TEMPLE, Texas — Natural disasters can occur at any time and dealing with the aftermath can be challenging. One option to mitigate this problem is participation in the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection Floodplain Easement Program (EWPP-FPE).
Through the Floodplain Easement Program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to USDA NRCS. Compensation is based on pre-disturbance fair market value. The landowner maintains the fee title, rights of enjoyment, right to control access, right to recreation use, rights to subsurface resources and rights to water uses. Once an easement is acquired, USDA NRCS restores the land as close to the natural environment as practicable.
Eligible lands, with proper documentation, include:
- Lands damaged by flooding during a specific natural disaster for which Congress allocates EWPP funding, or
- Lands damaged by flooding at least twice during the last 10 years or at least once during the last 12 months, or
- Other floodplain lands that would contribute to the floodplain restoration or improve the practical management of the easement, or
- Lands that would be inundated or adversely impacted as a result of a dam breach.
Land eligibility documentation must include site-specific evidence of damage by flooding or dam breach impacts to the offered area. Site-specific evidence should include photos, insurance claims, engineering reports, or loss of crops or income on the property.
While the funding period has ended for this fiscal year, landowners can apply for an easement at any time. Another funding sign-up period will be announced in FY2021 for landowners interested in relieving imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods by allowing floodplains to function.
For more information on the Floodplain Easement Program or other conservation programs to assist you with your agricultural land, contact your local NRCS office found at www.farmers.gov/contact or visit the www.nrcs.usda.gov and search for EWPP floodplain easements.
–USDA NRCS Texas
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