16 U.S. Code § 3822 - Delineation of wetlands; exemptions
Subject to subsection (b) of this section and paragraph (6), the Secretary shall delineate, determine, and certify all wetlands located on subject land on a farm.
The Secretary shall delineate wetlands on wetland delineation maps. On the request of a person, the Secretary shall make a reasonable effort to make an on-site wetland determination prior to delineation.
A final certification made under paragraph (3) shall remain valid and in effect as long as the area is devoted to an agricultural use or until such time as the person affected by the certification requests review of the certification by the Secretary.
In the case of an appeal of the Secretary’s certification, the Secretary shall review and certify the accuracy of the mapping of all land subject to the appeal to ensure that the subject land has been accurately delineated. Prior to rendering a decision on the appeal, the Secretary shall conduct an on-site inspection of the subject land on a farm.
No person shall be adversely affected because of having taken an action based on a previous certified wetland delineation by the Secretary. The delineation shall not be subject to a subsequent wetland certification or delineation by the Secretary, unless requested by the person under paragraph (4).
No program loans, payments, or benefits shall be withheld from a person under this subchapter unless the Secretary has conducted an on-site visit of the subject land.
For purposes of applying the minimal effect exemption under subsection (f)(1) of this section, the Secretary shall identify by regulation categorical minimal effect exemptions on a regional basis to assist persons in avoiding a violation of the ineligibility provisions of section 3821 of this title. The Secretary shall ensure that employees of the Department of Agriculture who administer this subchapter receive appropriate training to properly apply the minimal effect exemptions determined by the Secretary.
A person shall be afforded the right to appeal, under section 3843  of this title, the imposition of a mitigation agreement requiring greater than one-to-one acreage mitigation to which the person is subject.
The Secretary may waive a person’s ineligibility under section 3821 of this title for program loans, payments, and benefits as the result of the conversion of a wetland subsequent to November 28, 1990, or the production of an agricultural commodity on a converted wetland, if the Secretary determines that the person has acted in good faith and without intent to violate this subchapter.
The Secretary shall provide a person who the Secretary determines has acted in good faith and without intent to violate this subchapter with a reasonable period, but not to exceed 1 year, during which to implement the measures and practices necessary to be considered to be actively restoring the subject wetland.
Any person who is determined to be ineligible for program benefits under section 3821 of this title for any crop year shall not be ineligible for such program benefits under such section for any subsequent crop year if, prior to the beginning of such subsequent crop year, the person has fully restored the characteristics of the converted wetland to its prior wetland state or has otherwise mitigated for the loss of wetland values, as determined by the Secretary, through the restoration, enhancement, or creation of wetland values in the same general area of the local watershed as the converted wetland.
Technical determinations, the development of restoration and mitigation plans, and monitoring activities under this section shall be made by the National  Resources Conservation Service.
Using authorities available to the Secretary, the Secretary shall operate a program or work with third parties to establish mitigation banks to assist persons in complying with the provisions of this section while mitigating any loss of wetland values and functions.
The Secretary shall develop the appropriate policy and criteria that will allow willing persons to access existing mitigation banks, under this section or any other authority, that will serve the purposes of this section without requiring the Secretary to hold an easement, in whole or in part, in a mitigation bank.
 See References in Text note below.
 So in original. Probably should be “Natural”.
Section 3843 of this title, referred to in subsec. (g), was omitted and a new section 3843 was added in the general amendment of subchapter V of this chapter by Pub. L. 104–127, title III, § 341, Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1008. The new section 3843, which did not relate to appeal procedures, was subsequently repealed by Pub. L. 113–79, title II, § 2710(a), Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 770.
2014—Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 113–79 amended subsec. (k) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Using authorities available to the Secretary, the Secretary may operate a pilot program for mitigation banking of wetlands to assist persons to increase the efficiency of agricultural operations while protecting wetland functions and values. Subsection (f)(2)(C) of this section shall not apply to this subsection.”
2008—Subsec. (h)(2), (3). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2003, added par. (2), redesignated former par. (2) as (3), and inserted “be” before “actively”.
1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(a), added subsec. (a) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (a). Text consisted of pars. (1) to (4) relating to delineation of wetlands.
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(b), added subsec. (b) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (b). Text consisted of pars. (1)(A) to (D) and (2)(A) and (B) relating to exemptions.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(c), added subsec. (d) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (d). Text read as follows: “Section 3821 of this title shall not apply to a loan described in section 3821 of this title made before December 23, 1985.”
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(d), added subsec. (f) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (f). Text consisted of pars. (1) to (3) relating to minimal effect and mitigation exemptions.
Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(e), which directed substitution of “person” for “producer”, was executed by making the substitution in two places.
Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(f), added subsec. (h) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (h). Text consisted of pars. (1) to (3) relating to good faith exemptions to ineligibility under section 3821 of this title and graduated sanctions.
Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(g), inserted before period at end “or has otherwise mitigated for the loss of wetland values, as determined by the Secretary, through the restoration, enhancement, or creation of wetland values in the same general area of the local watershed as the converted wetland”.
Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(h), added subsec. (j) and struck out heading and text of former subsec. (j). Text provided that technical determinations and the development of restoration and mitigation plans be made through agreement of local representative of Soil Conservation Service and representative of the Fish and Wildlife Service and required reporting of determinations and monitoring.
Subsec. (k). Pub. L. 104–127, § 322(i), added subsec. (k).
1990—Pub. L. 101–624 amended section generally, substituting present provisions for provisions relating to eligibility for program benefits in connection with production of crops on certain wetlands, making program ineligibility inapplicable to pre-Dec. 23, 1985, section 3821 loans, and providing for personal exemptions from program ineligibility for actions associated with production of commodities having minimal wetland effect.
Amendment of this section and repeal of Pub. L. 110–234 by Pub. L. 110–246 effective May 22, 2008, the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–234, see section 4 of Pub. L. 110–246, set out as an Effective Date note under section 8701 of Title 7, Agriculture.
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