2), and Jim Himes (D-CT-4) announced $7,532,001 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program for the restoration, protection, and maintenance of flood plains in Connecticut affected by Hurricane Sandy, as well as areas at risk for storm flooding in the future. The funds will be used to remove structures such as homes, dikes, and other man-made objects preventing the natural flow of water across flood plains. In addition to preventing future flooding, the project will benefit wild life living on these lands.
Blumenthal said, “Undeniable and unforgettable is Sandy's lesson that prevention and preparation for weather catastrophes saves money and lives – a lesson well served by this funding. Projects funded by this well merited federal money will make our shores stronger, homes more durable, and communities self-supporting. Connecticut can use these funds to help lead the nation by its example. I will continue to fight to invest in infrastructure, transmission systems, and flood control projects that will reduce the threat of damage and destruction following future storms.”
Murphy said, “Although more than a year has passed since Hurricane Sandy hit Connecticut, communities across our state continue to need help to rebuild and recover from the devastation. The funding announced by Secretary Vilsack today will not only allow communities to reverse the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, but also help them prepare for the next one. I’m particularly pleased that underfunded flood mitigation programs are receiving the support they need to prevent future damage. I applaud the Department of Agriculture for its work on this issue and will continue to advocate for improvements to infrastructure and other preparation projects.”
“There is very little we can do to prevent disasters like Sandy from occurring, but we can—and must—be proactive about preparing for them and minimizing the damage,” DeLauro said. “Earlier this year I met with the West Haven Watershed Committee about the city’s flooding problems in the Old Field Creek area and am thrilled they are now able to improve their flood plain to help mitigate future flooding. I look forward to seeing the results of restoration and prevention efforts in both West and East Haven.”
“I applaud the continued commitment that USDA has demonstrated in the wake of Sandy,” Courtney said. “Taken together, these funds will help restore and protect 257 acres across Madison and Old Lyme with the added benefit of preventing further development on environmentally important lands. With the addition of these land easements, these communities will not only be better protected from the next storm, but also reap the benefits of additional open spaces.”
“As we continue to rebuild after the worst storm in Connecticut history, it is essential that the federal government play a role in helping those affected by Sandy not only recover from last year’s storm, but also prepare for the next one,” said Himes. “I am very pleased that Bridgeport homeowners will soon receive the assistance they need to reclaim land damaged by Sandy and reduce the damage caused by future flooding.”
The five Connecticut municipalities that will receive USDA floodplain easement funds are: East Haven ($422,685), Madison ($1,943,508), Old Lyme ($820,700), West Haven ($3,058,369), and Bridgeport ($1,266,739). The USDA will begin accepting applications for an additional round of floodplain easement funding in January 2014. For more information about this funding, click here.