Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

January 18, 2007

Upstate Counties Eligible for Flood Recovery Funds

$16 Million in Federal Funds to Help Restore Damage Caused by the 2006 Floods

New York State Acting Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $16.8 million in response to New York’s request for recovery assistance for last year’s devastating floods. The funds will be used to help restore agricultural and community infrastructure disrupted by flooding, severe stream bank erosion and debris deposits in flood affected counties.

"The flooding experienced in the Mohawk Valley and Susquehanna River Basin last summer caused significant damage to many local communities," Hooker said. "These funds will help mitigate the damage caused by the massive amounts of water that ruined towns, villages, businesses and fields. With more work to be done, these funds will allow us to rebuild our communities and better protect our stream banks, erodable lands and natural resources."

The funding is being made available through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. EWP assists with the implementation of critical emergency measures such as removal of debris from streams, protecting destabilized stream banks, establishing cover on critically eroding lands, and repairing conservation practices needed to relieve the imminent hazards to life and property created by natural disaster.

NRCS will provide up to 75 percent of the funds needed to restore the natural function of a watershed and up to 90 percent in limited resource areas damaged by a natural disaster. The local sponsor for the work, which could be a municipality, improvement district or conservation district, must pay the remaining cost-share, which can be provided by cash and/or in-kind services. All work performed must be environmentally and economically sound and generally benefit more than one property owner.

Last year, 20 Upstate New York counties experienced severe flooding resulting in significant property damage and economic loss. USDA estimated the dollar loss incurred by farmers in counties affected by flooding to be approximately $40 million, which includes crop and livestock losses, as well as damages to structures and land. USDA also estimated 290,500 acres of crops were destroyed by flooding, along with 28,250 acres of land. Structurally, New York farmers sustained damage to 60 barns, 115 farm structures including silos, and 122 pieces of farm equipment.

To date, New York State has paid out $20.2 million through the State’s Individual and Family Grant Program to help flood victims who experienced immediate personal and business needs that were not covered by insurance. In addition, New York received $2.2 million in funding for farmers through USDA’s Emergency Conservation Program.

Agriculture in New York is a $3.6 billion industry that encompasses 7.6 million acres of land and 36,000 farmers.  The dairy industry is agriculture’s largest sector, generating $1.9 billion a year, followed by the horticultural industry, including nurseries, greenhouses and fruit and vegetable production, which generate over $1 billion annually.

2007 Press Releases