Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The objective of the EWP Program is to assist sponsors, landowners, and operators in implementing emergency recovery measures for runoff retardation and erosion prevention to relieve imminent hazards to life and property created by a natural disaster that causes a sudden impairment of a watershed.

Examples of Funded Projects

NRCS made a major effort to accelerate the work during fiscal year 2006.

The objective for NRCS and our local, State and federal partners is to finish all dead tree removal work in the priority areas by the end of calendar year 2007.

This has been communicated to all our partners and plans are being put into place to accomplish this goal.

Alabama: Hurricane Recovery Efforts -- Alabama has been very aggressively responding to municipalities and local units of government to assist with repair of damages caused by recent hurricanes, Dennis and Katrina.

For traditional Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) efforts, Alabama received and approved requests from 34 sponsors for $18,893,975 to address damages at 205 sites.

The potential fire hazards resulting from downed timber from hurricane damage needed to be addressed.

For removal of downed timber resulting from hurricane damage from Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina, Alabama recently obligated $14.6 million dollars to implement emergency measures to relieve imminent hazards to life and property.

Alabama received requests from 1,050 landowners to address damages on 295,114 acres.

Priority was given in areas with a high risk for wildfire and associated smoke concerns near transportation corridors and fire concerns near urban interface areas.

Five counties designated as limited resource areas were assisted with the Program.

In addition, the Poarch Band of Creek Indian Reservation has EWP contracts totaling $779,000 to repair 16 hurricane-damaged sites.

This is the first time the tribe has participated in the EWP Program.

Florida: Hurricane Recovery Efforts -- Hurricane Charley - City of Punta Gorda: On October 24, 2005 Hurricane Wilma hit Broward County.

With over 2,000 miles of canals and waterways in Broward County, most were damaged from debris and erosion.

NRCS provided financial and technical assistance to 31 local units of government to remove debris from waterways and repair erosion damage to streambanks.

Several sites are completed with the remainder of the work in progress.Massachusetts: Whittenton Pond Dam, Taunton -- NRCS used EWP funding to alleviate the threat to public safety and property through a controlled draw-down of water due to the high risk of dam failure due to flooding The wooden portion of the dam was removed ass part of the draw-down and rock was used to stabilize the site to stop further erosion.

Without immediate action by NRCS the dam could have failed flooding business and residences in Taunton.

Massachusetts: Millpond Dam, Rockport -- A dam in Rockport partially collapsed after heavy rain and was in jeopardy of failing.

NRCS immediately responded and place rock to stabilize the dam until sponsors could inspect and determine the best course of action to rebuild or remove the dam.

Without NRCS action the dam could have failed damaging water and sewer lines immediately downstream along with other businesses and residences.

Since the dam is in close proximity of Rockport Harbor rupture of the sewer line could have caused serious contamination.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - For the list of NRCS state offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see the web site: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/.


Program Accomplishments

For FY 2006: Disaster Events Funded, 87; Disaster Events Unfunded, 25; Completed Projects, 47; Costs: Technical Assistance, $8,109,137; Financial Assistance, $44,904,270; Local Contribution, $9,967,235; Floodplain Easements, 0; Total Costs, $62,980,642; Benefits: Outcomes: Public Buildings Protected, 259; Private Buildings Protected, 6,342; Road Protected, 487 miles Utilities Protected, 369; Value of Property Protected, $709,495,022; Outputs: Debris Removed, 1,241,135 feet; Streambank Stabilized 58,469 feet; Land Protected, 84,981 acres; Easements Purchased, 0 acres; People Benefited: Elderly 27,863; Minority, 274,043; Other, 518,018; Total, 819,924; 8(a)Contracts 99; Value of 8(a) Contracts, $10,512,629; Total Benefits: Economic, $267,379,988; Cost/Benefit Ratio, 1.0:4.2.

Uses and Use Restrictions

All EWP work must reduce threats to life and property and must be economically, environmentally, and socially defensible and sound from a technical standpoint.

NRCS may bear up to 75 percent (90 percent within limited resource areas as identified by the U. S. Census data) of the construction cost of emergency measures.

The remaining 25 percent (10 percent within limited resource areas) must come from local sources as cash or in-kind services.

EWP funds have restrictions.

EWP cannot solve problems that existed before the disaster or to improve the level of protection above that which existed before a disaster.

It cannot fund operation and maintenance work or repair private or public transportation facilities or utilities.

The work cannot adversely affect downstream water rights and funds cannot be used to install measures not essential to the reduction of hazards.

In addition, funds cannot be used to perform work on measures installed by another federal agency.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance but must be represented by a project sponsor.

Project sponsor means a State government or a State agency or a legal subdivision thereof, local unit of government, or any Native American tribe or tribal organization as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C.

450b), with a legal interest in or responsibility for the values threatened by a watershed emergency; is capable of obtaining necessary land rights; and is capable of carrying out any operation and maintenance responsibilities that may be required.

Sponsors are also responsible for furnishing the local cost share and for accomplishing the installation of work.

Work can be done either through Federal or local contracts.

Emergency watershed protection is authorized in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S.

Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance but must be represented by a project sponsor. Project sponsor means a State government or a State agency or a legal subdivision thereof, local unit of government, or any Native American tribe or tribal organization as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 450b), with a legal interest in or responsibility for the values threatened by a watershed emergency; is capable of obtaining necessary land rights; and is capable of carrying out any operation and maintenance responsibilities that may be required. Sponsors are also responsible for furnishing the local cost share and for accomplishing the installation of work. Work can be done either through Federal or local contracts. Emergency watershed protection is authorized in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Credentials/Documentation

Sponsors must submit a formal request to the State Conservationist for assistance within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence, or 60 days from the date when access to the sites becomes available. Requests must include a statement that the sponsors understand their responsibilities and are willing to pay its cost-shared percentage as well as information pertaining to the natural disaster, including the nature, location, and scope of the problems and the assistance needed.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Each NRCS state office has developed and maintains an EWP Program Emergency Recovery Plan that contains procedures for implementation of emergency recovery measures should a disaster occur.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

Potential sponsors submit formal requests for assistance to the NRCS state conservationist.

Award Procedures

Project sponsors seeking EWP assistance must apply to the STC in writing within 60 days of the natural disaster occurrence, or 60 days from the date when access to the sites becomes available. Project sponsors may use SF 424 Application for Federal Assistance but must ensure that following information is provided: (1) A description of the problems encountered; (2) Assistance needed, including the following: Nature of the problem; Location; Scope of the problem; Commitment by the sponsor to assume the following responsibilities: local cost-share; Land rights; acquisition; Permits; Operations and Maintenance (O and M), if required; A statement indicating that funds have either been exhausted or are insufficient to provide adequate recovery measures from the applicable hazards; A statement identifying any other State or Federal funding received or application submitted. On receipt of a formal request for EWP assistance, the State Conservationist or designee shall immediately investigate the emergency situation to determine whether EWP is applicable and to prepare an initial cost estimation for submission to the NRCS Chief or designee. The cost estimation will be submitted no later than 60 days from receipt of the formal request from the sponsor. NRCS may not commit funds until notified by the Chief, or designee, of the availability of funds. Before the release of financial assistance, NRCS will enter into a Cooperative Agreement with a sponsor that specifies the responsibilities of the sponsor under this part, including any required operation and maintenance responsibilities. NRCS will not provide funding for activities undertaken by a sponsor prior to the signing of the agreement between NRCS and the sponsor.

Deadlines

Potential sponsors have 60 days from the natural disaster occurrence, or 60 days from the date when access to the sites becomes available. The cost estimation will be submitted no later than 60 days from receipt of the formal request from the sponsor. NRCS may not commit funds until notified by the Chief, or designee, of the availability of funds. Projects must be completed within 220 days from the date funding is provided. For exigency situations project must be completed within 10 days from the date funding is provided.

Authorization

Section 216 of the Flood Control Act of 1950, Public Law 81-516, 33 U.S.C. 701b-1; and Section 403 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978, Public Law 95-334, as amended by Section 382, of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, Public Law 104-127, 16 U.S.C. 2203.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Timeline is dependent upon when funding is appropriated. The EWP program is not a line-item funded program and is reliant upon emergency supplemental appropriations.

Appeals

Only NRCS decisions relating to eligibility for the EWP Program can be appealed. These decisions may be appealed in accordance with 7 CFR Part 614 and 7 CFR 11, as applicable.

Renewals

Not applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

NRCS may bear up to 75 percent (90 percent within limited resource areas as identified by the US Census data) of the construction cost of emergency measures. The remaining 25 percent (10 percent within limited resource areas) must come from local sources as cash or in-kind services.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Continues until all EWP Program recovery measures are installed or their installation is terminated by mutual agreement.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Final reports are prepared for each project once completed.

A benefit and accomplishment report is prepared for the fiscal year based upon final reports.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," which implement OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and NonProfit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.

Records

Records of operation are maintained for the life of the project.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1072-0-1-301.

Obigations

Grants: FY 07 $172,697,406; FY 08 est $112,310,000; and FY 09 est not reported. Salaries and Expenses: FY 07 $40,445,602; FY 08 est $38,482,000; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Disaster Events Funded: FY 06 range $22,211 to $6,047,723, average $955,410.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 624; National Emergency Watershed Protection Program Manual.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

For the list of NRCS state offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see the web site: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/.

Headquarters Office

Conservation Planning and Technical Assistance Division, Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. Victor Cole, National Emergency Watershed Protection Program Manager, Telephone: (202) 690-0793.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

EWP projects are eligible when they provide runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention, safeguard lives and property, and relieve an imminent threat that is a result of a sudden impairment in a watershed due to a natural disaster.



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