. "2 A Selective History of Changing Goals and Authority for Aquatic Ecosystem Management." Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1992.
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Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems: Science, Technology, and Public Policy
constraints, the federal government reduced its willingness to finance water projects, just as it phased down the EPA construction grants program for wastewater treatment facilities. The federal government has shifted the burden for a variety of programs to the states. In addition, the demand for environmental protection services has grown.
Changes in these economic incentive programs have contributed to a substantial retardation in the rate of wetland loss per year and a substantial slow-down in the rate of loss of free-flowing rivers and natural lakes due to construction of dams, levees, and water diversions. Beaumont (1978) indicated that the building of large dams in North America peaked in 1968 and has since declined. Building of nonfederal dams decreased from 2,000 per year in the 1960s to about 1,240 per year in the 1970s (Johnston Associates, 1989). As worthwhile as they are, these programs were not designed to accomplish actual physical restoration of aquatic ecosystems. What physical restoration has occured has been largely incidental. For example, although the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was designed primarily to give farmers incentives to take highly erodible lands out of production, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) have used the CRP to restore some small wetlands, such as prairie pothole wetlands in Minnesota (see Chapter 6 and Appendix A). Likewise, the FWS has been able to put easements on and restore some former wetlands subject to forfeiture by the Farmers Home Administration or the Resolution Trust Corporation.
Congressional Initiatives in the 1989-1990 Session
In the 1989-1990 session, Congress and the Bush administration took several actions designed to achieve real physical restoration of certain aquatic ecosystems. Some of these actions were in part a response to the initiatives of states and nonprofit organizations. Indeed, the states are developing the necessary planning expertise and research capacity to execute water management programs. We mention some examples.
In the mid-1980s, Florida initiated its Restore the Everglades program. This included the Kissimmee River demonstration project, designed largely by the South Florida Water Management District. In 1990, Congress appropriated some $6 million for COE to pursue further Kissimmee River restoration work and design. In addition, Congress appropriated $550,000 to have the National Park Service conduct a detailed hydrologic study of the Everglades to increase