The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has received funding through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program for the removal of storm debris from stream channels and bridge structures caused by the tornadoes and flooding since April 15, 2011. The funding can also be used for streambank stabilization projects that protect infrastructure.

The EWP program is designed to reduce threats to life and property in the wake of natural disasters. It provides technical and cost sharing assistance. Assistance includes removing and establishing vegetative cover; gully control, installing stream bank protection devices; removing debris and sediment; and stabilizing levees, channels and gullies.

“The storm debris can cause flooding, stream bank erosion, impairment of the watershed, and an imminent threat to the bridge structures and adjacent homes,” said Mike Sullivan, Arkansas state conservationist. “We have people in every affected county assisting conservation districts and assessing where we can help.”

EWP recovery assistance is made available to project sponsors and individuals through project sponsors. Project sponsors are any legal subdivision of a state government or a state agency including: cities, counties, towns, and county conservation districts.

EWP provides a federal cost share rate of 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures and debris removal. The sponsor is responsible for the remaining 25 percent of the cost.

Applications for EWP assistance will be accepted at USDA Field Service Centers.

For more information, contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center, listed in phone directories under U.S. Government, or visit