84 STAT. ]
PUBLIC LAW 91-559-DEC. 19, 1970
conserve surface waters, to preserve and improve habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife resources, to reduce runoff, soil and wind erosion, and contribute to flood control, to contribute to improved water (][uality and reduce stream sedimentation, to contribute to improved subsurface moisture, to reduce acres of new land coming into production and to retire lands now in agricultural production, to enhance the natural beauty of the landscape, and to promote comprehensive and total water management planning. The Secretary of Agriculture (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the "Secretary*') is authorized and directed to formulate and carry cut a continuous program to prevent the serious loss of wetlands, and to preserve, restore, and improve such lands, which program shall begin on July 1, iOTl. SEC. 3. In effectuating the water bank program authorized by this conservation Act, the Secretary shall have authority to enter into agreements with ^^'•«^™^"'^landowners and operators in important migratory waterfowl nesting and breeding areas for the conservation of water on specified farm, ranch, or other wetlands identified in a conservation plan developed in cooperation with the Soil and Water Conservation District in which the lands are located, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary may prescribe. These agreements shall be entered into for a period of ten years, with provision for renewal for additional periods of ten years each. The Secretary shall reexamine the payment rates at the beginning of any such ten-year renewal period in the light of the then current land and crop values and make needed adjustments in rates for any such renewal period. As used in this Act, the term "wetiands." "wetlands means the inland fresh areas (types 1 through 5) described in Circular 39, Wetlands of the United States, published by the United States Department of the Interior (including artificially developed inland fresh areas which meet the description of inland fresh areas, types 1 through 5, contained in such Circular 39). No agreement shall be entered into under this Act concerning land with respect to which the ownership or control has changed in the two-year period preceding the first year of the agreement period unless the new ownership was acquired by will or succession as a result of the death of the previous owner, or unless the new ownership was acquired prior to July 1, 1971, under other circumstances which the Secretary determines, and specifies by regulation, will give adequate assurance that such land was not acquired for the purpose of placing it in the program, except that this sentence shall not be construed to prohibit the continuation of an agreement by a new owner or operator after an agreement has once been entered into under this Act, A person who has operated the land to be covered by an agreement under this Act for as long as two years preceding the date of the agreement and who controls the land for the agreement period shall not be required to own the land as a condition of eligibility for entering into the agreement. Nothing in this section shall prevent an owner or operator from placing land in the program if the land was acquired by the owmer or operator to replace eligible land from which he was displaced because of its acquisition by any Federal, State, or other agency having the right of eminent domain.