Wetlands are a part of a larger watershed context. A watershed is an area of land where all of the water is somehow connected to each other (above ground or underground) in a water system made up of a tributary of headwater streams, different kinds of wetlands, lakes or ponds (or both), rivers, creeks and/or major streams, flowing into another water body, possibly a large lake, large river, or ocean. Often when wetland managers talk about protecting wetlands, they are also considering the watershed (streams, lakes, ponds, other waters, ocean) that are part of the bigger picture.
A record drought in summer 2012 for much of the U.S. had significant impacts on agriculture and lowered the level of the Mississippi River. It also improved the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, due to decreased farming, but left much of the coastal communities along the Mississippi unprepared for the historic storm, Hurricane Isaac, that would sweep through the Gulf and travel up the river in late August 2012. For articles and reports on the impacts of the drought onto wetlands and natural resources along the Mississippi River and connected ecosystems, please peruse the articles linked below.
Hurricane Isaac of August 2012, a historic storm, powered up the Mississippi River, unexpectedly going where water had not gone before. The impact was devastating on coastal communities along the river and in Louisiana, stranding cattle and livestock, drowning thousands of invasive nutria and eroding coastal wetlands. ASWM has posted a number of links to articles and resources, news reports and blogs on the impacts of Hurricane Isaac and other hurricanes on wetlands and the Mississippi River.
The Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance (NFFA) is an affiliation of nonprofit and private organizations, government agencies and individuals dedicated to the protection and preservation of the natural functions of floodplains, including coastal areas. As a founding member of the NFFA, the Association of State Wetland Managers is pleased to provide a place on its website, but ASWM is one of many NFFA members and these webpages represent the collective work and contributions of NFFA member organizations. These webpages provide information about NFFA, its activities and publications and reports useful to those interested in learning more about the importance of natural floodplains. NFFA was established to “promote, protect, and enhance the protection, restoration, and management of natural floodplain resources.” Members share information and may elect to coordinate actions on issues of interest, but the Natural Floodplain Function Alliance does not take formal positions on matters of national policy, guidance or legislation. For a copy of the Natural Floodplain Function Alliance mission statement, goals and objectives click here.
For more information or if you are interested in joining the alliance, please contact Dave Fowler with the Association of State Floodplain Managers or Jeanne Christie (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the Association of State Wetland Managers.
ASWM has been involved with the discussion on wetlands in the context of floodplains, flooding events and other natural hazards for over 20 years. ASWM recently published its draft report, "Assessing the Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains" here. In addition to the resources published here, please also visit the Association of State Floodplain Managers, a long-time partner and "sister" organization of ASWM's.
For floods and natural hazard resources and publications, click here.
Wetlands are a part of a larger watershed context. A watershed is an area of land where all of the water is somehow connected to each other (above ground or underground) in a water system made up of a tributary of headwater streams, different kinds of wetlands, lakes or ponds (or both), rivers, creeks and/or major streams, flowing into another water body, possibly a large lake, large river, or ocean. Often when wetland managers talk about protecting wetlands, they are also considering the watershed (streams, lakes, ponds, other waters, ocean) that are part of the bigger picture. On this webpage, there are resources and publications related to watersheds.
It is like water seeping – into the most unexpected places, rising, falling, rising, filling the basins of the human heart.– Terry Tempest Williams
Common Questions: Establishing Local Government Wetlands and Watershed Management Programs
by Jon Kusler, Association of State Wetland Managers, Inc. (6/26/06) This guide is based upon several more detailed reports available from ASWM including Wetlands and Watershed Management, A Guidebook for Local Governments and Wetlands and Watershed Management: A Collection of Papers. To download guide in PDF, click here.
Multi-Objective Wetland Restoration in Watershed Contexts
by Jon Kusler, Ph.D., Association of State Wetland Managers, Inc. (11/1/04)This report focuses on multi-objective wetland restoration projects. Fifteen case study profiles are included.To view report in PDF, click here.
Since the events of the Mississippi River floods of 2011, ASWM has kept a finger on the pulse of important media coverage, valuable information, reports --especially as related to wetlands and floodplains management, and interesting blog posts. This page is updated regularly. The information is sorted below into groups to aid in finding information about the flooding events and subsequent coverage.
The record drought of 2012 continued in many parts of the Mississippi Basin at the beginning of 2013. With spring comes snow melt, rain and floods of varying degrees to the Mississippi watershed. Flooding is often regional so certain parts of the watershed may have too much water while others have too little. For articles and reports on the impacts of continuing drought, excessive rainfall and other climatic events along the Mississippi River in 2013, please review the articles linked to below.