The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will accept a third round of applications from eligible landowners who want to sell the development rights of properties along Connecticut’s coastline impacted by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Funds are available through USDA’s Emergency Watershed Protection Floodplain Easements Program (EWPP-FPE), managed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Applications will be accepted from August 29-October 10, 2018.
“After seeing the success of the first two rounds in this area, the program has gained additional momentum,” said NRCS State Conservationist Thomas L. Morgart. There is currently a wait list with the names of 15 interested property owners. Through EWPP-FPE, NRCS has closed easements on 22 properties in coastal communities throughout the state.
“Floodplain easements are a long-term solution for preventing future damage from flooding,” said Morgart. “This program will allow more people to apply for assistance and place more critical floodplain acres under easement.”
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 while making it more resilient to flooding. NRCS’ goal is to infill areas between existing easement properties, to implement more complete restoration plans and improve flood storage and provide more opportunities for flood mitigation.
Private lands and those owned by local and state governments damaged by Hurricanes Irene and Sandy are eligible if they are located in a floodplain that is in the FEMA AE Zone or higher. The land must also meet one of the following criteria:
— The land was damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Sandy.
~~ The land would contribute to the restoration of floodwater storage and flow, offer a way to control erosion or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement.
~~ The land could be inundated or adversely impacted because of a dam breach.
Easement compensation rates and ranking priorities vary by location and depend on where the land is in the floodplain and how it is used. Program easements are permanent. Lands with structures such as homes are eligible for enrollment, as well as open or agricultural lands. NRCS will pay for the removal or demolition of the structure and enroll the remaining lot in a permanent easement.
Interested landowners should contact NRCS Coordinator Kristin Walker at (860) 871-4033.