This law (16 U.S.C. 1301-1311) provides for “ water banking” agreements between the federal government (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and landowners in important migratory waterfowl nesting and breeding areas for the conservation of wetlands. The agreements must be for a minimum of 10 years and allow for 10 year renewals. Agreements provide for limitations on the use of land in exchange for yearly payments at rates intended to compensate owners for current land and crop values in relation to the obligations undertaken.
Participation in the water bank program does not preclude an owner from participating in other federal or state programs designed to conserve or protect wetlands, including conservation, environmental or natural resource easement arrangements.
The law includes a Congressional declaration of policy which sets forth the value and public interest in preserving, conserving and restoring surface waters and wetlands. These values include preserving and improving habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife resources, among others.