Clean Water Action Plan
The Clean Water Action Plan was an initiative announced by President Bill Clinton in 1998 to restore and protect America's waters.
What does the Clean Water Action Plan do to address wetland loss?
The action plan contains a large number of key actions aimed at halting wetlands loss and beginning the difficult process of gaining acres of wetlands each year. There are a number of regulatory, financial incentive, and voluntary programs to protect and improve wetlands. The Action Plan seeks to strengthen and improve each of these programs as we work toward the goal of gaining 100,000 acres of wetlands each year by suggesting the following measures:
Expand the wetlands reserve program (Key Action #38)
The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program, which offers financial support to landowners for wetlands restoration projects. During 1998, roughly 212,000 acres were enrolled in this program. The administration is requesting additional authority so that as many as 250,000 acres can be enrolled each year.
Support wetland projects in 500 watersheds (Key Action #41)
Achieving a net increase in wetlands will require working cooperatively with landowners and communities to encourage and support the restoration and enhancement of wetlands while ensuring that regulatory programs result in no overall net losses. Announced in 1998, the Five Star Restoration Challenge Grant is open to any public or private entity and provides modest financial assistance to support community-based wetland/riparian restoration projects and locally-based natural resource stewardship.
50% net increase of highway wetlands (Key Action #44)
Highways are a key part of America's transportation system, but they can have negative impacts on wetlands through draining, filling, and runoff of contaminants and eroded soil. Through the Clean Water Action Plan, the Department of Transportation will continue to monitor wetland losses and gains and minimize negative impacts with the goal of replacing 1.5 acres for every acre affected within ten years. The federal highway program achieved a 120% gain in wetlands acres restored in 1998.
Stream Corridor Restoration (Key Action #61)
Fifteen agencies collaborated on the Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices (October 1998). The manual provides a sound basis for restoring the natural ecology of streams and rivers. Twelve watersheds in need of restoration were chosen to demonstrate (PDF) (226 pages, 7.5 MB, about PDF) these techniques in 1999.