NRCS provides assistance to Puerto Rico agencies, municipalities
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that financial and technical assistance is available to Puerto Rico’s municipalities and agencies for post-Fiona hurricane recovery and life/property protection through the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program.
The EWP Program allows communities to quickly address serious and long-lasting damages to infrastructure and to the land. EWP Program authorities offer NRCS the flexibility to act quickly to help local communities cope with adverse impacts resulting from natural disasters.
EWP requires a disaster declaration by federal or state officials for program assistance to begin. EWP also requires a qualified local sponsor (state government, municipality, or Conservation District) to identify impaired watershed sites to be evaluated for eligibility and funding under the program.
All funded projects must demonstrate that they reduce threats to life and property; that they are economically, environmentally, and socially sound; and they must be designed to acceptable NRCS engineering standards, where applicable. EWP funds may be used for the following activities:
- debris removal from stream channels, road culverts and bridges;
- reshape and protect eroded streambanks;
- correct damaged drainage facilities;
- establish vegetative cover on critically eroding lands; and
- repair levees and structures.
Local agencies or organizations seeking to sponsor EWP projects should submit a sponsor request letter to NRCS as soon as possible, the agency stated. The cut-off date for agencies/sponsors to nominate potential hurricane Fiona-damaged sites for EWP Program Recovery assistance is Oct. 31, 2022.
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