Communities that have suffered damage to watershed areas from Hurricane Ike may be eligible for assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“Areas in East Texas may have a tremendous amount of debris blocking and/or eroding normal drainage ways,” said Don Gohmert, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. “This debris, which is often from downed trees and related debris, can create more damage from subsequent rainfall events if not removed quickly.”

NRCS’s Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program is designed to reduce threats to life and property from watershed impairment, such as erosion, debris, and sediment. These impairments can cause additional flooding, soil erosion, and damage to infrastructure.

Most projects require a 25 percent local share of the costs and local sponsors must provide land rights and any needed permits. NRCS provides 75 percent of the cost, assesses the damage, and plans or designs the needed repairs.

To find out more about assistance available through the EWP program, contact your local NRCS office or visit the NRCS Texas Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ewp.