The term “rehabilitation”, with respect to a structural measure constructed as part of a covered water resource project, means the completion of all work necessary to extend the service life of the structural measure and meet applicable safety and performance standards. This may include: (A) protecting the integrity of the structural measure or prolonging the useful life of the structural measure beyond the original evaluated life expectancy; (B) correcting damage to the structural measure from a catastrophic event; (C) correcting the deterioration of structural components that are deteriorating at an abnormal rate; (D) upgrading the structural measure to meet changed land use conditions in the watershed served by the structural measure or changed safety criteria applicable to the structural measure; or (E) decommissioning the structure, if requested by the local organization.
The term “structural measure” means a physical improvement that impounds water, commonly known as a dam, which was constructed as part of a covered water resource project, including the impoundment area and flood pool.
The Secretary may provide financial assistance to a local organization to cover a portion of the total costs incurred for the rehabilitation of structural measures originally constructed as part of a covered water resource project. The total costs of rehabilitation include the costs associated with all components of the rehabilitation project, including acquisition of land, easements, and rights-of-ways, rehabilitation project administration, the provision of technical assistance, contracting, and construction costs, except that the local organization shall be responsible for securing all land, easements, or rights-of-ways necessary for the project.
The amount of Federal funds that may be made available under this subsection to a local organization for construction of a particular rehabilitation project shall be equal to 65 percent of the total rehabilitation costs, but not to exceed 100 percent of actual construction costs incurred in the rehabilitation. However, the local organization shall be responsible for the costs of water, mineral, and other resource rights and all Federal, State, and local permits.
The Secretary, acting through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, may provide technical assistance in planning, designing, and implementing rehabilitation projects should a local organization request such assistance. Such assistance may consist of specialists in such fields as engineering, geology, soils, agronomy, biology, hydraulics, hydrology, economics, water quality, and contract administration.
Rehabilitation assistance provided under this section may not be used to perform operation and maintenance activities specified in the agreement for the covered water resource project entered into between the Secretary and the local organization responsible for the works of improvement. Such operation and maintenance activities shall remain the responsibility of the local organization, as provided in the project work plan.
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), as part of the provision of financial assistance under subsection (b), the Secretary may renegotiate the original agreement for the covered water resource project entered into between the Secretary and the local organization regarding responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the project when the rehabilitation is finished.
A local organization may apply to the Secretary for technical and financial assistance under this section if the application has also been submitted to and approved by the State agency having supervisory responsibility over the covered water resource project at issue or, if there is no State agency having such responsibility, by the Governor of the State. The Secretary shall request the State dam safety officer (or equivalent State official) to be involved in the application process if State permits or approvals are required. The rehabilitation of structural measures shall meet standards established by the Secretary and address other dam safety issues. At the request of the local organization, personnel of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture may assist in preparing applications for assistance.
The Secretary shall establish such system of approving rehabilitation requests, recognizing that such requests will be received throughout the fiscal year and subject to the availability of funds to carry out this section, as is necessary for proper administration by the Department of Agriculture and equitable for all local organizations. The approval process shall be in writing, and made known to all local organizations and appropriate State agencies.
The Secretary may not approve a rehabilitation request if the need for rehabilitation of the structure is the result of a lack of adequate maintenance by the party responsible for the maintenance.
The Secretary, in concert with the responsible State agencies, shall conduct an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of covered water resource projects in all States in which such projects are located.
The Secretary shall maintain a data base to track the benefits derived from rehabilitation projects supported under this section and the expenditures made under this section. On the basis of such data and the reports submitted under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall prepare and submit to Congress an annual report providing the status of activities conducted under this section.
Not later than 90 days after the completion of a specific rehabilitation project for which assistance is provided under this section, the local organization that received the assistance shall make a report to the Secretary giving the status of any rehabilitation effort undertaken using financial assistance provided under this section.