Farm Programs: USDA Should Take Additional Steps to Ensure Compliance with Wetland Conservation Provisions, Report to the Chairwoman Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 8MB]

From the GAO (Government Accountability Office) Highlights: "Wetlands perform vital ecological functions, and draining them can harm water quality and wildlife habitat. Many wetlands were drained for farming before enactment of wetland conservation provisions in 1985. However, millions of acres of wetlands, known as potholes, remain in the prairie pothole region. NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service] determines where wetlands exist on the land of farmers who participate in USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] farm programs, and it identifies violations of wetland provisions. FSA [Farm Service Agency] administers farm program benefits. In 2017, USDA's Office of Inspector General reported that NRCS had implemented wetland determination procedures in the prairie pothole region inconsistently. GAO was asked to review USDA's implementation of wetland conservation provisions in the prairie pothole region. This report examines, among other objectives, the steps NRCS has taken to increase the consistency of wetland determinations and the approaches NRCS and FSA use to ensure compliance with the provisions. GAO reviewed agency manuals, data, and files on wetland determinations and waivers, and interviewed agency officials and stakeholder groups."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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