Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

EWP Flooding Banner

Emergency Watershed Protection

EWP

The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, a federal emergency recovery program, helps local communities recover after a natural disaster strikes.


 

EWP Recovery from Forest Fire - Montana

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program

OVERVIEW

The EWP Program offers technical and financial assistance to help local communities relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and other natural disasters that impair a watershed. EWP does not require a disaster declaration by federal or state government officials for program assistance to begin. The NRCS State Conservationist can declare a local watershed emergency and initiate EWP program assistance in cooperation with an eligible sponsor (see the Eligibility section below). NRCS will not provide funding for activities undertaken by a sponsor prior to the signing of a cooperative agreement between NRCS and the sponsor.

NRCS offers financial and technical assistance for various activities under the EWP Program, including: 

  • Remove debris from stream channels, road culverts and bridges;
  • reshape and protect eroded streambanks;
  • correct damaged or destroyed drainage facilities;
  • establish vegetative cover on critically eroding lands;
  • repair levees and structures;       
  • repair certain conservation practices, and
  • purchase of floodplain easements.
Iowa Agricultural flood prevention

EWP Project Criteria

-provide protection from flooding or soil erosion;

-reduce threats to life and property;

-restore the hydraulic capacity to the natural environment;

-economically and environmentally defensible.

Eligibility

Recovery Projects

Recovery projects begin with a local sponsor or legal subdivision of state or tribal government. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts, or any federally-recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization. Interested public and private landowners must work through a sponsor.

Floodplain Easement Option

In some situations, landowners can directly apply for assistance through a floodplain easement at the local NRCS office when project funding for floodplain easements becomes available. States will hold a signup period for the impacted communities and the local NRCS offices will publicize that information in the affected communities.

The EWP Program cannot be used:

  • to address the same structural issue or practice 3 times within 10 years;
  • for existing operation and maintenance;
  • to repair, rebuild, or maintain any transportation facilities, utilities, or similar facilities;
  • to restore projects installed by another federal agency;
  • to repair nonstructural management practices;
  • to repair coastal erosions to beaches, dunes, and shorelines, including those along the Great Lakes;
  • if the recovery measures are eligible for the Emergency Conservation Program offered thru the Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Sponsor eligibliity

Locally-Led Solutions

All EWP projects must have a sponsor and demonstrate that they reduce threats to life and property; be economically, environmentally and socially sound; and must be designed to acceptable engineering standards.

NRCS partners with diverse sponsors to complete EWP Program projects. Sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts, or any federally-recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization.

Sponsors can apply for EWP Program assistance directly to NRCS while public and private landowners can apply for this assistance through a local sponsor. Landowners do not need a sponsor to apply for assistance through EWP-floodplain easements.

Check out the EWP Sponsor Resource page for more information.

EWP Fact Sheet Icon
EWP Fact Sheet

Other Disaster Assistance

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.