Skip Navigation

News Release

Federal Government Offers Relief from Hurricane Sandy Flooding

Chris Coulon


COLUMBUS, Feb. 20, 2014 – Cuyahoga and Ashtabula County landowners with property in a floodplain that suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy have an opportunity to participate in the Emergency Watershed Protection Program offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 

Through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program for Floodplain Easements, the Federal Government places a conservation easement on the land and restores the land to its natural condition.  Landowners receive a payment for the easement and for any restoration costs, such as ground shaping and tree planting. 

"Floodplain easements are a long-term solution to provide relief for landowners while preventing future damage from flooding," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The Obama Administration is continuing to work with States, local governments, and the private sector to help the victims of Sandy recover."

A healthy floodplain enhances fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention, and ground water recharge while making it more resilient to flooding.

Private lands and those owned by local and State governments that are located in a floodplain that is not subject to tidal influence or action from storm waves are eligible to participate in this program. The land must also meet one of the following requirements:

  • Damaged by flooding at least once within the previous calendar year or damaged by flooding at least twice in the past 10 years (in both cases, the land must have been flooded during Sandy);
  • Would contribute to the restoration of flood storage and flow, provide for control of erosion, or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement; or
  • Could be inundated or adversely impacted as a result of a dam breach.

Easement compensation rates and ranking priorities depend on where the land is in the floodplain and how it is used. The program easements are permanent in term. Lands with structures, such as homes, are eligible for enrollment as well as lands that are open or used for agriculture. If a structure is present, NRCS will cost-share the removal or demolition of that structure and enroll the remaining lot in a permanent easement.

Interested Cuyahoga County landowners should contact Lynette Harmon at 216-524-6580 ext. 11 or  Ashtabula County landowners should contact Jonathan Mauk at 440-437-5888 ext. 108 or  Applications are due by April 18, 2014.