PERRY, Okla. — The announcement of a $262 million investment for rehabilitating dams that provide critical infrastructure and protect public safety and health will benefit communities across the nation, according to a press release.

"This investment will protect people and property from floods, help keep our water clean, and ensure that critical structures continue to provide benefits for future generations," said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason Weller in the press release. "Families, businesses and our agriculture economy depend on responsible management of dams and watersheds, and we are continuing to provide that support to these communities."

The 2014 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Obama earlier this year, increased the usual annual investment in watershed rehabilitation by almost 21 fold, recognizing the crucial factor of these structures in water supply, flood management and agricultural productivity, continued the release.

According to Weller, the funding will provide rehabilitation assistance for 150 dams in 26 states, used for planning, design or construction and 500 dam sites will be assessed for safety through NRCS’ Watershed Rehabilitation Program, allowing an estimated 250,000 people to benefit as a result of improved flood protection made possible by the rehabilitated dams, stated the release.

“These funds will go a long way towards improving the safety and continued benefits provided by these watershed structures,” Weller said in the release. “We will work closely with the local project sponsors to ensure that these dams continue to protect and provide water for communities and agriculture."