continued production of that crop in South Florida, with the resulting possibility of adverse effects on water distribution and quality in Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. The structure of the price support programs for all crops encourages the production of crops in places and at times in which soil erosion may be aggravated. Export policy can create boom periods when erodible lands are brought into cultivation. Although chemical use patterns on farms may be a product of agricultural policy and of the price and production incentives it creates, the link between agricultural policy and farm decisions on land, water, and chemical use is not always clear cut. It is not certain that in the absence of agricultural policy, different land, water, and chemical use decisions would be made. What is clear is that agricultural producers' decisions currently are made in response to government policy constraints and incentives as much as to competitive market prices.
In the last few years, federal policies toward management of aquatic ecosystems have undergone a dramatic change. In general, through a series of congressional actions in the mid-1980s, federal incentives to destroy or alter aquatic ecosystems were significantly reduced. These actions have, therefore, contributed to protection of these systems but not to their physical restoration. Whatever progress has been made in reducing certain kinds and sources of chemical pollution and in reducing physical loss, restoration of the nation's aquatic ecosystems has not been high on the nation's agenda. It was only in 1990 that Congress took a number of initial steps to put the federal government behind actual physical restoration measures.
In the mid-1980s, Congress took a number of steps that reduced federal financial support for aquatic ecosystem degradation. The 1986 Water Resources Development Act (P.L. 99–662) placed major new cost burdens on the beneficiaries of water project construction, often states and their political subdivisions. The Swampbuster program of the 1985 Food Security Act eliminated U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) benefits in many circumstances where farmers cleared and drained wetlands for crop production. The Internal Revenue Service Tax Code was amended to alter the tax treatment of agricultural drainage expenses in wetlands.
A number of factors explained these actions. Due to budgetary