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soil erosion in rural Alaska in the village of Huslia

Alaska EWP


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

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What is the Emergency Watershed Protection Program?

The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) was established by Congress to help recover from emergencies created by natural disasters. EWP is intended to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, heavy rains, and other natural disasters.

What kind of work can be done?

EWP work is not limited to any one set of prescribed measures. A case by case investigation and determination of the project need is made by NRCS. Examples of EWP work can include: removing debris clogging stream channels or waterways, stabilizing eroding streambanks, and relocation of at-risk buildings and houses.  Work is limited to the least cost alternative required to address the imminent hazard to life or property.

What can’t EWP do?

EWP funds cannot be used to stabilize eroding coastline, repair damaged infrastructure such as powerlines, municipal water or sewer systems, or roads, or work on measures installed by another federal agency.  Additional details can be provided by your local NRCS Field Office.

Is financial assistance available? 

NRCS may cover up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures. However, if the borough, city, or village qualifies as a limited resource area, the Federal contribution toward the implementation of emergency measures may not exceed 90 percent of the construction cost of such emergency measures. The remaining cost is borne by the project sponsor and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services depending on the situation.

What are the criteria for assistance?

All EWP work must reduce threats to life and property. Furthermore, it must be economically, environmentally, and socially defensible and technically sound from an engineering standpoint.

Who is eligible?

Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance but must be represented by a project sponsor. The project sponsor must be a legal subdivision of the State, such as a borough or city government, a conservation district or federally recognized tribe.  EWP assistance is not available for Federal lands.

What does the sponsor have to do?

Sponsors are responsible for providing all necessary land rights to perform the work and securing the necessary permits. Sponsors are also responsible for furnishing the local cost share, operation and maintenance of the completed project, and in some instances performing the project implementation work. The work can be accomplished via federal contract, locally awarded contract, or force account.

How do I get assistance?

Qualifying sponsors are encouraged to request EWP assistance if significant damages occurred due to a natural disaster in their geographic area.  The Sponsor’s application for assistance must be in the form of a letter signed by an official of the sponsoring organization.  A template letter is available at the link below to ensure that all critical details are included in the request for assistance.  Information is available from local NRCS offices to explain the eligibility requirements for the EWP program. For assistance, contact your nearest Local NRCS Field Office. Contact information is available below.

Applications for assistance must be submitted within 60 days of the disaster.

Other Disaster Assistance

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Contact your local service center to start your application.

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