Drought prompts natural disaster declaration for Douglas, Carson | RecordCourier.com

Drought prompts natural disaster declaration for Douglas, Carson

Staff Reports
Kurt Hildebrand/R-C file photoIn January 2012, the Carson Valley was brown after a long period without precipitation. This year is not shaping up to be much better.

Douglas County is one of four Nevada jurisdictions designated a primary natural disaster area due to drought on Wednesday.

Carson City, Esmeralda and White Pine counties were also listed as places suffering from losses due to the drought.

January and February have been declared the driest on record at Tahoe City, according to the National Weather Service.

While December saw some places in the central Sierra get twice their average moisture, both January and February have been poor producers.

Ebbetts Pass recorded a fifth of average moisture for January and Minden had just under a quarter of its average 1.47 inches for the month.

During February, Ebbetts, at the head of the Carson River’s East Fork had gained only 1.1 inches of precipitation. As of Thursday morning it was at 81 percent of total moisture for the year.

Because of the disaster designation, farmers and ranchers in contiguous counties also qualify for natural disaster assistance, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency loans from Farm Service Agency.

Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses, officials said.

The agency will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. Agency has a variety of programs, in addition to the loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity.