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Picture of the Week

Field Trip To New Orleans, ASWM Staff and Friends

In Pursuit of Wetlands

On a recent trip to New Orleans ASWM staff and friends got a chance to visit wetlands on a circumnavigation (by car) of Lake Pontchartrain.  The impromptu field trip included stops at the St. Tammary, Big Branch Marsh and Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuges as well as human populated communities including Mandeville, Manchac and the East Area of New Orleans.

Pictured here (left to right are: Rob Brooks, Jim Rives (driver and tour guide par excellence) Regina Poeske, Marla Stelk and Jeanne Christie.

To view past pictures of the week, click here.


Government Liability and Climate Change: Selected Legal Issues

Draft Report: Request for Review

No court has yet held a governmental unit liable for failure to reflect climate change in its programs with resulting increased flood damages to private property. However courts have widely held governments liable in cases involving more traditional flooding and erosion for increasing flood damages on upstream, downstream or adjacent lands.  And, successful suits with climate-change elements or based primarily on climate change where flooding and damages caused by government actions or inactions are increased or would not ordinarily occur may be expected in the coming years. This is particularly true where scientific studies quantify climate change and increases in the frequency and intensity of flooding. This paper is one of several prepared by Jon Kusler, Esq., ASWM Founder and Associate Director, to help governments understand their potential liability for failing to take into account climate change in  flood-related programs and activities or for adopting floodplain regulations reflecting climate change. To download the report, click here. Please provide any e-mail comments or suggestions by August 15, 2014 to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; 518-872-1804; or write Jon Kusler at 1434 Helderberg Trail, Berne, NY 12023 [Word document for comments.]


Setting the Record Straight on Waters of the US

Nancy Stoner, Acting Assistant Administrator for Water – EPA Connect – June 30, 2014

There’s been some confusion about EPA’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule under the Clean Water Act, especially in the agriculture community, and we want to make sure you know the facts.

We know that we haven’t had the best relationship with the agriculture industry in the past, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t and we can’t do better.  We are committed to listening to farmers and ranchers and in fact, our proposed rule takes their feedback into account.

The rule keeps intact all Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture that farmers count on. But it does more for farmers by actually expanding those exemptions. We worked with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Army Corps of Engineers to exempt 56 additional conservation practices. These practices are familiar to many farmers, who know their benefits to business, the land, and water resources.

Farmers and ranchers are on the land every day, and they are our nation’s original conservationists. The American agriculture economy is the envy of the world, and today’s farmers and ranchers are global business professionals—relying on up-to-the minute science to make decisions about when to plant, fertilize, and irrigate crops. To read full blog post, click here.


Changes to Clean Water Act Jurisdiction & the New Interpretive Rule

On Wednesday, March 25, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers released the official draft rule to clarify jurisdiction over streams and wetlands. The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) has been following the rulemaking process for two years, and has been actively involved with other organizations in interpreting the proposed clarifications and their implications for managing wetlands, streams, floodplains and water quality. ASWM's Executive Director, Jeanne Christie, wrote a blog in March to summarize the new proposed rule. On April 24, she wrote a blog with updated information on the new proposed rule as well as its unexpected companion, the Interpretive Rule. You may find other information and links on the ASWM Clean Water Act webpage here.


Help us Save the National Wetlands Inventory

The future of the National Wetlands Inventory is at risk. The National Wetlands Inventory program is one of the oldest and most frequently used government mapping resources. However, its capacity to fulfill its mission has been National Wetlands Inventorycompromised by a gradual but significant decrease in financial support for the program and redirection of existing funding to other program areas by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Please add your organization as a co-signer on our open letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, Dan Ashe, urging him to continue funding and increase support for the National Wetlands Inventory. You can view the letter and add your name by clicking here.

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ASWM Calendar of Wetland Events

ASWM Calender of EventsFor a calendar of wetland events, meetings, conferences, and courses nationwide, visit the ASWM calendar.


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