Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced July 25 that $390 million is available through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program for landowners and communities to cope with the aftermath of recent floods, fires, drought, tornadoes and other natural disasters. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the EWP program, which provides technical and financial assistance to address public safety and restoration efforts on private, public and tribal lands.
Through sponsorships, NRCS can pay landowners and communities up to 75 percent of the cost of removing debris from stream channels, road culverts and bridges; protecting eroded stream banks; correcting damaged drainways; and reseeding damaged areas. NRCS also can purchase floodplain easements on land that qualifies for EWP program assistance.
Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance through the EWP program, but they must be represented by a project sponsor. Local sponsors include any legal subdivision of state or local government including local officials of city, county or state governments, Indian tribes, soil conservation districts, U.S. Forest Service and watershed authorities. Sponsors must secure 25 percent of the costs in cash or approved in-kind contributions. However, in some cases, the EWP program can cover up to 90 percent of the construction costs for projects in limited resource areas. Additional information about EWP is available at
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ewp. (Contact: Charlie Ingram)