22 January 2018

California receives new funding to fight extreme weather

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a US government agency, has announced $23.7m of new funding to support five conservation projects in California.

All of the projects awarded funding have a focus on water supplies, a major issue in a state severely impacted by five years of drought.

$3.7m has been ring-fenced to assist the Palo Verde region in “critically important regional water conservation efforts”, according to the NRCS.

$10m has also been awarded to address the “unprecedented” level of tree deaths in the state’s Sierra Nevada Mountains; research from The University of California has attributed the mortality rates to the years of continuous drought in the area.

At the same time, Santa Cruz County has been given $1.2m to improve water quality and supply from stormwaters. Almost $7m will also be used for a project to protect five thousand acres of farmland from flooding; a potential response to the extreme floods of 2017 which helped end the drought.

The funding comes via the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCCP), an initiative to drive conservation projects through local partnerships in the United States. Since 2014, the agency and its partners have invested $2.4 billion in projects around the country. These have helped address issues related to climate change, air quality, environmental damage, and water shortages.

"Partner-driven RCCP projects address some of the most important conservation issues facing farmers and ranchers," said acting NRCS State Conservationist Ray Dotson. "This year, five outstanding projects in California will focus on flooding, water conservation, water quality, tree mortality, soil health, wildlife and much more."

Rob Johansson, at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), commented: "USDA provides a comprehensive package of programs and services designed to help California producers repair damages and reduce economic losses caused by natural disasters"

"Additionally, we can help producers change how they manage their farm's resources to reduce the impact of future events."


Image Credit: Meriç Dağlı

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