WatershedsWetlands 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.

Publications & Resources

TEEB – April 5, 2013

Historically there has been a lack of understanding about the multiple values of water and wetlands. The values of these ecosystems have seldom been adequately acknowledged or taken into account in the policy making and private decision making processes. This has been a contributing factor to the continuous loss and degradation of water-related ecosystems and wetlands that we are experiencing. Improving awareness on the importance and values of nature is crucial for better governance and supports conservation, wise use and restoration of wetlands, while helping achieve development objectives. For full report, click here.


The Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) Tools Network is one of the premier sources of information about coastal and marine planning and management tools in the United States and internationally. Coastal and marine planning and management tools help practitioners incorporate scientific and socioeconomic information into decision making. The mission of the Network is to promote healthy coastal and marine ecosystems and communities through the use of tools that help incorporate ecosystem considerations into management. The Network works to connect coastal and marine practitioners with appropriate tools through a wide variety of outreach and training activities. The EBM Tools Network is currently focusing on tools for 1) Climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning; 2) Ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning; and 3) Integrated land-sea planning to minimize the impacts of land use on coastal and marine environments. Visit the EBM Tools Network here.

UNEP – 2012

This report on the Study of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Water and Wetlands was commissioned by the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention and prepared by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) team. The “nexus” between water, food and energy has been recognised as one of the most fundamental relationships and challenges for society. The importance of this nexus was re-emphasised at the recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012. Wetlands2 are a fundamental part of local and global water cycles and are at the heart of this nexus. Wetlands are essential in providing water-related ecosystem services, such as clean water for drinking, water for agriculture, cooling water for the energy sector and regulating water quantity (e.g. flood regulation). In conjunction with their role in erosion control and sediment transport, wetlands also contribute to land formation and therefore resilience to storms. Moreover, they provide a wide range of services that are dependent on water, such as agricultural production, fisheries and tourism. Notwithstanding the high value of the ecosystem services that wetlands provide to humankind, wetlands continue to be degraded or lost due to the effects of intensive agricultural production, irrigation for food provision, water extraction for domestic and industrial use, urbanisation, infrastructure and industrial development and pollution. To download report, click here.

EPA is releasing a draft Model Program for Onsite Programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed for public comment. The draft provides technical information regarding the elements of a model program for onsite wastewater treatment systems that incorporates key recommendations for the effective and efficient management of onsite nitrogen treatment systems. The document is part of EPA’s effort to collaborate with state and local partners in promoting nitrogen reductions from onsite systems in support of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

Contact: Brett Kitchen – Environmental Law Institute – October 17, 2012

Developed in partnership with the Land Trust Alliance, this ELI resource provides the land trust community and others with the tools necessary to understand the opportunities and liabilities associated with taking on the long-term stewardship of a compensatory mitigation project. The new handbook – Wetland and Stream Mitigation:  A Handbook for Land Trusts – helps land trusts get up to speed on the requirements and nuances of the federal wetland and stream regulatory program and evaluate the potential liabilities associated with such a project. For more information, click here. To download this free report, click here.