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Emergency Watershed Protection Program

EWP Coordinator Conducting DSR after fire









The Emergency Watershed Protection program provides support to help landowners in their recovery efforts after a natural disaster. EWP was established by Congress to respond to emergencies by relieving hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the EWP program and all projects undertaken, with the exception of the pur­chase of floodplain easements, MUST have a project sponsor.

NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures. The remaining 25 per­cent must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services. Funding is subject to Congressional approval.

Typical Values at Risk:

  • Life and Safety
  • Residential Properties
  • Commercial Properties
  • Transportation
  • Water Infrastructure
  • Utilities
  • Endangered Species
  • Cultural Resources


Although a declaration of a national disaster is necessary, not every disaster qualifies for EWP funding. EWP events are determined by a series of standards and specs beginning with damage survey reports. Examples of EWP events and NRCS assistance include: 

Fire with Text flood image with text


EWP Resources

Understanding Post Disaster Recovery Assistance Available thru EWP - Factsheet

EWP is designed for installation of recovery measures. Activities include providing financial and technical assistance to:

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

NRCS may purchase EWP easements "in lieu of recovery" on any floodplain lands that have been impaired within the last 12 months or that have a history of repeated flooding (i.e., flooded at least two times during the past 10 years).  If it is more cost effective, EWP-Floodplain Easement (FPE) can be used as an alternative to EWP. 


Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance but must be represented by a project sponsor. Sponsors include legal subdivisions of the State, such as a city, county, general improvement district, conservation district, or any Native American tribe or tribal organization as defined in section 4 of the Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

Sponsor's Obligations
Sponsors are responsible for:

  • providing land rights to do repair work
  • securing the necessary permits
  • furnishing the local cost share
  • accomplishing the installation of work
  • work can be done either through Federal or local contracts.



How Do I Get Assistance?

If you have suffered severe damage that may qualify for the EWP program, you should contact your local authorities and request assistance.

City and county governments, flood and water control districts, and soil and water conservation districts are the most common sponsors of EWP projects. Contact them directly to see if they are aware of the program or have contacted NRCS for help. More information is available from local NRCS Service Center.

Program Signup Information

Excerpt from Section 216, P.L. 81-516 - further clarification of the EWP Program.
Final Rule, 7 CFR Part 624 (April 2014) (PDF, 186 KB)