Communities that experienced damage after Hurricane Ian can still seek assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP), offered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida. But, community sponsors are being reminded that requests for EWP assistance related to the hurricane are due to NRCS by January 27, 2023.
“EWP provides immediate assistance to communities to mitigate potential hazards to life and property resulting from disasters, particularly the severe erosion and flooding that can occur following hurricanes,” said Juan C. Hernandez, State Conservationist for NRCS in Florida. “We can work with a local sponsor to help a damaged watershed so that lives and property are protected while preventing further devastation in the community.”
Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, or any federally recognized Native American Tribe or Tribal organization. A sample letter of request for EWP assistance is available for sponsors on the Florida NRCS website.
Through EWP, the NRCS provides assistance to local government sponsors, for the cost of addressing watershed impairments or hazards such as debris removal and streambank stabilization. Sponsors typically must submit a formal request to the NRCS state conservationist by postal mail or email within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence or 60 days from the date when access to the sites become available. However, because of the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Ian, a waiver was granted by USDA to extend sponsors’ time to request EWP assistance to 120 days.
For more information, contact your local NRCS office.