The Congress finds that—
(1) wetlands play an integral role in maintaining the quality of life through material contributions to our national economy, food supply, water supply and quality, flood control, and fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and thus to the health, safety, recreation, and economic well-being of all our citizens of the Nation;
(2) wetlands provide habitat essential for the breeding, spawning, nesting, migration, wintering and ultimate survival of a major portion of the migratory and resident fish and wildlife of the Nation; including migratory birds, endangered species, commercially and recreationally important finfish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms, and contain many unique species and communities of wild plants;
(3) the migratory bird treaty obligations of the Nation with Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and with various countries in the Western Hemisphere require Federal protection of wetlands that are used by migratory birds for breeding, wintering or migration and needed to achieve and to maintain optimum population levels, distributions, and patterns of migration;
(4) wetlands, and the fish, wildlife, and plants dependent on wetlands, provide significant recreational and commercial benefits, including—
(A) contributions to a commercial marine harvest valued at over $10,000,000,000 annually;
(B) support for a major portion of the Nation's multimillion dollar annual fur and hide harvest; and
(C) fishing, hunting, birdwatching, nature observation and other wetland-related recreational activities that generate billions of dollars annually;
(5) wetlands enhance the water quality and water supply of the Nation by serving as groundwater recharge areas, nutrient traps, and chemical sinks;
(6) wetlands provide a natural means of flood and erosion control by retaining water during periods of high runoff, thereby protecting against loss of life and property;
(7) wetlands constitute only a small percentage of the land area of the United States, are estimated to have been reduced by half in the contiguous States since the founding of our Nation, and continue to disappear by hundreds of thousands of acres each year;
(8) certain activities of the Federal Government have inappropriately altered or assisted in the alteration of wetlands, thereby unnecessarily stimulating and accelerating the loss of these valuable resources and the environmental and economic benefits that they provide; and
(9) the existing Federal, State, and private cooperation in wetlands conservation should be strengthened in order to minimize further losses of these valuable areas and to assure their management in the public interest for this and future generations.
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote, in concert with other Federal and State statutes and programs, the conservation of the wetlands of the Nation in order to maintain the public benefits they provide and to help fulfill international obligations contained in various migratory bird treaties and conventions with Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and with various countries in the Western Hemisphere by—
(1) intensifying cooperative efforts among private interests and local, State, and Federal governments for the management and conservation of wetlands; and
(2) intensifying efforts to protect the wetlands of the Nation through acquisition in fee, easements or other interests and methods by local, State, and Federal governments and the private sector.
(Pub. L. 99–645, §2, Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3582.)
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 99–645, Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3582, known as the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note below and Tables.
Pub. L. 99–645, §1, Nov. 10, 1986, 100 Stat. 3582, provided that: "This Act [enacting this chapter, amending sections 460l–8, 460l–9, 707, 715k–3, 715k–5, and 718b of this title, and enacting a provision set out in the table under section 668dd of this title] may be cited as the 'Emergency Wetlands Resources Act of 1986'."