More Federal Disaster Assistance Available

Funding from watershed program released to help with natural disasters.

USDA announced Friday that natural disaster recovery funding targeted at conservation lands and watersheds affected by recent flooding as well as previous natural disasters such as fires and drought is being made available through the Emergency Watershed Protection program.

"The EWP is designed to restore landscapes to their pre-event condition," says Doug McKalip of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "So we want to put the land looking like it did before the flood or the fire occurred and get it back in its natural ecosystem function."

The $390 million is available through a Congressional emergency supplemental budget allocation to cover damages from recent flooding and a backlog of previously submitted cases.

"USDA employees work shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors at the outset of these emergencies, and remain involved as a member of these communities," said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer. "I'm proud that we follow up with emergency support to recover an area's damaged watersheds and remove hazards to life and property."

McKalip says EWP doesn't require a federal disaster declaration and eligible landowners should visit their local NRCS office to apply for the program funds.

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