Federal conservation laws have cut the rate of wetland loss in the U.S. by about 80 percent, according to a report released yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Between 1986 and 1997, the report said, the lower 48 states lost an average of 58,500 acres of wetlands a year, compared to 290,000 acres a year from the mid-1970s to ’80s (when there were many more wetlands acres left to destroy). The report noted that the goal of no net loss of wetlands has yet to be met. It said development, farming, and forestry projects accounted for most of the remaining loss of wetlands. (The U.S. Supreme Court did its part for wetland loss yesterday, siding against the feds in their efforts to protect a wetland area in Illinois.)