Federal Framework for Wetland Protection

bird in wetlandsThere a number of federal laws and regulations providing protections to coastal wetlands. The primary federal law is the Clean Water Act (CWA), which has sections that deal exclusively with the regulation of the fill and use of wetlands. No other federal law protecting wetlands has the regulatory teeth or policy impact of the Clean Water Act.

Other principal laws include the Magnuson Stevens Act (provisions addressing essential fish habitat) and legislation associated with marine protected areas programs (National Marine Protected Areas Center). A listing of all federal laws relating to wetlands is available on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website and an excellent repository of information on all coastal federal and state laws affecting the coast is NOAA’s  Ocean Law Search Tool.

Click on a topic below to learn more:

The Clean Water Act (CWA)

No Net Loss of Wetlands

Federal Agency Involvement

The Magnuson Stevens Act and Essential Fish Habitat

Marine Protected Areas

The Coastal Zone Management Act

Special Area Management Plans

Miscellaneous Federal Laws


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