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More ARRA funds heading to state

AROUND MISSISSIPPI — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has selected 289 applications for the first national sign-up for floodplain easements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The easements will cover more the 36,000 acres of land in 36 states.

During this ARRA floodplain easement sign-up, USDA received more than 4,200 applications, totaling over $1.4 billion and representing 479,000 acres of flood-prone land in 47 states and territories.

In Mississippi, six applications covering 1,390 acres will receive approximately $2.6 million in ARRA funding.

In a separate item, Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide nearly $42.3 million in additional funding to 14 states to improve water quality, increase water supply, decrease soil erosion and improve fish and wildlife habitat while creating jobs in rural communities as part of the ARRA.

Mississippi projects receiving ARRA funds are Ellison Creek ($1.875 million), Little and Upper Tallahatchie ($2.2 million), Town Creek ($930,000), Yazoo-Arkabutla Creek ($1 million), Yazoo-Upper Piney Creek ($875,000) and Yazoo-Upper Skuna River ($750,000).

Finally, Vilsack announced ARRA funding for forest road maintenance and associated watershed and ecosystem restoration. Among the 106 projects receiving more than $228 million nationwide, Mississippi was awarded $4.8 million for one unspecified project.

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