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Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program Helps after Hurricanes

Dan Irrigation, USDA-NRCS, Water, Wetland

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While Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana this past weekend, its effects have been felt this week in many other states, including parts of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. And this is a good time to remind landowners that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may be able to help afterwards through their Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP).

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If your area suffered damage from Ida, or if you have been or may be affected by any other storms during this hurricane season, EWP can relieve imminent hazards to life and property. 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. That includes a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction, with local sources contributing the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.

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The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance within 60 days after an event has occurred from a local NRCS office. They will visit the site and determine eligibility based on environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. Then, if Congress appropriates funding, the sponsor will enter into a cooperative agreement to complete the work.

For more information about EWP, contact your local NRCS office.