With the 2020 Hurricane Season officially here, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) wants to remind landowners that if your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) can 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.
Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but you must be represented by a project sponsor, like a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75% of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.
NRCS offers financial and technical assistance for various activities like, removing debris from stream channels, road culverts and bridges; reshaping and protecting eroded streambanks; correcting damaged or destroyed drainage facilities; establishing vegetative cover on critically eroding lands; repairing levees and structures; and repairing conservation practices.
The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance from a local NRCS office staff visit the site and determine eligibility based on environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. If Congress appropriates funds, the sponsor enters into a cooperative agreement to complete the work. Learn more about EWP on the NRCS website or contact your local USDA service center.