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USDA Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) - Deadline Extended to Oct 12th!

Email flood recovery or FEMA PA program questions to:


What You Need to Know Now:

  • Municipalities have two options to access this program:
    • Apply directly to NRCS. NRCS has extended the Request for Assistance deadline to October 12, 2023.

    • Submit proposed projects to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). ANR submitted a Request for Assistance Letter to NRCS offering to sponsor or co-sponsor any Vermont project. Choosing to submit through ANR may reduce administrative burden for municipalities. Also, projects submitted through ANR can be submitted after October 12, 2023.
  • ​​​​​​​Property is defined by the USDA's Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) as any artificial structure permanently affixed to the land such as, but not limited to, houses, buildings, roads, utilities, structures, dams.
    • Land alone is not considered property under the EWP program.

    • EWP cannot repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed property.

    • There must exist an imminent threat to the property to be eligible for EWP assistance.

  • Imminent threat means the property will be damaged or destroyed if there is another storm/flood event.

  • Sponsors include legal subdivisions of the State, such as a city, county, general improvement district, conservation district, or any Native American tribe or tribal organization.

  • EWP can assist if you have residents who fear that their home or driveway is in imminent threat of damage or destruction, or if severe erosion or debris is jeopardizing public infrastructure.

  • Projects must have a "Sponsor." In Vermont, this has historically been a municipality.

  • Sponsors must submit a formal request for assistance letter within 60 days of the disaster occurrence, or 60 days from the date when access to the sites becomes available. NEW: Municipalities have additional time to submit projects! NRCS has extended the Request for Assistance deadline to 10/12/23. Municipalities also may submit a project under the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' request for assistance. Projects submitted after 10/12/23 must submit through VANR.

  • Work cannot start until an EWP grant agreement has been executed between NCRS and a Sponsor. Otherwise the work will be ineligible for funding.  
The Request for Assistance Letter:
Webinar (prerecorded):


For more information about EWP, contact:
      Michel Lapointe
      Vermont EWP Program Manager
      Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS)
To submit a project under the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Request for Assistance, contact:
      John Schmeltzer
      Deputy Commissioner
      Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters. It is not necessary for a national emergency to be declared for an area to be eligible for assistance.

The EWP Program is a recovery effort aimed at relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural disasters. All projects must have a project sponsor.

NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the eligible construction cost of emergency measures (90 percent within limited-resource areas as identified by the U.S. Census data). The remaining costs must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services.

Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance, but must be represented by a project sponsor. Sponsors include legal subdivisions of the State, such as a city, county, general improvement district, conservation district, or any Native American tribe or tribal organization.

EWP is designed for installation of recovery measures to safeguard life and property as a result of a natural disaster. Threats that the EWP Program addresses are termed watershed impairments. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Debris-clogged waterways

  • Unstable streambanks
  • Severe erosion jeopardizing public infrastructure
  • Wind-borne debris removal
  • Damaged upland sites stripped of protective vegetation by fire or drought

The program can include purchasing floodplain easements. These easements restore, protect, maintain, and enhance the functions and values of the floodplain, including associated wetlands and riparian areas. They also conserve natural values including fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention and ground water recharge, as well as safeguard lives and property from floods, and the results of erosion.

EWP work is not limited to any one set of prescribed measures. NRCS completes a Damage Survey Report which provides a site-by-site investigation of the work and measures necessary to protect life and property from additional flooding and soil erosion. NRCS will only provide funding for work that is necessary to reduce applicable threats. Should sponsors want to increase the level of protection, the sponsor will be responsible for paying 100 percent of the costs of the upgrade and additional work.

Publication Date

Disclaimer: This resource is only intended to provide information and it does NOT constitute legal advice. Readers with specific legal questions are encouraged to contact an attorney. The use or downloading of this resource does NOT create an attorney-client relationship and will not be treated in a confidential manner. 

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