IV. PROTECTION STRATEGIES
A variety of approaches and strategies exists for the protection of valuable wildlife habitats; each provides different degrees of protection and requires different levels of commitment by regulatory agencies, conservation organizations and landowners. These techniques range from the establishment of conservation easements, cooperative management agreements, zoning and land-use regulations, comprehensive planning, enforcement of existing local, state and Federal regulations, tax incentives, mutual covenants and land exchanges to fee simple acquisition. All four states in the study region have enacted special laws to protect coastal wetlands; these laws vary considerably in their degree of protection. Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 mandate a strong Federal role for protecting the Nation's coastal wetlands and have proved to be very effective regulatory mechanisms for protecting wetland habitats in general. Federal permits are required for most types of construction in estuarine wetlands. While the regulatory tools to protect coastal wetlands are in place, continued enforcement of existing laws is required to maintain the integrity of the remaining wetlands. The Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act are also used extensively by the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to provide protection to species listed under them. In addition to regulation, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 removes Federal subsidies and discourages development of designated coastal barriers and adjacent wetlands. Executive Order 11990 - "Protection of Wetlands" - requires Federal agencies to develop guidelines to minimize destruction and degradation of wetlands and to preserve and enhance wetland values.
Successful application of these protection mechanisms can be enhanced through their use in concert with each other and in partnership with all parties involved. Selection of the most appropriate and effective combination of protection techniques and strategies should be determined only through careful consideration of the unique conditions and circumstances that apply to each individual site or complex.
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