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Landscape Planning

Watershed Programs

OVERVIEW

Watersheds impact every community; every town, city, and farm. All watersheds are interconnected, creating a land-water system that conveys water to its final destination—a larger stream, an inland lake, a wetland, an estuary, or ocean.

NRCS Watershed Programs provides technical and financial assistance to local government agencies, tribal organizations and other eligible sponsors, to help communities implement conservation practices that address watershed resource concerns. Each program, has a specific area-of-focus as defined below.

Since its enactment in 1948, NRCS Watershed Programs has designed and built 11,850 dams, constructed water storage structures, designed flood management systems, stabilized stream banks, relocated properties, redirected stream flows (when necessary), re-established wildlife habitat, and more, to save lives and protect our watersheds.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed in November 2021 by President Biden, provided $918 million for NRCS watershed programs. On March 3, 2022, NRCS announced its plans to invest more than $166.5 million in 108 projects in 23 states. On April 21, 2022, an additional $420 million was also invested to fund over 132 watershed protection projects in 31 states. View the funded projects. NRCS will continue to review and fund requests as funds are available. For more information on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, please visit the USDA website.

NRCS encourages local sponsors to submit requests through their local program managers. Find contact information and additional resources.

Watershed Programs

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) Program provides technical and financial assistance to entities of State and local governments and Tribes (project sponsors) for planning and installing watershed projects.

Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) offers financial and technical assistance to rehabilitate dams constructed through NRCS Watershed Programs.  This program extends the service life of dams to meet applicable safety and performance standards or decommission the dams so they longer pose a threat to life and property.

Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program safeguards lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.