Miami-Dade EWP Success Story
Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program
Wilma was a classic October hurricane which struck South Florida as a Category 3 hurricane on October 24th, 2005. It became the 21st named storm of the season during the morning hours of October 17, 2005, which tied the record for the most named storms in one season originally set back in 1933. The hurricane made landfall shortly before 7 AM Monday, October 24th on the southwest Florida coast between Everglades City and Cape Romano, then traveled east across Florida and through Miami-Dade County. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Wilma was the most intense storm ever in the Atlantic Basin.
Approximately $12.4 million was obligated by the United States Congress to the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for damages resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) project included removing debris (primarily trees and other vegetative debris) from 120 miles of canals and repairing canal banks eroded from the hurricane. Several thousand tons of debris was removed from these canals to restore the flow and prevent flooding. The local sponsor for this project was Miami-Dade County.
IN THEIR WORDS
"The EWP Program authorizes NRCS to come in and clean out canals of debris caused by catastrophic events, such as we have in Miami-Dade County. This debris causes both flooding and health hazards so it important to clean it up as soon as possible. The US Congress appropriates money to NRCS and we work in a partnership with local sponsors on these projects. In this case, the sponsor is Miami-Dade County."
Niles Glasgow, NRCS Florida State Conservationist
"NRCS has been tremendous at getting, not only the response, but coming down and evaluating and joining us in the assessments. The whole process was very quick, professional. We came to an agreement very quickly. Over a million inhabitants in Miami-Dade County will benefit from the work that NRCS and DERM have done. "
"The canals in Miami-Dade County are like the veins and arteries for the county for removing all of the storm water that we experience. So the fact that we have been able to quickly respond and get these canals clean now assures our residents better flood protection in the future."
Dorian Valdez - Deputy Director, Miami-Dade County
Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM)
"The canal behind my house was a disaster after Hurricane Wilma. Trees were everywhere, in the canal, on my shed, everywhere! The job they did cleaning the canal was fantastic. If you ask me these are our tax dollars well spent."
Juan Diaz – Miami Resident
EWP funds were used to clean this canal in Miami-Dade County.
The purpose of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) is to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements, for runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention, and safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.