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Section 5.  Nonregulatory Methods of Wetland Protection


In many instances, implementing a local government wetland regulatory program may be infeasible due to the time, expense, and/or logistics involved.  Some communities may want methods in place to preserve wetland and watershed functions without adding a third or fourth layer of regulations. These methods can involve conservation easements, deed restrictions, donations to a land trust, grants from state and federal governments or funding secured through bonds to purchase unique or important wetland watershed areas.  The resources provided describe the methods in considerable detail and provide contacts and bibliographies for additional assistance.  In most of these instances the landowner, non-profit, or state or federal government shares the costs with the local government. 

A large-scale example of nonregulatory wetland and watershed protection is the New York City Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program. This program is a unique willing seller/willing buyer program through which the City acquires property and conservation easements at fair market value. More information about the program may be found at An excellent resource on using land conservation to improve water quality is the Trust for Public Land's report, "Building Green Infrastrusture: Land Conservation as Water Protection Strategy"that is available in hard copy or PDF file through their website.

Information about the numerous USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service resource protection programs may be found in Section 8 and Section 10.1 of the Toolkit.




  • Conservation Options:  A Landowner’s Guide.  How to Protect Your Land for Future Generations.  Land Trust Alliance, 1993. To order additional copies call 202-638-4725    
  • Voters Invest in Open Space – 1999 Referenda Results. Land Trust Alliance, 2000.
  • Wetlands Assistance Guide – Voluntary Wetlands Stewardship Options for Your Private Landowners. National Association of Conservation Districts.
  • Strategies for Saving Wetlands: A Summary. Seattle Audubon Society/WetNet, 1997.
  • Economic Impacts of Protecting Rivers, Trails, and Greenway Corridors: A Resource Book. National Park Service, 1995.

Relevant Websites:

Land Trust Alliance
The Trust for Public Land
Restore America’s Estuaries
American Farmland Trust NY Chapter
Ducks Unlimited
The Nature Conservancy
National Association of Conservation Districts