Renee Bodine, NRCS
Public Affairs Florida
Irma Storm Damage? Federal Program Provides Help
GAINESVILLE, Fla., Sept. 28, 2017 — If your area suffers damage from a natural disaster, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can help. The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) relieves imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms and hurricanes. Aid may include financial and technical assistance to remove debris from streams, protect destabilized stream banks and establish cover on critically eroding lands and purchase flood plain easements.
The public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor, such as a city, county, conservation district or a Native American tribe or organization. NRCS provides technical assistance and pays up to 75 percent of the construction. Local sources contribute the remaining portion in the form of cash or in-kind services.
The process begins when the sponsor requests assistance from a local NRCS office. Staff visit the site and determine eligibility based on damage, property protected, environmental impacts and economic analysis, then request funding from the NRCS national office. If Congress appropriates funds, the sponsor enters into a cooperative agreement to complete the work.