WHEREAS, wetlands provide, protect and preserve drinking water supplies by purifying surface and groundwater; and

WHEREAS, wetlands provide a natural means of flood and storm damage protection through the absorption and storage of water during high runoff periods, thereby reducing flood crests and preventing loss of life and property; and

WHEREAS, wetlands maintain surface waters through the gradual release of stored floodwaters and ground water, particularly during drought periods; and

WHEREAS, wetlands often serve as transition zones between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and function as buffer zones which retard soil erosion and reduce non-point sources of pollution; and

WHEREAS, wetlands provide recreational, educational, and scientific opportunities for Missouri citizens; and

WHEREAS, wetlands provide economic as well as ecological benefits; and

WHEREAS, approximately ninety percent of the state's original 4.8 million acres of wetlands have been drained, dredged, filled, or otherwise eliminated; and

WHEREAS, it is in the public interest to protect the functions and values provided by wetlands; and

WHEREAS, there is no comprehensive state wetland protection law; and

WHEREAS, state government should lead by example by eliminating wetland losses due to activities of state agencies and where possible protect and restore wetlands to maintain or increase the resource base;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Mel Carnahan, Governor of the State of Missouri, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby direct all state executive agencies to implement the following wetland protection policies and procedures:

  1. All state executive agencies shall adopt their immediate goal of no overall net loss in acreage, function, and value of Missouri's remaining wetland resource base.
  2. All state executive agencies shall adopt the long term goal to increase the quantity and quality of Missouri's wetlands.
  3. All state executive agencies shall formally incorporate and comply with the following sequential policy procedures:

    Avoid any activity which would adversely impact an existing, natural wetland. Unless proven otherwise, an alternative, non-wetland location is presumed to exist in which the agency could achieve its objective.

    Minimize the degree or magnitude of the unavoidable wetland impact and, if practicable, rectify the wetland impact by repairing/restoring the impacted environment.

    Reduce or eliminate unavoidable wetland impacts over time through practicable restoration/enhancement operations during the life of the project.

    Mitigate all unavoidable wetland impacts by restoring, if practicable, an equivalent wetland resource, considering acreage, function and value.

  4. All state executive agencies shall ensure that construction activities performed or funded by the state comply with the policies and procedures set forth in this executive order.
  5. All state executive agencies shall ensure future agency plans, contracts, and grant applications and awards comply with the policies and procedures set forth in this executive order.
  6. All state executive agencies shall seek opportunities within the agency for voluntary wetland restoration.
  7. All local governments in this state are encouraged to make their policies and actions consistent with this Executive Order.
  8. Nothing in this executive order shall apply to emergency work which is essential to save lives or protect public health and safety.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 31st day of January, 1996.

[Mel Carnahan's signature]


[Rebecca McDowell Cook's signature]

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