MISSOURI (news release) — The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is gearing up to provide assistance to Missouri communities and landowners affected by flooding.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before,” said State Conservationist J.R. Flores. “We don’t have estimates of damages yet, but we’re not waiting. We know that when the floodwater recedes that there will be damages that we might be able to help repair.”

Flores points to two programs in particular. One is the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP). The other is the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

EWP is the USDA’s primary method of providing financial and technical assistance for most restoration measures including levee repair, logjam removal, sediment removal from drainage ditches, and streambank stabilization near roads, bridges and buildings. An EWP project must have a local sponsor that is a legal subdivision of state government, such as cities, counties, levee districts and drainage districts.

EQIP provides financial and technical assistance for conservation practices that improve natural resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. While EWP is for new issues related to a flood, EQIP flood assistance applies only to conservation measures already put in place through EQIP that have been destroyed by flooding.

“We encourage those affected by the flood to meet with their local NRCS representatives in order to assess the needs of our state,” Flores said.  “At this time, we are unsure of what funds will be available, but it is important for us to have a clear understanding of how many potential projects there are in Missouri.”

For further information, please visit the Missouri NRCS website or contact the local NRCS office serving your county. NRCS offices can be found in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or online through the NRCS Contact Us page.