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Land conservation loan requests due

Owners of Arkansas land damaged by recent flooding or another natural disaster have until Friday to apply for $2.8 million for buying or restoring conversation easements for that land.

Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service has reserved $217.5 million for funding conservation easements. So far, the agency has allocated $98.3 million of that to 11 states, including Arkansas.

An agency announcement states that Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin also will have access to funding.

Conservation easements constrain land uses for the sake of conservation.

In the announcement, State Conservationist Mike Sullivan said restoring floodplains to "a natural state ensures they function properly."

Landowners interested in applying should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office, the announcement states.

Commission OKs water utility funds

The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission approved this week offering several loans and two grants to water and wastewater utilities in the state.

The grants total $4.8 million, nearly all of that going toward the state's match to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency capitalization grants for water and drinking water. The state must provide a 20% match of federal funds by Oct. 1 to receive the federal funds.

A grant of up to $47,000 will go to the South Sheridan Water Association to construct a new water main to replace a pump station with low flow.

The loans total $3.4 million, including a loan of up to $766,900 to be principally forgiven to Arkadelphia for assuming the operations of Gum Springs Water System. The city also received a loan of up to $2 million for the Gum Springs operation.

The Northern Ohio Water District will get a loan of up to $175,560 for new water meters and emergency repairs to prevent water leaks. The utility is experiencing 70% water loss, and 70 of its 275 active customers have meter readings of 0 gallons used every month.

The commission also approved de-obligating a $2 million loan to Sardis, a $15,000 loan to McCrory and a $93,000 loan to Baxter-Marion. McCrory and Baxter-Marion were unable to use the funds because of other issues, staff said. Sardis accepted a loan from another entity.

Metro on 09/22/2019

Print Headline: Land conservation loan requests due Commission OKs water utility funds

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