The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program was created by Congress to respond to watershed emergencies caused by natural disasters. It allows NRCS to address problems in the watershed caused by floods, fires, windstorms and other natural occurrences when they cause an imminent threat to life and property. EWP is a disaster recovery program made available in emergency situations when neither the state nor the local community is able to repair a damaged watershed.
EWP assists groups of people with a common problem rather than providing assistance on an individual basis. All EWP projects must be sponsored by a political subdivision of the state; such as a city, county, tribe or conservation district. The sponsor secures land rights and funds 25 percent of the project cost, either in cash or in-kind contributions. NRCS administers the program and provides technical assistance.