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EWP Emergency Recovery Plan

Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the EWP Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters, such as wildfires and floods. Funding for the program is provided through emergency congressional appropriations.

Types of Work AuthorizedDebris-clogged stream channels and bridge.

EWP recovery consists of installation of measures that help protect lives and property following a natural disaster. EWP work can include such measures as: removing debris from clogged stream channels and bridges; reshaping and protecting eroded banks; and reseeding damaged areas. Proposed measures must be technically sound and economically, environmentally and socially defensible.

Threats or watershed impairments that EWP addresses include, but are not limited to:


  • Debris-clogged stream channels and bridges
  • Damaged upland sites stripped of vegetation by wildfire
  • Unstable streambanks


Owners of private, public or tribal lands may be eligible for EWP assistance if:

  • their watershed area has been damaged by a natural disaster;
  • there is a threat to life or property;Unstable streambanks.
  • the threat significantly exceeds that which existed before the impairment;
  • they are represented by a project Sponsor who applies for assistance.


A sponsor can be any legal subdivision of tribal, state, county or local government. Sponsors are needed to:

  • provide legal authority to do recovery work;
  • obtain necessary permits and landrights;
  • contribute funds or in-kind services;
  • maintain the completed emergency measures.

The sponsor also determines priorities for emergency assistance while coordinating the work of other federal and local agencies.

Request for Assistance

An application for assistance should come in the form of a letter signed by an official of a sponsoring organization. The letter should include the nature of the natural disaster, description of potential hazards to life and property, and location for which assistance is requested. The sponsor should indicate willingness and ability to provide 25% of the total installation cost, the authority to obtain necessary land rights and permits, and responsibility for operation & maintenance.

Contact your local field office for more information.

Arizona Project Status and Success Stories

During the past decade, NRCS in Arizona provided Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program assistance to sponsors throughout the state in response to several large-scale drought, flooding and wildfire disasters. Please click on the links below for more information regarding these efforts.

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

EWP Arizona Emergency Recovery Plan
EWP Project Status Map
AZ EWP Program Brochure