The Emergency Watershed Protection program (EWP) helps communities repair environmental damage to streams, rivers and other natural resources, caused by natural disasters such as floods and fires. It is designed to relieve imminent hazards to life and property.
All EWP projects must be sponsored by a political subdivision of the State, such as a city, county, or Conservation District. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is responsible for administering the program. NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures. The remaining 25 percent must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services.
Section 382 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127, amended the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) to provide for the purchase of floodplain easements as an emergency measure. Since 1996, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has purchased floodplain easements on lands that qualify for EWPP assistance. Floodplain easements restore, protect, maintain, and enhance the functions of the floodplain; conserve natural values including fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention, ground water recharge, and open space; reduce long-term federal disaster assistance; and safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion.