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We determined drainage rates for wetlands in North and South Dakota with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 20-year easements, during (1961-1980) and after (1981-1984) contract protection. Average annual drainage rates were 10 times higher during the four postcontract years than during the 20 contract years on the same tracts of land. Twenty-year easements only delayed wetland drainage, and are of limited value for securing a long-term habitat base.
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Comparison of wetland drainage during and after protection by 20-year easements