WASHINGTON, APRIL 2, 2010 AT 1:00 PM EDT - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture highlighted the jobs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The evidence is clear – and growing by the day – that the Recovery Act is putting people back to work.
"President Obama’s Recovery Act has helped to create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Natural Resources and the Environment Under Secretary Harris Sherman. “USDA has used Recovery Act funding to create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies; help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times; ensure that struggling families can put food on the table; and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across America.”
In Lincoln County, Nevada, a county with unemployment figures much higher than the national average, the USDA Forest Service is providing Recovery Act funding to the Nevada Division of Forestry to create jobs while improving forest health and creating more natural ecosystems in three state parks.
In Beaver Dam State Park, Forest Service Recovery Act-funded workers are carrying out invasive species treatments and protecting endemic Ponderosa Pine stands. While much work was finished in 2009, a 25-acre fuels reduction area in steep terrain will be treated by hand crews this spring.
Work in Spring Valley State Park and Echo Canyon State Park provided local jobs while improving recreation areas for visitors, indirectly boosting the local economy as park use increases. Shade tree development, erosion control, fuel reduction, and the continuation of an herbicide spraying program created meaningful work while making the parks more attractive to visit.
According to the Nevada Division of Forestry, work on the multi-faceted $1.3 million Lincoln County Multi-Disciplinary Project has created 32 and retained five temporary jobs, using both state and private contract crews to complete all work.
Contractors selected for this project actually hired crews consisting of local people from Lincoln County and surrounding counties equally affected by unemployment. The contractors then trained these crews for the Lincoln County project, of which most of the work was finished in 2009.
Contractors have retained some of those hired beyond the stimulus funding, according to Bob Conrad, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources public information officer.
Since the Recovery Act was signed into law a year ago, USDA has moved quickly to get nearly $28 billion dollars out the door. The USDA Forest Service has distributed over $1 billion dollars to create private sector jobs and produce significant resource benefits. Forest Service Recovery Act projects are focused on: reducing wildfire risks; maintaining forest roads and trails; producing clean and abundant water; restoring forest health; improving energy efficiency of public and administrative facilities; converting wood to clean energy; and offering job training opportunities to youth.
“This spring and summer, over 600 Forest Service Economic Recovery projects will be going on across the nation accomplishing critical resource work and providing jobs and training to people who need them,” said Under Secretary Sherman.