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Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program

Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program (PL 83-566) provides both technical and financial (project implementation) assistance to help urban and rural communities protect, improve, and develop water and land resources in watersheds of up to 250,000 acres (approximately 390 square miles).

Utah Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has assisted public sponsors with construction of nearly 50 dams since the 1950s for the primary purposes of flood reduction, grade stabilization and agricultural water management. Numerous projects are currently underway and in various phases of planning, design and construction. 

Local Watershed Solutions

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

  • Flood Prevention (Flood Damage and Risk Reduction)
  • Watershed Protection (Erosion/Sediment Control)
  • Public Recreation
  • Fish and Wildlife Habitat Enhancements
  • Agricultural Water Management
  • Municipal and Industrial Water Supply
  • Improvements to Water Quality and Management
  • Watershed Structure Rehabilitation
  • Hydropower Sources

Learn more about the program by reading the PL-566 Fact Sheet.
PL 566 Fact Sheet






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:

Example SLO Letter of Request

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 rights-of-way are needed.

List of Current WFPO Projects in Utah

Watershed Project Timeline




Additional Information

Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Utah Contacts

Derek Hamilton
Utah Water Resources Coordinator
(801) 524-4566

or     Norm Evenstad
Watershed Operations Program Manager
(801) 524-4569