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Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP)

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The EWP Program provides assistance to project sponsors and individuals in implementing emergency recovery measures to relieve imminent hazards to life and property created by a natural disaster that causes a sudden impairment of a watershed.

Assistance is available only when public or private landowners, land managers, land users, or others document that they have exhausted or have insufficient funding or other resources available to provide adequate relief from applicable hazards.
(See 7 CFR 624.6(a) (2) (IV)).

Picture of completed EWP Project with gabion baskets

Technical and Financial Assistance

EWP technical and financial assistance may be made available, dependent upon funding, when a declaration of the following:

  • A federal emergency is declared by the President
  • A local or State emergency is declared by the State Conservationist*
  • In drought situations when the Secretary of Agriculture has declared a drought emergency

* This could be initiated as a result of a declaration by a governor of a State, followed by appropriate action taken by the State Conservationist followed by assistance from a qualified sponsor.

Request for Assistance

Project sponsors must apply for EWP assistance to the State Conservationist by written request.

The request must consist of the following:

  • A discussion of the problems encountered.
  • Assistance needed, including the following:
    • Nature of the problem
    • Location
    • Scope of the problem
  • Commitment by the sponsor to assume the following responsibilities:
    • Provide local cost-share
    • Land rights acquisition
    • Permits
    • Responsibility for O&M, if required
  • A statement indicating that funds have either been exhausted or are insufficient to provide adequate relief from the applicable hazards
  • Detailed information is not required at the time of the initial request

Project sponsors must submit a request for assistance within 60 days following the date of the natural occurrence that caused the watershed impairment, or after access to the site becomes available.

A completed sand cement bag riprap wall with rock riprap chutes. A nearly completed sand cement bag riprap wall.
A completed sand cement bag riprap wall with rock riprap chutes. A nearly completed sand cement bag riprap wall.

Eligible Entities

Legal subdivision of a State government or a State agency such as:

  • Cities
  • Counties or Parishes
  • Towns
  • Townships
  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts
  • Levee Districts
  • Drainage Districts
  • Any Native American tribe or tribal organization as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b),
  • Has a legal interest in or responsibility for the values threatened by a watershed emergency
  • Is capable of obtaining necessary land rights and required permits
  • Is capable of carrying out any operation and maintenance (O&M) responsibilities that may be required.

For More Information

The documents on this page requires Adobe Reader.

EWP Fact Sheet (PDF; 113 KB) New

Sample Letter for Requesting EWP Assistance (PDF; 81 KB) New Oct. 2020

Damage Survey Report (DSR) (PDF; 368 KB)

NRCS Electronic Disaster Report (PDF; 482 KB)

NRCS-ADS-78 - Assurances Relating to Real Property Acquisition (PDF; 14 KB)

EWP Emergency Recovery Plan (PDF; 2.60 MB)

Emergency Watershed Protection Program Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE)

Floodplain easements provide landowners with another option for frequently flooded properties such as agricultural fields, forested land, fallow land, pasture and in certain situations residential areas in cooperation with a qualified sponsor.

Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through NRCS.  EWP-FPE is administered in locations where a Presidential Disaster Declaration has been made or areas identified and funded through Congressional legislation.  For eligibility, the applicant must have documented evidence of flooding which occurred at least once within the previous calendar year or at least twice within the previous 10 years. Lands also inundated or damaged because of dam breach also qualify. Compensation is based on fair market value. 

A major goal of EWP–FPE is to restore the floodplain functions and values to the greatest extent practicable. Structures, including buildings, fences, pipes, etc., within the floodplain easement must be demolished and/or removed, or relocated outside the affected floodplain area. The costs of all restoration practices are also paid for through the program and the landowner can participate in the restoration efforts.


Michael Robison, Civil Engineer
Phone: 254-742-9901