7 CFR § 623.1 - Purpose and scope.

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§ 623.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) The regulations in this part set forth the policies, procedures, and requirements for the Emergency Wetlands Reserve Program (EWRP). Under the EWRP, NRCS will make offers to purchase wetland conservation easements from persons owning croplands that were damaged by the 1993 Midwest floods if those lands have the potential for restoration to wetland conditions and if the owner voluntarily agrees to restore and maintain those conditions. The easements are to be purchased to promote the restoration and maintenance of wetland characteristics, such as hydrologic conditions of inundation or saturation of the soil and hydrophytic vegetation. The functions and values of the wetlands for wildlife habitat, water quality improvement, flood water retention, floodway enhancement, ground water recharge, open space, aesthetic values, and environmental education will thus be promoted. The wetland conservation easements will permanently prohibit use of the affected land as cropland. Additionally, the easement shall require permanent maintenance of the wetland conditions, except in the case of natural disaster.

(b) The EWRP is available only in the following States: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Certain cropland areas within these States have been determined to have been inundated by the Midwest floods of 1993. As more fully defined and described in this part, eligible land may include farmed wetlands or prior converted wetlands ( wetlands converted prior to December 23, 1985), together with adjacent lands on which the wetlands are functionally dependent so long as the likelihood of successful restoration of such land and the potential wetland values merit inclusion in the program with reasonable costs.