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 N.C. General Assembly approved the money to create 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.
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 N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer services.
“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.”
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.
The Division of Soil and Water Conservation will begin accepting applications on Monday, Jan. 24. A link to the application form can be found on the StRAP webpage at www.ncagr.gov/SWC/watershed/StRAP.html. The division will also host online Q&A sessions. The first is Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 2:30 p.m. The second is Thursday, Feb. 10, at 9 a.m. Meeting links and additional program details are also on the StRAP webpage.
Feature photo of flooding in Vass by John Patota/Sandhills Sentinel.