Complete the next National Wetlands Inventory by the end of 2005, instead of the current 2010 due date, and move to more
frequent reviews beginning in 2006;
Improve interagency coordination on remote sensing and ground level data collection on gain, loss, and quality;
Gain further experience and develop useful protocols for measuring wetland outcomes.
Enhance Local Collaboration:
The Bush Administration places a premium on and is implementing cooperative conservation efforts as a better way to
achieve and sustain success.
The Department of the Interior today announced a new tool for working in cooperation with local landowners to protect
wetlands through a simplified process in the Prairie Pothole region of the Northern Plains states.
Moving to an Increase in Wetland Acres and Quality from No Net Loss policy. Wetlands benefit fish and wildlife, reduce
flooding, improve water quality, and provide fishing, bird-watching, hunting, and educational opportunities to millions of
Americans. The lower 48 states currently contain 110 million acres of wetlands.
In January 2001, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its National Wetlands Inventory which found that the rate of
wetland losses had dropped dramatically to an estimated annual net loss of 58,500 acres of wetlands, down from an estimated
290,000 acre annual net loss during 1975 to 1984, and an estimated 458,000 acre annual net loss during 1955 to 1974.
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its National Resource Inventory of non-federal lands in the lower 48
states covering the period 1997 to 2002, which found agricultural land accounted for a net gain of roughly 26,000 wetland acres
The President successfully expanded and enhanced the incentive and partnership programs for restoring, improving, and
protecting wetlands as a first step in putting the Nation on a path to increasing wetlands. Most significantly, this effort
included securing historic funding for 2002 Farm Bill conservation programs that over 10 years would deliver $40 billion of
conservation funds, reauthorizing the NAWCA partnership programs, enhancing fish and wildlife partnership programs and developing
new, cooperative conservation programs.
The President's FY 2005 budget requests more than $4 billion for conservation programs that include wetlands, notably the
Farm Bill Wetlands Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Technical Assistance Program, Wildlife Habitat
Incentives Program, and Environmental Quality Incentives Program ($1.4 billion more than FY 2001 enacted); $54 million for the
North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants Program ($14 million more than FY 2001 enacted); $50 million for the Partners for
Fish and Wildlife Program ($13 million more than FY 2001 enacted) and $13 million for the Coastal Program ($3.7 million more than
FY 2001 enacted).
The increases in these and other programs included in the Initiative will leverage significant additional matching funds
from state, localities, the private sector, and conservation, recreation, and sportsmen organizations.
In order to protect against losses in the regulatory permitting program for impacts caused by highway construction or
private development, the Administration initiated a new Mitigation Action Plan to achieve and monitor success of restoring
wetlands to offset any necessary loss. In December 2003, the President reiterated his commitment to assuring no net loss,
following a Supreme Court ruling that removed federal regulatory protection of certain isolated wetlands. His FY 2005 budget
includes an additional $5 million to help states address the gap created by the Court.
About Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Reserve is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve, a
partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the coastal states. The Reserve hosts
about 45,000 visitors each year and includes 1600 acres of diverse coastal northeast habitat types, beaches, dunes, salt marshes,
open fields, forest, rivers, and fresh water wetlands.
Two wetlands restoration projects are underway at the Reserve. The Drakes Island community salt marsh project is
restoring hydrology and enhancing 77 acres of salt marsh habitat, and received the Coastal America.s Corporate Wetlands
Restoration Partnership Award. The Wheeler marsh restoration project improved 15 acres of salt marsh and intertidal mudflats
through the partnership of the Town of York, NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited.
Volunteers are crucial to the operation of the Wells Reserve with almost 400 volunteers logging thousands of hours every
year assisting Reserve programs. Volunteers answer the call to service on Reserve advisory committees, while others greet
visitors, maintain grounds, and patrol trails. The President created the USA Freedom Corps more than two years ago to facilitate
volunteer service across the country. Among the broad portfolio of citizen service, the USA Freedom Corps is engaging individuals
and organizations in opportunities to conserve and protect our parklands, our forests, our rivers and streams, our beaches, and to
create safe and meaningful experiences for enjoyment of our treasured natural resources.