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Recovery Assistance - Illinois


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

The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program allows communities to quickly address serious and long-lasting damages to infrastructure and to the land. The program’s timelines for assistance ensures NRCS must act quickly to help local communities cope with adverse impacts resulting from natural disasters. All projects must demonstrate that they reduce threats to life and property; be economically, environmentally and socially sound and must be designed to acceptable engineering standards. The EWP Program also allows NRCS to establish non-traditional partnerships with sponsors to complete projects.

EWP Program - Recovery

NRCS provides financial and technical assistance for the following activities under EWP Program – Recovery:  

  • debris removal from stream channels, road culverts and bridges;
  • reshape and protect eroded streambanks;
  • correct damaged drainage facilities;
  • establish vegetative cover on critically eroding lands
  • repair levees and structures; and      
  • repair conservation practices.


Public and private landowners can apply for assistance for EWP Program – Recovery projects through a local sponsor, or a legal subdivision of state or tribal government. Eligible sponsors include cities, counties, towns, conservation districts, flood and water control districts, or any federally-recognized Native American tribe or tribal organization.

Sponsors are responsible for the following:

  • providing land rights for the repairs;
  • securing the necessary permits;
  • providing the sponsor funding for repairs;
  • ensuring the repairs are installed; and
  • completing the repairs using federal or local contracts.

EWP Program Funding

Congress approves all EWP Program funding.

NRCS can pay up to 75 percent of the cost for eligible emergency projects. Local sponsors must acquire the remaining 25 percent in cash or in-kind services.

EWPP Assistance Through Floodplain Easements

NRCS also provides financial and technical assistance under EWPP – Floodplain Easements:  

NRCS may purchase EWPP floodplain easements instead of trying to recover damaged floodplain land. Permanent EWPP-Floodplain easements can be used if they prove more cost effective than recovery. Landowners interested in enrolling their land in a permanent EWPP – floodplain easement should contact their local USDA Service Center.

Please visit (EWPP-Floodplain easements) for more information about this EWPP option.

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

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.