Omnibus Water Bill (P.L. 101–640). This act (Water Resources Development Act of 1990) requires that COE achieve the wetland no-net loss goal based on both acreage and function for new water projects (Section 13). The COE is also directed to enhance existing environmental values of projects and is required to carry out wetland restoration and creation demonstration projects. The act excludes from the benefit base for justifying new water projects any new or substantially reconstructed structure built in the floodplain after July 2, 1991 (Section 14).


Federal influence on the nation's aquatic resources has not been limited to water project construction and water quality regulation. Land use decisions on vast acreages of federally owned lands have affected watersheds. The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) grazing right allocations and grazing fees determined the number of animal units on the land over much of the West's watersheds. The Forest Service's management of national forestland has affected aquatic ecosystems. Federal wildlife refuges have been managed in ways that altered habitats, favoring one species over another. Planning processes for all these agencies have been undertaken, frequently with the purpose of balancing varying management goals, including aquatic ecosystem goals. Nonetheless, much as the water development agencies had a mission for flood control, navigation, or irrigation, these land management agencies were driven by their own missions. The BLM "produced" animal grazing units; the Forest Service produced timber; the Fish and Wildlife Service produced deer and ducks. Water and related lands under the control of these agencies were managed to achieve these resource goals.

Perhaps the most powerful federal force for change in aquatic ecosystems has been the national agricultural policy. Early encouragement of wetlands drainage through the Swamplands Acts was followed years later by federal financial and technical assistance for private drainage of wetlands for agricultural purposes. The drainage decisions of landowners were also indirectly influenced by federal flood control and drainage projects (Stavins and Jaffee, 1991), by provisions of the federal tax code, by agricultural price and income support programs, and by other public efforts to encourage agricultural production (Kramer and Shabman, 1988).

Federal programs likewise influence crop choice and tillage decisions that can affect aquatic ecosystems. The sugar program supports

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