The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing up to $124.8 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE) funding to help prevent damages from significant storm events in Maryland and other states affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Land eligibility requires that flood damage was the result of Hurricane Sandy. Acceptable evidence includes insurance claims, newspaper or publication clippings, or any other documentation that links flood damage to Hurricane Sandy.
NRCS is accepting applications for EWP-FPE until September 2. All counties in Maryland, except for Carroll and Montgomery counties, were declared disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because of damages from Hurricane Sandy. Land in these counties would be eligible for funding consideration.
Floodplains store water, helping to protect lands downstream from future flood damage. When the health and integrity of the lands deteriorate, so do the environmental, economic, and social benefits they provide, according to the NRCS.
“To help states recover from Hurricane Sandy, NRCS is working with landowners to provide permanent protection for floodplains,” said NRCS Maryland acting state conservationist Deena Wheby. “Restoring these ecosystems ensures that our lands are resilient to future threats and impacts.”
Under this program, NRCS purchases the permanent easements on eligible lands and restores the area to natural conditions. A healthy floodplain enhances fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, flood water retention, and ground water recharge.
The program complements traditional disaster recovery funding and allows NRCS to purchase a permanent easement on lands within floodplains that sustained damage from Hurricane Sandy.
Funds are only available in counties affected by Hurricane Sandy and where a major disaster was declared pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Private lands and those owned by local and state governments are eligible if they are located in a floodplain, not subject to tidal influence or action from storm waves, and meet one of the following requirements:
•Damaged by flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy;
•Would contribute to the restoration of flood storage and flow, provide for control of erosion, or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement; or
•Could be inundated or adversely impacted as a result of a dam breach.