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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Policy, Management and Budget
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Essence of Recommendations

  • Agriculture: Although agriculture still accounts for half of wetland conversions and contributes significantly to wetland degradation, the 1985 and 1990 Farm Bills eliminated most of the incentives in federal programs to convert wetlands to agriculture. A few subsidies, important in some wetland areas, remain.

    • Refinements to Swampbuster: Expand sanctions to include ineligibility to participate in marketing orders (important in Florida and California).

      Extend sanctions to sugarcane processors (important in Florida).

    • Drainage: Eliminate remaining subsidies to drainage (cost-sharing and technical assistance). Important in prairie pothole region, Delmarva, Nebraska.
    • Sugarcane: Phase out import quotas and price supports (important in Florida).

  • Environmental Responsibilities of Agencies: Have all federal agencies assess the effects of their programs on wetlands and, to the extent feasible, minimize adverse impacts. (Consistent with Administration's approach to management of ecosystem: early planning to reduce costs and avoid crises; spreading the responsibility for environmental protection and conservation more equitably.)
  • Urban: Finance new projects in a manner that reflects the distribution of benefits between regional and national interests. Consider suspending federal subsidization and support for urban development in environmentally significant wetlands, e.g., funds for low income housing, mortgage insurance, flood insurance, flood control and drainage, highways. Important in Florida, Galveston Bay area, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, New Jersey.
  • Water Resource Projects: Fund federal water projects affecting wetlands in accordance with the benefit principle of public finance, i.e., each beneficiary should bear the cost (including interest costs and any wetland opportunity costs) of generating his benefits. Important in Lower Mississippi Alluvial Plain, western riparian areas, California, Pocosins, New Jersey.
  • Mitigation: Establish a uniform federal mitigation policy, ensuring adequate compensation for unavoidable adverse project impacts on wetlands and acknowledging the quality and functional value of the affected wetlands. Developing a performance-bond approach for the mitigation of wetland losses.

    Consider requiring that a mitigation plan accompany proposals for authorization of new projects.

    Develop a wetland banking system.

  • Regulation/Monitoring: Strengthen overburdened programs of Corps, EPA, and FWS (especially important in Puerto Rico, Florida).

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