The Government Accountability Office will review the Department of Agriculture Emergency Watershed Protection Program. 

The announcement follows a request by Senators Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican. 

Bennet and Romney requested that the GAO focus on several specific items, including approval processes under the program, project timelines, opportunities to expand eligible projects, and agency and stakeholder views of the program. 

Administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Senators call the program an important tool designed to reduce financial strain and help communities across the West address imminent threats following a wildfire. 

However, communities often face challenges when attempting to use the program to support recovery efforts, including after fires in Colorado and Utah in 2018. 

The GAO review, which will commence in the coming months, will lead to recommendations to improve EWP and more effectively assist communities recovering from wildfires across the West.