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The Three Swamp Lands Acts were passed in 1849, 1850, and 1860 to facilitate the development of “swamp and overflowed lands”—known today as wetlands—by transferring their title to 15 individual states. “An Act to aid the State of Louisiana in draining the Swamp Lands therein” was passed by the U.S. Congress on March 2, 1849, and required that the state appoint a surveyor to define “all the swamp lands therein which are subject to overflow and unfit for cultivation,” that would pass from federal to state ownership. The condition of transfer was that the proceeds from state land sales should be used to aid development of the land by funding public drainage works and levees. The following year, an act was passed extending this program ...

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