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Wetland Conservation Compliance

Wetland Conservation Compliance

The 1996 Farm Bill made several statutory changes to the existing Swampbuster provisions that give USDA participants more flexibility in complying with the wetland conservation requirements while protecting natural resources.  These changes are as follows:

  • Expands areas where mitigation can be used. This allows individuals to work with NRCS to select the best area for mitigating wetlands.
  • Provides more options for mitigation, including restoration, enhancement, or creation as long as wetland functions are maintained.
  • Encourages effective and timely use of "minimal effect" determinations. This change allows the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), working with state technical committees, to identify activities and practices that have a minimal effect on wetland resources and put them on a "fast track."
  • Stipulates that wetland conversion activities, authorized by a permit issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which make agriculture production possible, will be accepted for farm bill purposes if they were adequately mitigated.
  • Revises the concept of "abandonment" to ensure that as long as land is used for agriculture, a certified Prior Converted cropland designation remains in effect. (This provision only pertains Swampbuster).
  • Encourages farmers to restore Farmed Wetlands (FW) and Farmed Wetlands Pasture (FWP) under an approved plan with the option to convert it back to an FW or FWP for agricultural purposes without violating the Swampbuster provision.
  • Provides USDA program participants the opportunity to request review of previous wetland determinations to verify their accuracy. A certified wetland determination will remain in effect as long as the land is used for agricultural purposes. (This provision only pertains to Swampbuster).
  • Provides the Secretary with the discretion to waive penalties for ineligibility and to grant time to restore converted wetlands.

Additional Information

Program Contact

Gerald Jasmer, State Resource Conservationist, 605-352-1234