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Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP). Helping People Help the Land. Program Authority. Public Law 81–516, Section 216 , 33 U.S.C. 701b, as amended:.

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Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP)

Helping People Help the Land

program authority
Program Authority

Public Law 81–516, Section 216, 33 U.S.C. 701b, as amended:

“The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of floodplain easements, for runoff retardation and soil-erosion prevention, in cooperation with landowners and land users, as the Secretary deems necessary to safeguard 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.”

7 CFR 624 EWP Final Rule, published April 4, 2005

ewp is a recovery program
EWP is a Recovery Program
  • Relieve hazards to life and property resulting from a natural disaster.
  • NRCS funds 75 percent of cost
    • Congressional appropriation
  • Local sponsor funds 25 percent
    • Cash
    • In-kind services
EWP . . .
  • Is not for flood fighting/rescue
  • Does not restore lost values
  • Cannot restore to a “better” condition
  • Has “two in ten” limitation on same site
  • Cannot be used on federal lands
ewp applies when
EWP Applies When:
  • Natural disaster creates a “watershed; impairment” that threatens life and property
  • State/local government sponsor; and
  • Recovery measures are defensible
    • Technically and economically
    • Environmentally and socially
disaster declarations
Disaster Declarations
  • EWP is activated with a:
  • Presidential declaration
  • State Conservationist declaration
  • Secretary drought declaration
disaster declarations1
Disaster Declarations

State Conservationist declared disasters:

  • Uses logical and defensible criteria
  • Does not classify every rainstorm as an event
natural watershed impairments
“Natural Watershed Impairments”
  • Floods
  • Wildland Fires
  • Tornadoes
  • Landslides
  • Drought
  • Ice/Snow Storms
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic Activity
  • Hurricanes/Typhoons

Eligible Sponsors are:

  • State government agencies
  • Local units of government
  • Other government entities
  • Indian tribes and tribal organizations

A “sponsor” must be able to:

  • Provide the local share of costs
  • Carryout operation and maintenance
  • Obtain land rights
  • Acquire permits
eligible measures
Eligible Measures
  • Debris Removal
  • Bank Stabilization
  • Levee Repair
  • Erosion and Sediment Control
  • Structure Removal
  • Floodplain Easement
ineligible measures
Ineligible Measures
  • Restore lost values
    • Ag land productivity
    • Reforestation
  • Replace infrastructure
  • Public or private roads
  • Flood fighting/rescue
  • Fix pre-existing problems
ewp time frame
EWP Time Frame
  • Electronic disaster report within five days
  • Sponsors requests help within 60 days
  • Damage Survey Report (DSR) within 60 days of request
  • Project complete within 220 days of funding (10 days for exigency)
pre disaster planning
Pre-Disaster Planning

Intra-agency coordination

  • Who do I call and when?
  • Who does what?
    • Program Manager, Contracting Officer
    • Area EWP Coordinator, Project Manager
    • Technical Specialists
      • Eng, Soils, Plants, Bio, CR, GIS, PAS, HR, FNM,
  • Where do I find them?
    • Program Manager, Contracting Officer
    • Area EWP Coordinator, Project Manager
pre disaster planning1
Pre-Disaster Planning

Inter-agency coordination

  • Who are potential sponsors?
    • Local units of government, conservation districts, etc.
  • Who are our partners?
    • City and county resources, watershed associations, etc.
    • CD, FSA, CSFS, CDOW, CDOA, etc.
pre disaster planning2
Pre-Disaster Planning

Inter-agency coordination (cont’d)

  • How do we handle Permit/NEPA issues?
  • How do we get the word out about EWP?
    • Local media, government and NGO, etc.
    • Under represented groups
    • Limited resource individuals
Event Occurs

Initial Assessment

  • Local Agencies
  • Potential Sponsors
  • Other responders

Initial Contacts

EWP Manager

Response Team Mobilized

Sponsor Request Within 60 days


Response Team Evaluation

The EWP Process

Prepare DSR within 60 days of request



NRCS Requests Funds


The EWP Process

Sponsor Willing & Able

Technically Sound Solution


Economically Defensible

Environmentally & Socially Defensible


EWP Go / No Go Criteria

Congress Provides Funds

Sponsor obtains permits, land rights, and funds

Develop Project Agreement

Complete in 220 days

Develop Plans and Specifications



Final Report

The EWP Process