The Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program (Watershed Operations) includes the Flood Prevention Operations Program authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-534) and the provisions of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954 (P.L. 83-566). The Flood Control Act originally authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to install watershed improvement measures in 11 watersheds, also known as pilot watersheds, to reduce flood, sedimentation, and erosion damage; improve the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water; and advance the conservation and proper utilization of land. The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act provides for cooperation between the Federal government and the States and their political subdivisions in a program to prevent erosion, floodwater, and sediment damage; to further the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water; and to further the conservation and proper utilization of land in authorized watersheds.
The Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program provides technical and financial assistance to States, local governments and Tribes (project sponsors) to plan and implement authorized watershed project plans for the purpose of:
water quality improvements
soil erosion reduction
rural, municipal and industrial water supply
fish and wildlife enhancement
Under the Watershed Program NRCS cooperates with States and local agencies to carry out works of improvement for soil conservation and for other purposes including flood prevention; conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water; and conservation and proper utilization of land.
Watersheds in Arkansas
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has assisted watershed sponsors in construction of nearly 207 floodwater retarding structures in 52 watershed projects across Arkansas. Of the 52 watersheds, NRCS has assisted watershed sponsors in installation of land treatment practices, channel improvements, and water control structures for watershed protection.
The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (PL-566) authorizes NRCS to help local organizations and units of government plan and implement watershed projects. PL-566 watershed projects are locally led to solve natural and human resource problems in watersheds up to 250,000 acres (less than 400 square miles).
PL-566 works through local government sponsors and helps participants solve natural resource and related economic problems on a watershed basis. Projects can include flood prevention and damage reduction, development of rural water supply sources, erosion and sediment control, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, wetland creation and restoration, and increased recreational opportunities.