Wet weedy prevent plant field

In response to natural disasters occurring in 2018 and 2019 and flooding impacting many parts of the U.S., the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has funding for 11 states including South Dakota.

The emergency funding is specifically dedicated to conservation easements on certain lands damaged by flooding and other natural disasters. Funds are made available through the Floodplain Easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP-FPE).

“Landowners across South Dakota have faced and continue to face significant challenges from flooding and natural disasters due to abnormally high rainfall in recent years,” said Brandon Kottke, NRCS easements program manger in Huron, South Dakota. “To provide relief and assist agricultural landowners during this difficult time, this easement program offers an option that alleviates the stress of operating land in a floodplain while still retaining ownership of their property.”

The EWPP-FPE program is a voluntary program through which eligible applicants agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through the NRCS.

"This program is an option for those who have been inundated by high water," Kottke said.

Compensation is based on the value of the easement as determined by an appraisal or market analysis. These easements may occur on public or private agricultural land or residential properties damaged by flooding and natural disasters. The NRCS will work to restore the easement to its natural floodplain condition.

Interested landowners must submit an application by Oct. 9 for consideration in the next batching period.

For more information about the EWPP-FPE, contact Kottke at brandon.kottke@usda.gov or 605-352-1203.