The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to allocate $370,000 from the county’s general fund to the Riverside Drainage District Commission in an effort to improve drainage in Canal #6.
The commission is endeavoring to acquire $3.623 million in Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) matching grant funds through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to improve drainage in Canal #6.
The RCPP promotes coordination of Natural Resource Conservation Service activities with partners that offer value-added contributions to expand their collective ability to address on-farm, watershed and regional natural resource concerns.
The Riverside Drainage District Commission first approached the WCBS about the grant at its Oct. 19 regular meeting.
Virgil Sandifer, secretary of the commission pointed out a provision in the last Farm Bill under the NRCS that allows local drainage districts to apply for grants that help with drainage issues.
“As you know, the City of Greenville has a drainage problem and we (Riverside Drainage District Commission) are committed to try and help alleviate that problem.” Sandifer said.
The bill Sandifer referred to requires the grant applicant to produce 30% of the matching funds and the remaining 70% to be produced by NRCS.
“So, what we are asking from the Board of Supervisors is to help us get at least the 30%,” Sandifer proposed, adding the commission would ask the same of the Greenville City Council at its regular meeting on Oct. 20.
The BOS voted to make a decision and reconvene once the drainage commission had met with the Greenville City Council.
Sandifer pointed out to both the BOS and city council that time was of the essence as the application deadline is set for Nov. 30.
“We’re on a time constraint and what we are asking is for you to help us with 30% of the actual cash ($3.6 million) — a little over a million dollars,” he posed to the council during its Oct. 20 regular meeting.
Sandifer proposed that the 30% be apportioned among the city, county and the drainage commission.
A third of $1,000,007 each, for example, which would equate to roughly $356,000 contributed by each entity respectively; or, a 50% contribution to be split between the city and county with the other 50% being provided by the drainage commission.
At the Greenville City Council’s Nov. 3 regular meeting, the council voted to contribute $100,000 to the commission’s grant application efforts.
Commission member and the City of Greenville consulting engineer William Burle explained to the city council and BOS ways in which the planned improvements to Canal #6 will be beneficial as the section it plans to address poses a problem as far as access and maintenance.
“It’s approximately 3,200 feet and this section has a lot of vegetation, trees and it promotes beaver activity so we have a number of dams over there,” he said.
He also pointed out that Canal or Ditch #6 affects both residential and agricultural areas and poses difficulty as it pertains to access, causing it to have to be cleaned manually.
“When we do clean it, it’s very cumbersome and time consuming,” he added.
”What we’re hoping to do to address it is install this paved ditch, so we can reduce the man hours that are spent and equipment used to clean the ditch and have that equipment and man hours available for other areas,” Burle said during the Oct. 20 council meeting.
With a $100,000 commitment from the City of Greenville and a $370,000 commitment from Washington County, the Riverside Drainage District Commission is tasked with procuring over a half million dollars to meet the match requirement of the grant.