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Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program

This program is authorized by the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, Public Law 83-566, August 4, 1954, (16 U.S.C. 1001-1008). The purpose of the Watershed Program is to assist federal, state, local agencies, local government sponsors, tribal governments, and program participants to protect and restore watersheds from damage caused by erosion, floodwater, and sediment, to conserve and develop water and land resources, and solve natural resource and related economic problems on a watershed basis. The program provides technical and financial assistance to local people or project sponsors, builds partnerships, and requires local and state funding contribution.

Resource concerns addressed by the program include watershed protection, flood prevention, erosion and sediment control, water supply, water quality, opportunities for water conservation, wetland and water storage capacity, agricultural drought problems, rural development, municipal and industrial water needs, upstream flood damages, water needs for fish, wildlife, and forest-based industries, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, wetland creation and restoration, and public recreation in watersheds of 250,000 or fewer acres. Both technical and financial assistance are available.

Types of surveys and plans include watershed plans, river basin surveys and studies, and flood plain management assistance. The focus of the studies and plans is to provide technical information to keep problems from occurring or to identify solutions that use management techniques and environmentally sound measures to solve resource problems.

Watershed Plans

The project sponsor for watershed projects in Connecticut is the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). They provide assistance in installing planned land treatment measures when plans are approved. Surveys and investigations are made and detailed designs, specifications, and engineering cost estimates are prepared for construction of structural measures. Areas where sponsors need to obtain land rights, easements, and rights-of-way are delineated. Technical assistance is also furnished to landowners and operators to accelerate planning and application of needed conservation measures on their individual land units. Connecticut is using the program to reduce flood damages. There are four projects being implemented and eight projects completed. 

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Watershed Surveys and Planning

Watershed planning studies require a letter from a municipality to DEP requesting a watershed study by NRCS. River Basin studies and Floodplain Management studies can be requested of NRCS directly, by a municipality, nongovernmental organization, partnership group, or the state. Part of the cost for most studies is paid by the requesting agency or organization.

Past technical studies and surveys have included:

  • Hydrology/hydraulic evaluations with town management options to reduce flood damages,
  • Wetland values assessments for use by town land use decision-makers,
  • In-stream large woody debris management plans for watershed groups,
  • Individual building flood assessments and individual flood warning response plans for homeowners and business owners (sponsored by municipality),
  • Collaboration with towns and natural resource Geographic Information System (GIS) data analysis to assist with community planning,
  • Erosion and sedimentation reduction plans that will improve water quality,
  • Technical inputs to watershed partnership initiatives resulting in locally implemented watershed action plans, and
  • Dam breach analyses and emergency operation plans for NRCS watershed program dams.

For Further Information:

Contact Arthur Ramthun, State Conservation Engineer, Tolland, Connecticut, at (860) 871-4030 or National Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention.