Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

EWP Recovery site after tornado in Henryville, Indiana

Emergency Watershed Protection - Indiana


EWP helps local communities recover after a natural disaster strikes. The 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.

The EWP Program Helps Communities and Landowners

The EWP Program allows communities to quickly protect infrastructure and land from additional flooding and soil erosion. 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.

All funded EWP projects must demonstrate they:

  • provide protection from flooding or soil erosion;
  • reduce threats to life and property;
  • restore the hydraulic capacity to the natural environment to the maximum extent practical; and
  • are economically and environmentally defensible and technically sound.

EWP Program Projects

NRCS offers financial and technical assistance for various activities under 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 floodplain easements

EWP - Recovery Program

The EWP Recovery Program is a recovery effort program aimed at relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences.

Tornado destruction on a stream in Henryville, Indiana

Tornado destruction on stream in Henryville, Indiana (2012)

Completed EWP site after tornado in Henryville, Indiana

Completed EWP site on stream in Henryville, Indiana (2012) 


Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor that must be a legal subdivision of the State of Indiana, such as a city, county, township or conservation district, and Native American Tribes or Tribal governments.

Practice Measures

EWP work is not limited to any one set of measures. It is designed for installation of recovery measures to safeguard lives and property as a result of a natural disaster. NRCS completes a Damage Survey Report (DSR) which provides a case-by-case investigation of the work necessary to repair or protect a site.

How to apply

If your land has suffered severe damage that may qualify for the EWP Program, you should contact your local sponsoring authorities and request assistance.

EWP - Floodplain Easements

The Floodplain Easement option offers an alternative method to traditional EWP Program Recovery. NRCS recommends this option to landowners and others where acquiring an easement is the best approach (more economical and prudent) to reduce threat to life and/or property.  A major goal of EWP–FPE is to restore the land, to the maximum extent possible, to its natural condition. Restoration techniques include the use of structural and non-structural practices to restore the flow and storage of floodwaters, control erosion, and to improve management of the easement.

Flooded street with parked cars

Reason for Floodplain Easement

NRCS may purchase EWP-FPE permanent easements in floodplains for the following reasons:

  1. The land has been damaged by flooding at least once during the previous calendar year or subject to flood damage at least twice within the previous 10 years.
  2. Other lands within the floodplain may be eligible if they contribute to the restoration of floodwater storage and flow, offer a way to control erosion, or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement.
  3. Lands that would be inundated or adversely impacted as a result of a dam breach.

Community Benefits

Floodplain easements restore, protect, maintain and enhance the functions of floodplains while conserving their natural values such as serving as fish and wildlife habitat, improving water quality, retaining flood water, and recharging groundwater.

Structures, including buildings, within the floodplain easement must be demolished and removed, or relocated outside the affected floodplain area.

Eligible Lands

A permanent easement is the only enrollment option under EWP-FPE and are available on the following types of land:

  1. Agricultural or open lands. NRCS may provide funding for the entire cost of the easement value and up to 100 percent of the cost to restore the easement.
  2. Lands primarily used for residential housing. In these cases, NRCS will pay up to the entire easement value and up to the entire cost of the structure's value if the landowner chooses to have it demolished.  If the landowner prefers to relocate the residence instead of demolishing it, NRCS will pay all costs associated with relocating the residence to a location outside the floodplain.  

Additional Information

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.