16 U.S. Code § 3837a - Easements and agreements

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(a) In general
To be eligible to place land into the wetland reserve under this subpart, the owner of such land shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary—
(1) to grant an easement on such land to the Secretary;
(2) to implement a wetland easement conservation plan as provided for in this section;
(3) to create and record an appropriate deed restriction in accordance with applicable State law to reflect the easement agreed to under this subpart with respect to such lands; and
(4) to provide a written statement of consent to such easement signed by those holding a security interest in the land.
(b) Terms of easement
An owner granting an easement under subsection (a) of this section shall be required to provide for the restoration and protection of the functional values of wetland pursuant to a wetland easement conservation plan that—
(1) permits—
(A) repairs, improvements, and inspections on such land that are necessary to maintain existing public drainage systems if such land is subsequently restored to the condition required by the terms of the easement; and
(B) landowners to control public access on the easement areas while identifying access routes to be used for wetland restoration activities and management and easement monitoring;
(2) prohibits—
(A) the alteration of wildlife habitat and other natural features of such land, unless specifically permitted by the plan;
(B) the spraying of such land with chemicals or the mowing of such land, except where such spraying or mowing is permitted by the plan or is necessary—
(i) to comply with Federal or State noxious weed control laws;
(ii) to comply with a Federal or State emergency pest treatment program; or
(iii) to meet habitat needs of specific wildlife species; and
(C) any activities to be carried out on such participating landowner’s or successor’s land that is immediately adjacent to, and functionally related to, the land that is subject to the easement if such activities will alter, degrade, or otherwise diminish the functional value of the eligible land; and
(D) the adoption of any other practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of this subpart, as determined by the Secretary;
(3) provides for the efficient and effective restoration of the functional values of wetlands; and
(4) includes such additional provisions as the Secretary determines are desirable to carry out this subpart or to facilitate the practical administration thereof.
(c) Restoration plans
The development of a restoration plan, including any compatible use, under this section shall be made through the local Natural Resources Conservation Service representative, in consultation with the State technical committee.
(d) Compatible uses
Wetland reserve program lands may be used for compatible economic uses, including such activities as hunting and fishing, managed timber harvest, or periodic haying or grazing, if such use is specifically permitted by the plan and consistent with the long-term protection and enhancement of the wetlands resources for which the easement was established.
(e) Type and length of easement
A conservation easement granted under this section—
(1) shall be in a recordable form; and
(2) shall be for 30 years, permanent, or the maximum duration allowed under applicable State laws.
(f) Compensation
(1) Determination
Effective on the date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Secretary shall pay as compensation for a conservation easement acquired under this subpart the lowest of—
(A) the fair market value of the land, as determined by the Secretary, using the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices or an area-wide market analysis or survey;
(B) the amount corresponding to a geographical cap, as determined by the Secretary in regulations; or
(C) the offer made by the landowner.
(2) Form of payment
Compensation for an easement shall be provided by the Secretary in the form of a cash payment, in an amount determined under paragraph (1) and specified in the easement agreement.
(3) Payment schedule for easements
(A) Easements valued at $500,000 or less
For easements valued at $500,000 or less, the Secretary may provide easement payments in not more than 30 annual payments.
(B) Easements in excess of $500,000
For easements valued at more than $500,000, the Secretary may provide easement payments in at least 5, but not more than 30 annual payments, except that, if the Secretary determines it would further the purposes of the program, the Secretary may make a lump sum payment for such an easement.
(4) Restoration agreement payment limitation
Payments made to a person or legal entity, directly or indirectly, pursuant to a restoration cost-share agreement under this subpart may not exceed, in the aggregate, $50,000 per year.
(5) Enrollment procedure
Lands may be enrolled under this subpart through the submission of bids under a procedure established by the Secretary.
(g) Violation
On the violation of the terms or conditions of the easement or related agreement entered into under subsection (a) of this section, the easement shall remain in force and the Secretary may require the owner to refund all or part of any payments received by the owner under this subpart, together with interest thereon as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
(h) Wetlands reserve enhancement program
(1) Program authorized
The Secretary may enter into 1 or more agreements with a State (including a political subdivision or agency of a State), nongovernmental organization, or Indian tribe to carry out a special wetlands reserve enhancement program that the Secretary determines would advance the purposes of this subpart.
(2) Reserved rights pilot program
(A) Reservation of grazing rights
As part of the wetlands reserve enhancement program, the Secretary shall carry out a pilot program for land in which a landowner may reserve grazing rights in the warranty easement deed restriction if the Secretary determines that the reservation and use of the grazing rights—
(i) is compatible with the land subject to the easement;
(ii) is consistent with the long-term wetland protection and enhancement goals for which the easement was established; and
(iii) complies with a conservation plan.
(B) Duration
The pilot program established under this paragraph shall terminate on September 30, 2012.


(Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1237A, as added Pub. L. 101–624, title XIV, § 1438,Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 3585; amended Pub. L. 104–127, title III, § 333(d),Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 996; Pub. L. 107–171, title II, § 2203,May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 252; Pub. L. 110–234, title II, §§ 2204–2206,May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1038, 1039; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title II, §§ 2204–2206,June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1766, 1767.)
References in Text

The date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, referred to in subsec. (f)(1), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–246, which was approved June 18, 2008.

The authorities provided by each provision of, and each amendment made by, Pub. L. 110–246, as in effect on Sept. 30, 2012, to continue, and the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out the authorities, until the later of Sept. 30, 2013, or the date specified in the provision of, or amendment made by, Pub. L. 110–246, see section 701(a) ofPub. L. 112–240, set out in a 1-Year Extension of Agricultural Programs note under section 8701 of this title.
Pub. L. 110–234and Pub. L. 110–246made identical amendments to this section. The amendments by Pub. L. 110–234were repealed by section 4(a) ofPub. L. 110–246.

2008—Subsec. (b)(2)(B). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2204, struck out “or” at end of cl. (i), substituted “; or” for “; and” at end of cl. (ii), and added cl. (iii).
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2205, amended subsec. (f) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Compensation for easements acquired by the Secretary under this subpart shall be made in cash in such amount as is agreed to and specified in the easement agreement, but not to exceed the fair market value of the land less the fair market value of such land encumbered by the easement. Lands may be enrolled through the submission of bids under a procedure established by the Secretary. Compensation may be provided in not less than 5, nor more than 30, annual payments of equal or unequal size, as agreed to by the owner and the Secretary.”
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2206, added subsec. (h).
2002—Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 107–171struck out heading and text of subsec. (h). Text read as follows: “The Secretary may enroll land into the wetlands reserve program through an agreement that requires the landowner to restore wetlands on the land, if the agreement does not provide the Secretary with an easement.”
1996—Pub. L. 104–127, § 333(d)(1), inserted “and agreements” after “Easements” in section catchline.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 104–127, § 333(d)(2), added subsec. (c) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (c). Text read as follows:
“(1) Plans.—The development of restoration plans under this section shall be made through the agreement of the local representative of the Soil Conservation Service and a representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service. If agreement cannot be reached at the local level under the preceding sentence within a reasonable period of time, such plans shall be referred to the State Conservationist, who in developing such plans under this paragraph, shall consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
“(2) Report.—The State Conservationist and a representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service shall report to their respective national offices concerning all plans developed under paragraph (1) at the State level as a result of an agreement not being reached at the local level.”
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104–127, § 333(d)(3), substituted “Compensation may be provided in not less than 5, nor more than 30, annual payments of equal or unequal size, as agreed to by the owner and the Secretary.” for “Compensation may be provided in not less than 5 nor more than 20 annual payments of either equal or unequal size, except in the case of a permanent easement, a single lump-sum payment may be provided, as agreed on by the owner and the Secretary.”
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 104–127, § 333(d)(4), added subsec. (h).
Effective Date of 2008 Amendment

Amendment of this section and repeal of Pub. L. 110–234by Pub. L. 110–246effective May 22, 2008, the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–234, see section 4 ofPub. L. 110–246, set out as an Effective Date note under section 8701 of Title 7, Agriculture.
Effect of 1996 Amendments on Existing Agreements

Amendments made by section 333 ofPub. L. 104–127not to affect validity or terms of agreements entered into by Secretary of Agriculture under this subpart before Apr. 4, 1996, or payments required to be made in connection with such agreements, see section 333(f) ofPub. L. 104–127, set out as a note under section 3837 of this title.

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16 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large
§ 3837arepealed2014113-79 [Sec.] 2703(a)128 Stat. 767

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7 CFR - Agriculture




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