Emergency Watershed Protection Program - Disaster Relief Appropriations Act

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.

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 - See Regional Agency Offices.

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

Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

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.

EWP funds from this appropriation can only be spent on damage recovery projects from Hurricane Sandy, with a Stafford Act Designation.

(This means that a certain geographical area was declared a major disaster as a result of a Presidential Declaration).

100% discretionary - emergency supplemental funds.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

For this appropriation, only applicants affected by Hurricane Sandy and only in those areas declared as a major disaster are eligible for assistance through the EWP program.

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 permits; 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.

Beneficiary Eligibility



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. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is required.

An environmental impact statement is required for this program.

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. 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. 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), 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.


Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.


Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, Public Law 113-2, 4 Stat. 127.

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.


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.


Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: Percent: 75%. 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. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Continues until all EWP Program recovery measures are installed or their installation is terminated by mutual agreement. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Submission of Form 270 for Payment.

Post Assistance Requirements


No program reports are required.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Progress reports are due every 60 days on projects of 220 days duration.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Final reports are prepared for each project within 90 days of completion.

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

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Performance monitoring is required and conducted by COTR or GR.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


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

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Salaries) FY 16 $283,000; FY 17 est $2,346,000; and FY 18 est $0. (Project Grants (Cooperative Agreements or Contracts)) FY 16 $0; FY 17 est $8,454,000; and FY 18 est $0

Range and Average of Financial Assistance


Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

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

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

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

Headquarters Office

Kevin Farmer USDA, NRCS Conservation Engineering Division 14th and Independence Ave., SW. P.O. Box 2890, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: kevin.farmer@wdc.usda.gov Phone: 202-720-3413

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

EWP projects are eligible when it is determined that the current condition of the land or watershed impairment poses a threat to life, health and property. Assistance includes EWP practices that provide runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention, safeguard lives and property, and relieve an imminent threat that is a result of a sudden impairment of a watershed due to a natural disaster.

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