Estuarine Areas Act Law and Legal Definition

The Estuarine Areas Act (“Act”) is a federal legislation enacted in 1968. The Act pointed out the values of estuaries and the need to conserve their natural resources. Provisions relating to the Act are found under 16 USCS §§ 1224 through 1226. This Act provides for a federal study and inventory of estuaries of the U.S in order to determine if these areas should be acquired by the federal government for protection. The Act also authorized the Secretary of the Interior to enter into cost sharing agreements with States and subdivisions for permanent management of estuarine areas in their possession.

Additionally, the Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to encourage State and local governments to consider the importance of estuaries and their natural resources in their planning activities related to federal natural resource grants. In approving any state grants for acquisition of estuaries, the Secretary was required to establish conditions to ensure the permanent protection of estuaries, including a condition that the lands not be disposed of without the prior approval of the Secretary.