USA: Long Island to Receive Money for Levees Repair
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced that, after their push, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that five Long Island farms are eligible for funding to repair 4.5 miles of levees that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The levees protect over 700 acres of farmland and Suffolk County applied for Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funds to repair the damaged levees. Although USDA guidelines suggested that EWP funding only be provided to freshwater projects, Schumer and Gillibrand pushed the USDA for a waiver to allow the five farms access to the EWP program that would fund 75 percent of the levees’ repair costs.
Schumer and Gillibrand announced that the USDA has signed off on the waiver and will allow the two-hundred year old farms funding to repair these levees which protect the farmland and homes along the 4.5 mile stretch from future floods.
“These levees are critical protective features and without them, over 700 acres of farmland will be left vulnerable to future storms, possibly further destroying the land and the homes along this stretch,” said Schumer. “These farms have been part of Long Island for over 200 years and it would be a shame for one storm to force them out of business. I’m glad we could break the log jam and get this sandy aid flowing to these necessary projects. ”
“No one can question the devastation Superstorm Sandy has left in these communities,” said Gillibrand. “In this time of great need, the USDA made the right call in allowing our Long Island farms to apply for federal funds. Providing critical repairs to Long Island levees will enable our farmers and businesses to rebuild and help safeguard future lives and farmland.”
“We are very pleased to see that NRCS is moving forward to address damage to agricultural lands caused by Hurricane Sandy last fall. Without assistance to fix these levees, the farmers who have been producing on this land for more than 100 years would have to take this land out of production and Long Island would have lost even more of its valuable farmland. With the growing season fast approaching, this news comes at the right time. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the support Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and others have provided in seeing this through,” said Dean Norton, President of New York Farm Bureau.
After Superstorm Sandy hit Long Island’s coast, four and a half miles of levees in Cutchogue and Orient were damaged. The levees were severely breached in several spots and destabilized the entire system. These levees are important pieces of infrastructure that protect five farms including Salt Air Farm, Latham Farm, Driftwood Farm, Terry Farm and Wickham Fruit Farm as well as over 700 acres of farmland from flooding. Each farm is protected by a separate dike and approximately 3,500 linear feet was damaged. The levees protect the Peconic Bay from agricultural run-off and avert saltwater intrusion to fresh water wetlands.
Press Release, April 10, 2013