Almost two years to the day after USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s visit to Indiana to announce national and state funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, the Honey Creek Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Project in Vigo County celebrated its completion. Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service congratulated the project’s local partners and sponsors at a celebration held today at the Vigo County Fairgrounds.
Hardisty said, “This area has long experienced recurring, disastrous flooding. The 2008 flood was especially devastating, claiming the lives of three local residents and causing over one billion dollars in damages. Completion of this watershed project provides flood protection from 100-year, 24-hour storm events and will also positively impact thousands of residents and businesses in the southern part of Vigo County.”
Working with key local sponsors, the Honey Creek-Vigo Conservancy District and the Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District, NRCS applied for and received 3.3 million dollars in ARRA funding in 2009 to complete the third and most costly phase of the project located along Thompson Ditch. Local sponsors raised another 1.8 million in matching dollars. These funds allowed NRCS to provide engineering and technical assistance to construct the 3.6 miles of flood control dikes and concrete floodwalls. Earlier phases of project construction were completed earlier and were located along Honey Creek. It is estimated that the completion of this long-term project will contribute about $1.97 million in annual benefits to the economic growth of the area.
Hardisty praised the leaders of the conservancy district and the SWCD for their dedication to and investment in this huge project. She presented conservation appreciation plaques to Rick Jenkins, Chair of the Honey Creek-Vigo Conservancy District and Charlie Hendricks, Chair of the Vigo County SWCD. Hardisty also recognized NRCS staff Eddy Adams (District Conservationist), Denise Held (Civil Engineer), Chris Ritz (Civil Engineer), Mike Cox (State Conservation Engineer), and Alyson Keaton (Contract Specialist) and thanked them for their excellent work.
Hardisty said, “We are all grateful for the opportunity to help this community and provide a better quality of life for the residents and business owners of this area. Without strong local leadership and the ARRA funds, the project would have not happened.”