Future Webinars: Improving Wetland Restoration Success Project

The Association of State Wetland Managers is busy working on confirmation of webinar topics and presenters for 2016. Below you will find a draft list of future webinars to give you an idea of what we’re working on. Topics and dates are subject to change.

Long-term Management & Legal Protections for Voluntary Restoration

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 3:00 p.m. ET



Abstract: Ellen Fred, Esq., Conservation Partners

This presentation will discuss some of the various legal instruments available to ensure long-term protections for wetlands. A conservation easement is a legal tool used to ensure that property remains in its natural and ecological condition in perpetuity. Easements are typically crafted as negative covenants—i.e., telling a landowner what actions she cannot undertake—but in certain circumstances they can be tailored to include certain affirmative obligations, including restoration. Easements are often used as a means to protect the public and private investment in restoration projects and can also incorporate management plans and other land-use mechanisms to ensure that the long-term management of the property is conducted in a manner that protects and enhances the restored features of a property.

Abstract: Ted LaGrange, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

There are a number of options available to address voluntary wetland restoration, including on private lands.  Some examples that I will briefly touch on include: technical assistance, short-term agreements, long-term agreements, conservation easements, and fee-title ownership.  Regardless of the option used to enable the wetland restoration, it is extremely important to plan for and to implement the long-term management needed to sustain the wetland.  I will discuss why management is so important and some of the ways to accomplish the management needed.

Abstract: Jeff Williams, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Andrew James, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP): Building partnerships with landowners to voluntarily protect and restore wetlands with the Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) component.

ACEP-WRE provides opportunities for landowners (including tribes) to restore, restore, and enhance wetlands. The USA acquires either 30 year or perpetual conservation easements using a standard template conservation easement. NRCS will pay either up to 75% of estimated costs of restoration for 30 year easements or up to 100% of restoration costs for perpetual easements. Landowners must meet specific eligibility criteria. Proposed wetland parcels must meet both legal and technical criteria to be eligible for WRE. Policy describes the ranking process by which proposed parcels compete on a state-wide basis. Detailed guidance is provided for the acquisition process. A preliminary and final restoration plan is created in collaboration with the landowner that meets the goals and objectives of the necessary restoration while meeting Agency standards and specifications. Long term management, operation and maintenance, compatible uses, annual monitoring, as well as violations and enforcement procedures are addressed in policy.


Ellen Fred has been practicing land conservation law for 13 years. Ellen serves clients on all aspects of land conservation law, including drafting and customizing conservation easements and related documents, analyzing the state and federal income, gift, and estate tax implications of employing various conservation approaches, negotiating with landowners, tax-exempt organizations, and governmental agencies, and managing mitigation projects. Ms. Fred is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to appear before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to establishing her solo practice, Ms. Fred was with the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP, where she practiced for four years in its land conservation section. Ms. Fred has published various articles on land conservation issues in the Hastings Law Journal and The Back Forty Journal of Land Conservation Law and has presented at numerous conferences on land conservation topics. She graduated with high honors and high distinction in Russian and Eastern European Studies from the University of Michigan in 1993 and earned her law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and the Thurston Society.

Ted LaGrange
An Iowa native, Ted moved to Nebraska in 1993 to work as the Wetland Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.  As Wetland Program Manager he works on a wide variety of wetland issues throughout the state including private land restoration programs, public lands management, resource advocacy and outreach.  Prior to moving to Nebraska, he worked for 8 years as a Waterfowl Research Technician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Clear Lake.  Stationed in northern Iowa, he worked with the prairie pothole restoration program, especially evaluation of plant and waterfowl response to wetland restoration.   Ted received B.S. and M.S. degrees in wildlife biology from Iowa State University.  During his college years he spent summers working on refuges in Oregon and New York for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, working on a muskrat ecology study on the Upper Mississippi River, and working on the Marsh Ecology Research Project for Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station in Manitoba.  His professional interests are in prairie wetlands and waterfowl/waterbird ecology. 

Jeff Williams is employed by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a Wetland Easement Specialist and Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP) Manager in Washington, DC. He has previously served as an easement Specialist for Utah NRCS working with local and national partners implementing both repealed conservation easement programs for the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP), and Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) as well as the new conservation easement programs in ACEP. He has worked for the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and Department of Army. He has a BS in Range Science and MA in Economics from Utah State University.

Andrew James currently serves as the National Program Manager for the Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) component of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Washington, D.C.  Before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2014, Andrew served as the Conservation Easement Program Coordinator for Louisiana NRCS (2010 – 2014) and Arkansas NRCS (2006 – 2010).  Prior to his employment with NRCS, Andrew served as the State Waterfowl Biologists for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in Little Rock, AR from 2002 - 2006.  He earned a BS in Wildlife Conservation from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA and an MS in Wildlife Biology from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR. 

December - Break

[Past Webinars]