Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Water Bank Act

Water Bank Act -- Public Law 91-559 (84 Stat. 1468; 16 USC 1301-1311) approved December 19, 1970, authorized the Secretary of Agriculture, after coordination with the Secretary of Interior, to enter into 10-year contracts with landowners to preserve wetlands and retire adjoining agricultural lands. Annual payments may be made to participating owners, and the costs of conservation measures may be shared. Total annual payments to owners were limited to $10 million in any year.

Public Law 96-182 (93 Stat. 1317) approved January 2, 1980, increased the annual maximum payments to owners from $10 million to $30 million. It also expanded coverage to wetland types 6 and 7 (shrub and wooded swamp) and clarified that the definition of wetlands includes artificially created inland fresh areas and other types the Secretary may designate.

The Secretary of Agriculture is directed to reexamine payment rates every 5 years after 1980, and the amount to be expended in any one State in any calendar year is limited to not more than 15 percent of the funds appropriated.

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