Delegation Announces USDA Investment of More than $39 Million in Watersheds and Water Supply

Funding comes as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Congressman Don Young, all R-Alaska welcomed an announcement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that?the?U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $39 million in Alaska’s infrastructure. This funding is through implementation of?the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which was signed into law last November.

“The cultural identity and subsistence way of life for Alaska Native communities is directly tied to their land and waterways. Unfortunately, many Alaskan communities are now in danger as the impacts of climate change cause severe flooding and devastation – something that is only getting worse with time. There are also a number of Alaska Native communities that lack access to one of our most basic needs – safe drinking water. Having visited a number of these communities firsthand, I’ve heard directly from Alaskans about what’s at stake. I took this into account as I helped craft the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and helped ensure that significant funding would be directed to watershed protection and flood prevention efforts in Alaska,” said Senator Murkowski. “I am glad to see Secretary Vilsack and the USDA bringing the provisions within our infrastructure law to fruition.”

“Year after year, Alaskans in many of our small, rural villages find themselves at the mercy of Mother Nature as flooding events devastate homes and infrastructure, and cut off their water supply,” said Senator Sullivan. “It’s a difficult reality most Americans don’t have to contend with. In the face of these extreme weather events, infrastructure resilience is a top priority I hear from rural Alaskans every time I’m able to visit. I’m glad to see the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act is delivering a major investment in vulnerable Alaska communities that need protection from erosion and floods, and consistent access to safe drinking water.”

“Alaska's waters are crucial to Alaska Native cultural identity and our state's broader economy and way of life. Subsistence fishing, clean water infrastructure, and coastal erosion are all topics of vital importance to our Native communities. With this in mind, I worked hard to ensure Alaska Native interests were understood by my colleagues from the Lower 48 as we drafted and passed what is now the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Congressman Don Young. “This funding is critical, and I am grateful to Secretary Vilsack for recognizing the great need for watershed defense, flood prevention, and clean drinking water initiatives in our state. Alaska has already received well over $1 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. I want to underscore what I find myself saying on a nearly weekly basis as funding is rolled out: this legislation is a game-changer for Alaska. I look forward to continuing to partner with communities across our state to build the next century of Alaskan infrastructure.”? 

The?Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided?$918 million for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) watershed programs, which includes the?Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program.

WFPO Program Funding for Alaska:

  • Alakanuk Community Flood Protection: $2,555,000
  • Shishmaref Community Flood Protection and Water Supply: $8,800,000
  • Tuntutuliak Community Flood Protection: $4,055,000
  • Kwigillingok Community Flood Protection: $4,155,000
  • Kotlik Community Flood Protection: $8,055,000
  • Golovin Community Flood Protection: $3,055,000
  • Tununak Community Flood Protection: $9,055,000

A full list of projects is available here.

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program assists federal, state, local and tribal governments to protect and restore watersheds by preventing erosion, addressing floodwater and sediment damage, improving water supply and quality, enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, preventing floods, for hydropower sources, and advancing water conservation.

To learn more, visit?usda.gov.??? 


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Related Issues: Infrastructure