Long-awaited relief for wildfire-wrecked areas of Colorado will finally arrive after nearly a year of battles that delayed federal funding and held up projects to reduce flooding in hard-hit regions across the state.
The roughly $20 million in federal money will be used to repair damaged water supplies and reduce flooding risks in El Paso and Larimer counties, where wildfires ravaged neighborhoods last summer. According to the Denver Post, the United States Department of Agriculture has earmarked $8.8 million for projects in the Waldo Canyon fire area, as well as $8.6 million for the High Park fire area and $2.3 million for projects in the North Fork and Weber fire areas. Colorado’s assistance comes months after the U.S. House of Representatives stripped wildfire recovery money from a bill that gave disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of the East Coast.
“It would have been nice to have gotten it two months ago,” Greg Langer, the district conservationist with Natural Resources Conservation service told the Post. “We have already spent enough time waiting for this, and projects have been put on hold as we wait.”
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that Colorado is one of 15 states targeted for watershed protection funding. Overall, more than $65 million has been allocated for fire-struck areas that include Florida, New Mexico, and Ohio.
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