Douglas County residents get federal aid after 2012 floodOn the anniversary of the historic June 2012 storm event, Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak announced that Douglas County will be receiving over $1.7 million in federal aid to assist several property owners along the St. Louis River whose properties sustained severe erosion-related damage due to the storm of June 19-20, 2012.
On the anniversary of the historic June 2012 storm event, Douglas County Administrator Andy Lisak announced that Douglas County will be receiving over $1.7 million in federal aid to assist several property owners along the St. Louis River whose properties sustained severe erosion-related damage due to the storm of June 19-20, 2012.
The funding, which is from USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program, will be used to provide technical and financial assistance to six homeowners and one business within Douglas County deemed eligible. Five of the homeowners are in the city of Superior and one is in the town of Superior. The business, the Mont du Lac Recreation Area is located in the town of Superior.
“Last year’s catastrophic rain storm resulted in erosion caused by exceptionally high overland flow which in turn caused mass slumping and other kinds of river bank failure,” said Christine Ostern, Douglas County conservationist. “The river bank failure jeopardized structures and threatened the water quality of the river and ultimately Lake Superior.”
Only extremely vulnerable sites were deemed eligible for the assistance. Site surveys and landowner contacts were made last summer by Douglas County staff and eligibility was determined by USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service staff. Assistance is only available to landowners who have threat to life or property from unstable and highly erodible slopes.
Douglas County will use the federal assistance to hire consultants and construction crews to stabilize and repair eroding slopes on private property at eligible sites. This work will greatly benefit the St. Louis River and Lake Superior by reducing the amount of sediment that reaches the water and causes detrimental impacts to habitat and water quality.
Douglas County, acting as the local sponsor for the NRCS funds, will be engaging local engineering firms, suppliers and contractors to develop and implement plans to repair sites. “We plan to work closely with the Wisconsin Department of Trade and Consumer Protection’s Soil and Water Resource Management Program and the impacted property owners to ensure the work is carried out in a timely manner.” stated Ostern. Property owners will be required to match a portion of the federal funds received.
“We have already contacted the eligible property owners to share the good news about the federal assistance,” said Ostern. “They all expressed a strong interest in moving forward,” Ostern continued.
“This has been a long process for the property owners,” Lisak said. “We applied for these funds last summer and it literally took an act of Congress for the funds to become available," Lisak continued. “We greatly appreciate the assistance we received from U.S. Congressman Sean Duffy‘s office in helping us secure this assistance.”
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program is used to help local units of government assist citizens after natural disasters such as severe storms, floods, drought, and hurricanes. USDA also awarded Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds totaling $802,000 to St. Louis County, Carlton County and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota.
For more information about USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/landscape/ewpp/.