The Emergency Watershed Protection-Floodplain Easement Program goal is to reduce the recurring cost of flood damage in areas prone to flooding while restoring or protecting fish and wildlife habitat, especially wetland habitat, and the species that use these habitats such as migratory waterfowl and songbirds. The program will accomplish this goal by acquiring perpetual easements from interested landowners and, where necessary, restoring the hydrology and vegetation of the floodplain.
The Emergency Watershed Protection-Floodplain Easement Program provides environmental benefits such as fish and wildlife habitat restoration, protection of wetland functions and values, and water quality restoration through the abatement of soil erosion. Economic and social benefits are accrued through flood damage reduction, the protection of life and property, and recreational benefits.
The EWP Program’s floodplain easement component allows USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) to purchase easements on lands damaged by flooding. The restored floodplain will generate many public benefits, such as increased flood protection, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and a reduced need for future public disaster assistance. Other benefits include reduced energy consumption when certain agricultural activities and practices are eliminated and increased carbon sequestration as permanent vegetative cover is re-established.