After a hurricane, or other natural disasters, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) is there to help many landowners. A good example of that is work taking place in Monroe County, Florida. The Florida Keys took the brunt of Hurricane Irma back in 2017, filling the network of canals with debris and sediment along with widespread damage. But that debris has been cleared and now the first of the 10-canal Hurricane Irma sediment removal projects is underway.
According to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida, workers are setting up erosion and sediment control barriers, and staging areas with hay bales to safely remove sediment at three Marathon canals.
NRCS funded $45.8 million for the cleanup through EWP, a program designed to help relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect destabilized stream banks and establish cover on critically eroding lands, repair conservation practices and purchase flood plain easements.
While public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, they must be represented by a project sponsor, like a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or tribal organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.
To learn more about EWP, contact your local NRCS office.