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Other Wetlands Conservation Programs

Acquisition can include a wide variety of protection strategies. It most frequently is associated with purchase of all rights and title to the land -- full fee title acquisition. It also can include acquisition of only some of the rights to the land, usually the right to develop the land, which leaves the property in its undeveloped, natural state. Acquisition also can include leases, conservation easements, donations, bargain sales, and transfers of development rights. It is the variety of means by which to guarantee protection or control of all or some rights to the use of the land.

New York has an active wetlands acquisition program. The state's Open Space Plan directs all current state acquisition efforts, including those for wetlands.

Restoration, Creation, and Management, in general, include hands-on actions taken to manipulate a wetland to create, restore, enhance or protect wetlands functions and benefits. Restoration and creation add to the existing resource base, while management actions improve or maintain the quality of existing wetlands.

DEC is very active in wetlands restoration. Wetlands are restored for management purposes, and include projects on the Niagara River, as part of the Northern Montezuma project, and along the Hudson River. The 1997 Clean Air/Clean Water Bond Act includes funding for the restoration of wetlands. DEC also works with other agencies such as the US Department of Agriculture(USDA)'s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to restore wetlands on privately owned farmland.

Research and Inventories are the means by which information is gathered to answer pertinent questions. It identifies threats, develops remediation and mitigation techniques, develops details on functions and values of wetlands, and explores means to protect and augment those functions. Research includes traditional data gathering, for empirical research or to answer management or policy questions. It also includes mapping and inventory work, status and trends studies, and monitoring of wetlands.

DEC maps its freshwater wetlands resource under Article 24 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), the Freshwater Wetlands Act. The Natural Heritage Program has undertaken studies to ecologically classify wetland communities and to identify reference sites for certain classes of wetlands. The Wetlands Program has used Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding under the State Wetlands Grants program to undertake a number of studies on wetlands. These include a Freshwater Wetlands Status and Trends; an Evaluation of the W-48-D Small Marsh Creation Program; and a project categorizing the hydrogeomorphic status of wetlands in 11 selected watersheds,funded by EPA and conducted by the FWS.

Education, Outreach, and Technical Assistance are the means by which information is provided to users to make decisions, affect behavior and create greater awareness. Education generally is focused on a broader segment of the public and most often has a broader theme, such as the value of wetlands. Outreach efforts are more specific, targeted at an affected group, such as landowners, about a specific topic, such as how to get a permit. Finally, technical assistance is usually very hands-on and technical in nature, such as how to restore a wetland on converted cropland.

The wetlands program has worked with EPA, US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), county government and the Land Conservancy of the Saratoga Area to undertake an outreach effort in Saratoga County. Workshops were held for local government officials to familiarize them with wetlands and wetlands protection programs, and a guidebook was produced to help citizens learn about wetlands and guide them to areas where they could view wetlands.