Skip Navigation

News Release

NRCS Repairs Streambank from Flooding Damage in Brown and Doniphan Counties

When a severe thunderstorm hit Brown and Doniphan counties in northeast Kansas last September, over 12 inches of rain fell, causing substantial flooding and road closures for several days. Near Robinson, Kansas, the Wolf River swelled from its banks damaging streambanks and roads creating a threat to life. 

It was at that point the two counties turned to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to request financial assistance through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program.  

Following the storm, NRCS staff toured the impacted areas conducting a damage survey of both counties.  “It took several days for it (water) to completely subside and return to normal  levels.  Severe damage occurred to the river banks and several roads in this area,” stated Roger Masenthin, EWP Program manager.  The Brown county site was one of two sites considered to be an exigency (situations that demand an immediate action to avoid potential loss of life or property). 

The EWP program is designed to reduce threats to life and property in the wake of natural disasters. It provides technical and financial assistance completing necessary recovery measures including re-establishing vegetative cover;  installing stream bank protection devices; removing debris and sediment; and stabilizing levees, channels and gullies.

EWP recovery assistance is made available to eligible projects through project sponsors, which are any legal subdivision of a state government or a state agency including: cities, counties, towns, county conservation and watershed districts.

Through EWP, NRCS provides up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency recovery measures.  The Brown County Commissioners covered the additional 25 percent with the help of the Brown County Conservation District who assisted with administrative aspects of the project.

Work consisted of shaping and grading over 230 feet of streambank, removing over 2,500 cubic yards of sediment, installing over 3,000 tons of riprap, 4,900 square yards of geotextile, and stabilizing the ½ acre construction site.  The final project cost was $245,000.

Photos of Brown County streambank damage and completed streambank stabilization project.

Streambank damage in Brown County Streambank damage in Brown County
Streambank damage in Brown County EWP streambank repair

In neighboring Doniphan County, authorities were forced to close a 10- to 15-foot section of road on old  Highway 7 after a landslide caused a threat to the road and travelers in the area.  According to Andy Broxterman, NRCS Engineer, heavy rains and saturated soils caused watershed damage, threatening to take the road with it.  Barricades were placed to prevent motorists from accessing the road.

For this exigency site, the damaged area was armored with rock rip rap to prevent further erosion from occurring.  The final project cost was $28,000. 

“I would encourage those interested in the EWP Program to contact their local NRCS office and visit with staff about determining eligibility and applying for the program in the event of a natural disaster that creates a sudden impairment to the watershed resulting in a threat to life or property,” Masenthin said.

Photos of Doniphan County streambank damage threatening highway and streambank stabilization work.

Streambank damage in Doniphan county that endangered highway Streambank damage in Doniphan county that endangered highway
Streambank damage in Doniphan county that endangered highway Streambank repair work in Doniphan County
Streambank repair work in Doniphan County Streambank repair work in Doniphan County

For more information visit the Kansas NRCS Web site www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center.  To find a service center near you, check on the Internet at offices.usda.gov.  Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas.

Brochure - Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program (PDF; 3 MB)