High water damaged 42 of the 130 state parks and recreation areas in South Dakota during 2011, but none of the 40 damaged along the Missouri River is directly eligible for federal emergency assistance for their repair, state Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Jeff Vonk said today.
The curveball now facing state lawmakers is that $2 million of federal funding won’t materialize to help with the repairs, contrary to GFP’s earlier expectations.
State Parks and Recreation Director Doug Hofer said the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently ruled that park and recreation areas along the river aren’t eligible for FEMA damage assistance.
That wipes out $2 million that Hofer was counting on from federal aid.
He said FEMA’s decision was based on language in federal law that gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a flood easement along the shoreline. The flood easement was part of the federal law passed by Congress transferring the shore lands from the corps to state ownership.
FEMA is taking the same no-funding position regarding riverside repairs on land previously owned by the corps in Pierre, Fort Pierre, Oacoma and Chamberlain.
The governor is requesting emergency funding from the Legislature to deal with flood damage and mountain pine-bark beetle infestations in the Black Hills.
The emergency legislation would include $2 million for Game, Fish and Parks to offset the FEMA money that was expected but won’t be received, Hofer said.
Hofer said he wants to shift about $1.6 million in his current 2012 budget to pay for some of the flood damages and seeks to earmark $3 million in the 2013 budget for more repairs. There isn’t money available yet for another $2.4 million of damage to state parks and recreation areas.