Emergency Watershed Funds Headed to Colorado

$19 Million to Help High Park and Waldo Canyon Recovery Efforts

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will send more than $19 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds for recovery from one of the worst fire seasons in the state’s history.

“Colorado bore the brunt of a devastating wildfire season last summer,” Bennet said. “Although we’re already facing new threats as we enter this season’s hot and dry summer months, people are still working hard to put their lives back together. These resources will help protect drinking water and help mitigate the threats from flooding due to last season’s catastrophic fires.”

Colorado is receiving the largest total of the funds allocated today. In 2012, more than 200,000 acres burned in the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires, taking more than 600 homes and other structures with them.

Bennet has led efforts to help Colorado and other states prevent and fight wildfires.  A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, he successfully secured two forest health measures in the 2013 Farm Bill to help treat trees damaged by the bark beetle epidemic and to permanently reauthorize stewardship contracting. He has called for the modernization of our air tanker fleet and led efforts to secure these Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) resources to help Colorado communities recover from the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.

Senator Bennet is the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources – the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Farm Bill conservation programs like EWP.