Brown County was included in a long list of places named as disaster sites Monday by Gov. Rick Perry, a move that opens a variety of programs to residents affected by recent heavy rains and flooding.
Area counties named are Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Hamilton, Mills, Runnels and San Saba, the governor’s office said.
Meanwhile, Lake Brown-wood was opened to boat traffic at 10 a.m. Monday. While usage was apparently not high, evidence of at least a half dozen boat launches was visible early Monday afternoon around the lake dam.
“The lake has been closed since Wednesday because heavy rains caused the lake to rise rapidly and wash in debris,” John Chisholm, general manager of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1, said. “The lake level has fallen to 1.9 feet above the spillway (as of Monday morning), after cresting at 4.2 feet over the spillway last Thursday. Those planning to get out on the lake should use extreme caution to avoid floating or partially submerged objects.”
“Recent storms have devastated the communities in Central and North Texas, sadly taking lives, homes and livelihoods,” Perry said in a release. “State resources and volunteer organizations are on site providing assistance, and we will continue to work with local officials in addressing the needs of these devastated communities.”
The governor's disaster declaration opens the door to a variety of assistance from state agencies, including the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, (TDHCA), the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Office of Rural and Community Affairs (ORCA).
TDHCA administers emergency assistance through the disaster relief HOME program. This program can provide up to $500,000 per jurisdiction for distribution to qualified individual applicants.
NRCS, which issues emergency assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, can assist communities with a range of projects such as debris removal, erosion control, and repair of bridges and culverts.
Upon request from the governor, qualifying communities with populations less than 50,000 and counties with populations less than 200,000 are eligible to receive up to $350,000 in emergency grants from ORCA for infrastructure losses.
Also Monday, President Bush approved Gov. Perry’s disaster declaration request from last week for Cooke, Coryell, Denton, Grayson, Lampasas and Tarrant Counties due to heavy rains, flooding and tornados.
Other counties included in the governor’s declaration due to severe storms and flooding damage are Archer, Baylor, Bell, Blanco, Burnet, Collin, Ellis, Fannin, Gillespie, Hood, Hunt, Jones, Lamar, Lipscomb, Llano, Mason, McLennan, Menard, Ochiltree, Parker, Starr, Stephens, Travis, Webb, Wichita, Williamson, Wise and Young counties.