Several incentives exist
to assist the agricultural
community with regard
to wetland protection
and restoration.
A wetland is an area of land where the
soils are saturated for varying periods
of time during the growing season. ¦
Wetland soils contain little or no
oxygen, and as a result only support
plants adapted to such conditions.
Cottonwoods, cattails, rushes,. Willows
and sedges are examples of wetland /
plants typically found in areas of the
Northern Great Plains and Rocky
Mountain regions. Ttie-types of
wetlands found iii these regions
include prairie'potholes, riparian areas
(wet areas near •
rivers, ponds, or
lakes), and wet
meadows. If you
would like to. learn
more about
wetlands on your:
farm or ranch,
contact the Soil Conservation Service
or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.in
your district.
American farmers and ranchers provide our nation with an abundance of
food and fiber. The agricultural community is a vital sector of the nation's
economy that can benefit from wetland protection and restoration. This fact
sheet provides valuable information concerning agricultural activities and
wetland protection.

enhance water ¦quality by absorbing
and filtering harmful sediments,
nutrients, and other pollutants that can
contaminate surface and ground
water. In addition, wetlands are an
important source of surface and
ground water, providing for agricul-
tural needs. Wetlands increase water
availability by absorbing water during
wet season's and gradually releasing it
during dry seasons. Similarly, wet-
lands help prevent floods due.to their,
ability to hold large volumes of water,
releasing it slowly into surface and
ground water.
functions. Ann values
Wetlands are diverse and complex
ecosystems that have many functions
and values For instance, wetlands
With proper management,
wetlands can also supply forage
for livestock. In addition, they
provide food sources and other
habitat needs for a variety of
wildlife, including many,
species of waterfowl.
Wetlands and their associ-
ated open space are also
valuable places for recre-
ation'. People hunt, fish,
boat, hike and bird-watch
in wetland areas.

Several incentives exist to assist the
agricultural community with, regard to
wetland protection and restoration.'
Leasing wetlands to hunters and bird-
watchers, for example, offers financial
incentive .to preserve wetlands. The
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Soil
Conservation Service. Ducks Unlim-
ited, the State Pish and Game Agency
and USDA are appropriate agencies to
contact if you are interested in
' financial and technical assistance!
The main tool governing wetland
protection is Section 404 of the
nation's Glean Water Act. Section 404
regulates the discharge of dredged and
fill material into the waters of the U.S.,
including most wetlands. Section 404
establishes a permit program to
ensure that any discharges-comply '
with set Standards. The U.S. Army-
Corps of Engineers and the Environ-
mental Protection Agency Jointly
administer this permitting process.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
state agencies have, advisory roles.
If you are planning to'impact wetlands
•on your land, contact the Corps of
Engineers office in your area and ask
about the permittingrequirements that
may be applicable to your project.
Failure to obtain the necessary 404 •
permit is subject to severe' penalties. .
Farming and ranching activities
generally exempt from Section 404
include ongoing; normal farming
operations, such as plowing, seeding,
cultivating and drainage maintenance-.
In addition, maintenance and con-
struction of irrigation ditches, stock
ponds-and farm' roads are exempt.
. Activities which convert Wetlands for
such uses are typically not exempt.
The Swampbuster provision of the
Food Security Act of 1.985 is another
regulation that relates directly ;to .the ,
agricultural community. This provision
denies federal, farm benefits to any
person who converts a wetland after
December 23. 1985. Conversion
includes draining, filling, leveling,
dredging or any other practice for the
purpose of growing Commodity crops.
Wetlands converted before December
' 23, 1985 are exempt from Swamp-
buster regulation. Contact your local
Soil Conservation Service office for
additional information.
Agricult ure and Wetlands. Six fact
sheets available from the Office of
Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(WH-556F), 401 M St.., S.W. Washing-,
ton, D.C. 20460. '
Before You Alter Any Wet Agricul-
tural Land...get the necessary
determinations and permits. USDA
Soil Conservation Service in coopera-
tion with Colorado Associations of Soil
Conservation Districts. 1990.
The Wealth in Wetlands. A video
featuring five farmers who tell why
they will keep their wetlands. Avail-
able for loan from the National Asso-
ciation of Conservation Districts, P.O.
• Box 855, League City, TX 77574.
Thompson and Tyler. A Guide to
Agricultural Wetlands Protection:
National Governor's Association.
444 N Capitol.St;; Washington, D.C.
20001-1572. 1991.
Wetlands in the Rocky Mountains
and Northern Great Plains. U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency,
Region 8 bro'ehure. 1992.
A wetlands poster is available on
request. U-S. Environmental Protec-
¦ tion Agency, Region 8.1992.
Please contact.-
EPA Wetlands Hotline
M-F 9 a.m. to'5:30 p.m. EST.
U.S. EPA Region s (8WM-WQ)
999 18th Street. Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2466
1-800 227-8917
Printed on recycled paper (100% post-
consumer waste) with soy-based inks. '