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Watershed Initiatives - Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program (StRAP)

Summary

A total of $38 million is now available for a new program in North Carolina that aims to reduce flooding across the state's waterways.  The NC General Assembly approved the money in the budget appropriations bill for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 fiscal years, creating the Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program (StRAP).  It allocates money for projects that protect and restore the integrity of drainage infrastructure.

Projects could include:
• clearing debris or sediment that has blocked streams and drainage ways,
• stabilizing and restoring streams and streambanks and
• rehabilitating or improving certain small watershed structural projects that were previously constructed pursuant to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954, as amended.

In establishing StRAP, lawmakers gave authority to supervise and administer the program to the state's Soil and Water Conservation Commission, working closely with the Division of Soil and Water Conservation within the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The first application window is Monday, January 24, through Thursday, March 31, 2022  Application forms can be found here.

"This is a monumental step to help us prevent future flooding," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. "While we have previously secured federal and state money to clear debris from waterways after flooding events such as hurricanes, those efforts were reactive approaches that were part of disaster recovery funds.  StRAP now allows us to be proactive in clearing waterways so we can hopefully reduce flooding and protect people's property before the next big flood event happens. I'm grateful that the General Assembly understood the need for this program."

Eligibility

StRAP may enable local governments or organizations to tackle flood-reduction projects that have not been previously possible with budget restraints.  While local soil and water conservation districts would likely have great interest in the program, cities and counties may also apply for funds for their own projects.  Drainage districts, water and sewer authorities, municipal or county service districts, sanitary districts and nonprofit organizations could also be eligible for StRAP funding.

No cost sharing is required for this program, but additional funding commitments will be considered as an indication of the viability and potential success for proposed activities.

Project engineering, permitting and administrative costs are eligible for payment through the program.

Program funds may also be used to provide nonfederal match for related disaster recovery activities funded by the federal government (e.g. USDA Emergency Watershed Protection Program, USDA Watershed Rehabilitation Program).

The Soil and Water Conservation Commission approved the following prioritization for reviewing applications for debris removal assistance based on increasing complexity and permitting requirements that can impact project viability:
• Projects that are leveraging federal funds
• Vegetative debris removal (e.g. woody vegetation)
• Instream sediment removal (removing sediment blockages, not wholesale dredging)
• Streambank stabilization (vegetative cover) with or without sediment removal
• Stream restoration
• Other stream repair needs (e.g. culvert replacement)

Beaver trapping and dam removal may be considered part of stream debris removal.

Applicants receiving funds for removing debris or sediment from streams must ensure that the extracted debris is either removed from the 100-year floodplain (according to FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps) or processed in such a manner that debris would not pose a risk of blockage or significant impairment of normal streamflow during a subsequent flood event.

For projects involving rehabilitation or improving small watershed structural projects (PL-566), Commission priority is as follows:
• Projects where program funds are used to match federal watershed rehabilitation funds
• Structural rehabilitation or replacement for critical components (e.g. principle spillway, emergency spillway)
• Repair of critical eroding or settling areas
• Removal of accumulated sediment from the impoundment

Applicant Responsibilities

Each applicant is required to do the following:
• Complete & submit application
• Oversee project
• Provide site inspections
• Provide report to include pre & post pictures
• Secure contractor as needed
• Secure permits
• Secure access & rights-of-way
• Manage removal material
• Sign off for request for payment

Online Q&A Information Sessions

Online sessions are offered via Microsoft Teams to help increase awareness and knowledge of the newly established program.  Currently scheduled sessions follow:

Thursday, February 10, 2022 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
 

Contact

David B. Williams, deputy director
NCDA&CS Division of Soil and Water Conservation
919.707.3772
david.b.williams@ncagr.gov

NCDA&CS Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Vernon Cox, Director
Mailing Address: 1614 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1614
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh North Carolina 27603
Phone: 919.707.3770


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