Barbara Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist
Easement Program for NJ landowners impacted by Sandy; Apply by September 2
SOMERSET, August 9, 2013 – State Conservationist Carrie Mosley is reminding New Jersey landowners impacted by Sandy that they have until Labor Day to apply for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program - Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE) Program. Up to $124.8 million has been designated for landowners in 12 states with property damaged by Hurricane Sandy through this program administered by USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Owners of residential and agricultural land outside of the FEMA “Coastal” Flood Zones (Zones V, VE, or V1-30) may apply. “Landowners who sustained loss from Sandy’s devastation have the opportunity sell to a buyer who will restore the property to function as a floodplain,” said Carrie Mosley, NRCS State Conservationist for New Jersey.
NRCS is working closely with NJ Department of Environmental Protection to help identify priority areas in New Jersey. “Properties in those areas or neighborhoods that the State is targeting for the Blue Acres Program could receive higher ranking so that we can leverage State and Federal dollars,” Mosley said.
The program easements are permanent in term. Public and private lands with structures, such as homes, are eligible for enrollment as well as open or agricultural lands. If a structure is present, NRCS will commission the removal or demolition of that structure and enroll the remaining lot in a permanent easement. Owners of properties zoned “residential” will need to secure a public sponsor who will assume ownership of the property upon execution of the warranty easement deed. Applicants selected for the program will be awarded 100% of value of land and structures (fair market value), and NRCS will cover the cost of restoration of the easement, including the demolition or removal of structures present on the property.
Local NRCS office personnel can help determine the FEMA zone of a property. Interested landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center for more information and to submit an application prior to the September 2 deadline. Program requirements are on the NRCS NJ website (www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov).