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Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO)  

This program provides for cooperation between the Federal government, the states, and their political subdivisions to work together to prevent erosion; floodwater and sediment damage; to further the conservation development, use and disposal of water; and to further the conservation and proper use of land in authorized watersheds. The WFPO Program helps units of federal, state, local and tribal of government (project sponsors) protect and restore watersheds up to 250,000 acres. 

Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has assisted public sponsors with construction of nearly 900 dams for the primary purposes of flood reduction and grade stabilization. Nebraska has had over 60 approved WFPO plans providing over $80 million in average annual benefits.  

Local Watershed Solutions 

USDA’s NRCS offers financial and technical assistance through this program for the following purposes: 

  • Flood Prevention (Flood Damage Reduction)
  • Watershed Protection
  • Public Recreation
  • Public Fish and Wildlife
  • Agricultural Water Management
  • Municipal and Industrial Water Supply
  • Water Quality Management
  • Watershed Structure Rehabilitation  

Project sponsors access program assistance through the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations component of this program. Project sponsors can use land treatment solutions or structural solutions, which require construction. An approved watershed plan must be in place prior to initiation of any corrective land treatment or structural solutions. 

Sponsoring Local Organization (SLO) Responsibilities 

  • Assist in the locally led planning effort.  

  • Obtain needed land rights including the use of power of eminent domain, if necessary.  

  • Provide local cost-share funds and/or in-kind services to provide the required portion of total project costs.

  • Provide funds for continuing operation and maintenance actions. 

  • Obtain required permits and approvals at sponsor cost 

  • Provide leadership to help ensure adequate conservation land treatment measures are maintained on at least 50% of the watershed area above retention reservoirs. 

  • Before being credited with the value of any in-kind contribution for any in-kind services and/or acquisition of land rights, sponsor will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NRCS.  

If you think you may be interested in exploring the WFPO program for assistance, then review the documents listed below for requirements to be in the program: 

If it sounds like the WFPO program may be a good fit, then review the following document and associated attachments to learn how the process gets started: 

Sponsors interested in WFPO Program assistance should submit a letter of request containing the following information: 

Once the watershed plan is approved, the project sponsor helps landowners install planned land treatment measures if that is the appropriate solution. For structural solutions, project sponsors ensure required surveys and investigations are completed. They also acquire detailed designs, specifications and engineering cost estimates for construction projects. If needed, project sponsors will outline areas where land rights, easements, and right-of-ways are needed. 

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Current WFPO Projects in Nebraska 

As of July 2021, Nebraska had approximately 30 active WFPO projects of various stages across the state. 

Additional Resources 

Contact Information 

To learn more about NRCS’s Watershed Program, please contact: 

Nebraska NRCS Watershed Program Manager: Allen Gehring, 402-437-4037, Allen.gehring@usda.gov 

Nebraska Watershed Planning Coordinator: Richard Vaughn, 402-437-4127, Richard.vaughn@usda.gov