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Registration closes Friday for dam safety, flooding prevention workshop

Holly Viers • Jan 30, 2019 at 10:00 PM

DUFFIELD — If you are a Virginia dam owner or local government official seeking grant funds for dam safety or flood prevention projects, make plans to visit Natural Tunnel State Park on Tuesday.

On that day, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will offer its first of six free workshops to explain the grant funding process for such projects.

Intended for dam owners, homeowners associations, floodplain managers and emergency management personnel, the workshops are designed to provide education and resources in a face-to-face format, a new approach for the DCR.

“This is the first time that we have decided to do this training,” said Wendy Howard-Cooper, acting director for state dam safety and floodplain programs. “It’s in response to dam owners having questions about the process and how to fill out the application and those kinds of things. So this is an attempt to make sure everyone who can apply has the information they need to create a successful application.”

When and where

The most convenient workshop for Southwest Virginia residents will be held Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Natural Tunnel State Park’s Cove Ridge Center.

Other workshops will be held throughout the month in Dublin, Montross, Charlottesville, Chesterfield and Virginia Beach.

What to expect

The workshops will focus on applying for grants from the state Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund. The fund provides 50 percent matching grants for a variety of projects related to dam safety and floodplain management.

Grants are awarded through a competitive process. This year, up to $1 million is available through the program, and applications are due by 4 p.m. on March 29.

The first two hours of the workshop will cover the grant program, the types of projects that may qualify for funding and how to apply. The final two hours will consist of breakout sessions specific for dam owners or local floodplain managers.

Registration

The registration deadline for the first workshop at Natural Tunnel is Friday. There is no cost to attend, and lunch will be provided. To register, visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam-safety-and-floodplains/dam-safety-and-floodplains-calendar?id=2018-10-30-09-54-24-486904-b28.

Why should you attend?

“We hope people take advantage of this because, No. 1, on the dam safety side, we have a continually aging infrastructure, and it’s extremely expensive to manage and maintain these regulated, impounding structures,” Howard-Cooper said. “We want to be a resource for dam owners to try to assist them in any way to make sure that their dams are safe, protect public safety, make sure that they are in line with our regulations, so this is just a small way that we can help do that.

“On the floodplain side, developing these flood protection studies will allow localities to do a better job of notifying their residents of where they are in terms of a floodplain, their risk and developing processes that just help protect public safety.”

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