US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last week that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest an additional $84 million through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) to help disaster recovery efforts through more than 150 projects in 13 states.
Those projects include flood prevention and ground stabilization work in Florida and the restoration of stream corridors and flood prevention in Colorado. Other projects include clearing debris-clogged waterways, stabilizing stream banks, fixing jeopardized water control structures and stabilizing soils after wildfires. There are also projects in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Vermont.
“This program helps communities carry out much needed recovery projects to address the damage to watersheds that is caused by floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters,” Vilsack said. “USDA is committed to helping repair and rebuild the rural communities that anchor rural America and are a key part of our nation’s economy.”
Emergency Watershed Protection Program
Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) provides critical resources to local sponsors to help communities eliminate imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind-storms and other natural occurrences. EWP is an emergency recovery program.
Ground Stabilization, Florida
In 2014 a storm unleashed more than 20 inches of rain in one day in Florida, causing severe erosion that threatened the safety of homes and roads. Eighteen sites in Escambia, Okaloosa, Calhoun and Jackson counties have been approved for $5.9 million to help the counties recover from the damages and remove the threat to homes and roads. This work will include removal of debris and installation of structures that will stabilize the land and prevent future erosion.
Stream Clearing and Flood Prevention, Colorado
The Colorado floods of 2013 caused $3 billion in damages in 18 counties in Colorado. NRCS is investing $56.9 million in the second phase of a project to help restore stream corridors, remove debris and prevent future flooding. Work will target about 500 sites in the area. These projects bring together state agencies, 20 local governments, watershed planning coalitions and other groups. This second phase of work builds on a $12.9 million investment in 2013.
For more information on NRCS programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted