Got flood damage? New grants available for businesses and municipalities are now taking applications

Above: Flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene in the Greene County town of Lexington. Photo taken on August 30, 2011, by Flickr user kimmcg. Posted in the Watershed Post Flickr pool.

Two big grant programs for storm-ravaged businesses, property-owners, farms, nonprofits, towns, and counties were unveiled yesterday by New York's Empire State Development agency and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The first program is a $21 million program aimed at businesses across the state and administered by Empire State Development. It will hand out grants of up to $20,000 each to farms, multi-dwelling property owners, small businesses, and NGOs that have "sustained direct, physical flood-related damage related to Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee." Business must apply by March 16.

The second program is a $9 million DEC fund earmarked for flood mitigation projects like stream debris removal, culvert repair, and steam bank stabilization in counties that were hit by the storm. Thirty-seven counties are eligible, including Delaware, Ulster, Schoharie, Sullivan, Greene and Otsego. Municipalities can apply for the funding, bur only for projects that are not eligible for FEMA funding. The DEC will administer the fund. Municipalities must apply by April 11.

The press release from Empire State Development and the DEC is below.

HURRICANE IRENE-TROPICAL STORM LEE FLOOD RECOVERY GRANT PROGRAM NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

Grants to help businesses & counties with flood recovery and flood mitigation efforts

A $30 million-grant program for communities and businesses in New York recovering from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee is now accepting grant applications, Empire State Development and the Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. The program consists of two components: $21 million through the Business Flood Recovery Grant Program to be directed to eligible entities that sustained direct, physical flood-related damage and $9 million through the Flood Mitigation Grant Program to be used to support flood mitigation or flood control projects in waterways impacted by the record-breaking storms.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, communities across the state devastated by historic flooding are continuing to get the critical assistance they need to clean-up and recover. This grant program provides the funding necessary to help our businesses, farms and owners of multiple dwellings get the help they need as well as to restore and secure our waterways to ensure homes and businesses will be better protected in the future.”

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee caused significant damage to New York’s waterways. With these grants and working in partnership with DEC staff, localities will be able to take action to repair streams and prevent future harm to property, infrastructure and the environment. This money will help these hard-hit regions clean up its waterways and protect public and private infrastructure from future flood events.”

Empire State Development (ESD) will administer the $21 million Business Flood Recovery Grant Program, which will provide grants of up to $20,000 for eligible small businesses, farms, multiple dwellings, and not-for-profits that sustained flood-related damage in Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee. Funding is geared to help offset the costs of storm-related repairs and restoration of structures not covered by other federal, state or local recovery programs. Preference will be given to applicants that demonstrate the greatest need.

Applicants can access the application form, instructions, and guidelines, as well as additional information about the program at www.esd.ny.gov/BusinessPrograms/FloodRecovery.html. Information can also be obtained by calling 518-292-5340 or emailing f[email protected]. The deadline for the application is March 16, 2012.

The $9 million Flood Mitigation Grant Program will be made available to counties through DEC and ESD. Eligible counties can apply for a grant for projects within their boundaries to reduce potential threats to public and private infrastructure. This funding can also be used as non-federal match to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Through this program, NRCS has allocated $31.5 million for New York localities. Grants will range from a minimum of $300,000 to a maximum of $500,000 per county. Preference will be given to applicants that demonstrate the greatest need and to those projects that can start work expeditiously and leverage other federal, state and local funding resources.

The funds can be used for the planning, design and implementation of eligible projects and cannot be used for work that is already complete. Planning costs will only be eligible for inclusion for projects that receive funds for implementation. Eligible projects include stream debris removal, gravel removal in or directly around bridges and culverts, stream bank stabilization and restoration, and culvert replacement. Local or regional flood planning initiatives are not eligible under this program. This funding is also not eligible to be used as non- federal match for projects reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis starting January 24, 2012 and must be submitted by April 11, 2012. DEC and ESD will review grant applications. Counties should submit their proposed projects in priority order. Applicants can access the application and guidelines by going to www.dec.ny.gov/lands/79243.html. Applications can be completed online but an original, signed application must be printed and mailed, along with any supporting documentation and attachments to the address below. The applicant should also email one electronic copy of the signed application, including attachments and photos in Adobe PDF format to [email protected].

Attn: Flood Mitigation Grant Program New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Water 625 Broadway, 4th Floor Albany, NY 12233- 3507

Additional information on other federal and state storm relief programs can be found on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/floodrecovfund.pdf.