Tester Reflects on Yellowstone Flood Anniversary, Celebrates Nearly $1 Billion in Targeted Federal Aid
Senator secured full recovery funding for Yellowstone National Park, Custer Gallatin National Forest
One year after the historic flooding along the Yellowstone River, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced that he has secured nearly $1 billion in federal relief funding to help communities and economies recover across southern Montana.
“Washington bureaucrats may not have understood just how devastating last year’s historic flooding was to families and small businesses across southern Montana, but after hearing directly from impacted communities, we got to work in the Senate and delivered for them,” said Tester. “From hosting the FEMA administrator in Livingston, to crafting a budget that fully meets the recovery needs of Yellowstone National Park, I was proud to partner with folks on the ground to deliver targeted resources that are helping the Treasure State recover. Our work is far from over, but I know that Montana’s gateway communities will continue to bounce back stronger than ever.”
Following the federal disaster declaration in June of 2022, Tester fought to secure $988.4 million in federal funding for southern Montana, including Yellowstone National Park, to help local communities and economies recover from the catastrophic flooding.
A timeline of resources secured by Tester specifically for Montana and Yellowstone National Park flood recovery efforts until now can be found below:
- $30.4 million in Federal Highway Administration Emergency Program funds for immediate road and highway repairs (May 18, 2023).
- $40 million for Infrastructure repairs to Custer Gallatin National Forest (May 10, 2023)
- $16.9 million in Supplemental Disaster funding from Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Appropriations Package
- $23.1 million in emergency Repair of Federally Owned Roads (ERFO program)
- $916 million for Yellowstone National Park to recover from flooding through the FY23 Appropriations Bill (December 22, 2023)
- $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, deployed by the state, for immediate infrastructure repairs (June 24, 2022)
Additionally, through the FY23 Appropriations Package, Tester secured funding that can be used on a national level for natural disaster efforts – including the efforts in Montana. Those funds include:
- $925M for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program
- $360 million for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to respond to natural disasters
- $210 million for watershed restoration, critical habitat, and public access
- $150 million for capital improvements, such as repairing roads
Tester has fought tirelessly to ensure that rural communities affected by the flooding have the resources they need to get back on their feet. In July, 2022 Tester and his fellow members of the Montana delegation secured assurance from USFS that guides, outfitters, and small businesses would receive support and flexibility in finding alternative options to operate on public lands. And in June, 2022 Tester and his colleagues successfully urged the Federal Highway Administration to take immediate action and provide much needed funding through the FWHA Emergency Relief Program to areas affected by flooding resulting in $3 million in funding for Montana roads and highways. They also sent a letter to President Biden, which led to the approval of a major disaster declaration and activation of critical FEMA public assistance and support for recovery efforts.
The State of Montana submitted a disaster declaration request to the federal government on June 15, 2022 in response to major flooding across south-central Montana, which was approved by President Biden the next day. Severe weather has resulted in significant property damage to homes, businesses, roads, sewers, water systems, and Yellowstone National Park.