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Executive Order 11990 Protection of Wetlands

Executive Order 11990 Protection of Wetlands requires all federal agencies to "minimize the destruction, loss or degradation of wetlands, and preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands." Unless no practical alternatives exist, federal agencies must avoid activities in wetlands that have the potential for adversely affecting the integrity of the ecosystem. National Park Service guidance for compliance with E.O. 11990 can be found in Director's Order #77-1 and Procedural Manual #77-1, Wetlands Protection. Particularly, it is the policy of the National Park Service to:

  • avoid to the extent possible the long- and short-term adverse impacts associated with the destruction or modification of wetlands;
  • preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands;
  • avoid direct or indirect support of new construction in wetlands wherever there is a practicable alternative;
  • adopt a goal of no net loss of wetlands and strive to achieve a longer-term goal of net gain of wetlands servicewide;
  • conduct or obtain parkwide wetland inventories to help assure proper planning with respect to management and protection of wetland resources;
  • use "Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States" (Cowardin et al. 1979) as the standard for defining, classifying and inventorying wetlands;
  • employ a sequence of first avoiding adverse wetland impacts to the extent practicable; second, minimizing impacts that could not be avoided; and lastly, compensating for remaining unavoidable adverse wetland impacts at a minimum 1:1 ratio via restoration of degraded wetlands;
  • prepare a Statement of Findings to document compliance with Director's Order #77-1 when the preferred alternative addressed in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement will result in adverse impacts on wetlands; and,
  • restore natural wetland characteristics or functions that have been degraded or lost due to previous or ongoing human activities, to the extent appropriate and practicable.

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Last Updated: March 02, 2012