Watershed Rehabilitation Program


To provide technical and financial assistance to rehabilitate dams originally constructed with assistance of USDA Watershed Programs. Rehabilitation must extend the life of the dam and meet applicable safety and performance standards. Priority is given to dams that maximize risk reduction and that could result in loss of life if the dam should fail.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; C - Direct Payments For Specified Use; K - Advisory Services and Counseling; Z - Salaries and Expenses
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, Public Law 83-566, 16 U.S.C. 1012, Statute 68,666
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Public Law 117-58
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, 115-334
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Sponsoring local organizations for existing watershed projects that include dams that were originally constructed with assistance from one of the following water resource programs: Public Law 78-534, Section 13 of the Flood Control Act of 1944; Public Law 156-67, the pilot watershed program authorized under the heading Flood Prevention of the Department of Agriculture Appropriation Act of 1954; Public Law 83-566, the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act of 1954; and Subtitle H of Title XV of the Agriculture and Flood Act of 1981, commonly known as the Resource Conservation and Development Program.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Any State agency, county or groups of counties, municipality, town or township, soil and water conservation district, flood prevention or flood control district, Indian tribe or tribal organization, or any other nonprofit agency with authority under State law to carry out, maintain, and operate watershed works of improvement may become a sponsoring local organization for a watershed rehabilitation project.
Applications must designate the proposed dam to be rehabilitated, be properly signed and attested to by all sponsoring local organizations of the existing watershed, and set forth the need for the proposed project.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the Single Point of Contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Award Procedure
Applications are evaluated by analyzing the condition of the dam and consequences of failure of the dam. The State Dam Safety Agency is also consulted for input. Details of the procedure are available from the State Offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Not applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
(1) The existing watershed project must meet the requirements of the law; (2) operation and maintenance of the existing dam must be current; (3) the local sponsors must agree to carry out the watershed project including acquiring land rights, permits, local cost-share, authority to levy taxes, condemnation authority, and ability for operating and maintaining the rehabilitated dam for the life of the project; (4) the project has environmental, economic and social benefits that exceed the costs for a favorable benefit-cost ratio.
How may assistance be used?
Technical assistance is provided for planning, designing, and work necessary to extend service life of dam. Financial assistance for implementing the works of improvement is provided by cost-sharing. Watershed rehabilitation projects may include reconstruction or decommissioning of the dam and relocation or flood proofing of downstream property and infrastructure.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Annual operation and maintenance inspection and report.
Records of operation and maintenance activities are maintained for the life of the project.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is mandatory. 35%. Federal cost-share is limited to 65 percent of the total eligible rehabilitation cost with a limit of 100 percent of the actual construction cost. Sponsors are required to obtain all land and water rights and permits prior to installation of project measures, and to provide operation and maintenance for the life of the works of improvement.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Continues until all works of improvement are installed or their installation is terminated by mutual agreement. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for the location of the nearest USDA service center. For a list of NRCS State offices with telephone numbers and addresses, information is available on the internet at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/.
Headquarters Office
Ralph Smith, Acting Branch Chief, Watershed Programs
United States Department of Agriculture,
Natural Resources Conservation Service,
Conservation Planning & Technical Assistance Division
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: 202-819-6587
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Salaries and Expenses) FY 22$27,539,000.00; FY 23 est $12,523,000.00; FY 24 est $8,758,000.00; FY 21$4,842,000.00; FY 20$1,266,000.00; FY 19$5,964,000.00; FY 18$4,733,000.00; FY 17$359,000.00; FY 16$1,996,000.00; - (Cooperative Agreements (Discretionary Grants)) FY 22$23,566,000.00; FY 23 est $21,389,000.00; FY 24 est $30,083,000.00; FY 21$6,828,000.00; FY 20$5,000,000.00; FY 19$5,000,000.00; FY 18$5,380,000.00; FY 17$12,300,000.00; FY 16$0.00; - (Salaries and Expenses) FY 22$12,312,000.00; FY 23 est $8,189,000.00; FY 24 est $3,710,000.00; FY 21$8,084,000.00; FY 20$5,330,000.00; FY 19$7,654,000.00; FY 18$5,642,000.00; FY 17$225,000.00; FY 16$14,909,000.00; - (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 22$2,204,000.00; FY 23 est $5,791,000.00; FY 24 est $0.00; FY 21$21,891,000.00; FY 20$6,865,000.00; FY 19$7,866,000.00; FY 18$39,638,000.00; FY 17$15,497,000.00; FY 16$467,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$0 to $6,451,000; $770,000 average per state.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Policy for implementation of this program is contained in the National Watershed Program Manual and NRCS General Manual. Program fact sheets, case studies, and guidelines are available from NRCS State Offices and can also be accessed through the NRCS website (www.nrcs.usda.gov).
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


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