Wetland programs are administered at local, state and federal levels. State wetland programs fall into several categories: 1) regulatory, 2) restoration, 3) water quality (or Pollution Control), 4) monitoring/assessment, 5) wetland mapping, 6) wildlife/fisheries and sometimes 7) Coastal Zone Management. Additionally, there is sometimes a mitigation component to a state wetland program. At the Federal level, wetland programs mostly fall under the Clean Water Act. Federal agencies involved with wetland programs include the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Section 404 dredge and fill permitting) and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Local wetland programs are run by a number of local governements, including conservation commissions, land trusts, local water districts, water quality and pollution control organizations, counties and other interest groups.
ASWM works closely with a number of federal agencies that protect, monitor/study and regulate wetlands, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These agencies all play a role in protecting and regulating wetlands.
Below you will find an extensive directory of federal agencies that have programs pertaining to wetlands.
State Program Summaries
Two thirds of the United States currently lack regulatory programs that comprehensively address wetlands and isolated wetlands in particular. Of the states that do have regulatory programs, statutes and regulations addressing wetlands and other isolated waters vary substantially. To further understanding of the various approaches available for developing statutory and regulatory language, we have provided links to statutes and regulations in the states with existing programs, click here.
ASWM has prepared a number of reports on the challenges faced by state-level wetland regulatory programs. Each report is available in PDF format and may be viewed and/or downloaded by clicking on the title, below:
Wetland Program Plans: A Strategic Tool for States & Tribes (March 2012) by Leah Stetson
Section 401 Certification Best Practices in Dredge and Fill Permit Programs (January 2012) by ASWM
The SWANCC Decision: State Regulation of Wetlands to Fill the Gap (March 4, 2004) by Jon Kusler, Esq.
Model State Wetland Statute to Close the Gap Created by SWANCC (February 22, 2001) by Jon Kusler, Esq.
Common Questions: State Wetland Regulatory Programs (June 26, 2006) by Jon Kusler, Esq., and Jeanne Christie.
This website is for review by States and Tribes only. Information on this site is under development and should not be shared or distributed to other parties.
State Wetland Program Summaries
This page provides links to summaries of state wetland programs. The summaries encompass a comprehensive suite of programs including wetland regulation and mitigation, wetland water quality standards, monitoring and assessment, voluntary restoration, tax incentives, coordination and public/private partnerships. State programs vary substantially from state to state. These program summaries were provided to ASWM by individual states at the Association's request. Program descriptions for each state follow a standardized format to allow comparison of state programs across the country. Therefore, some states will lack programs under certain topics, but have extensive information in other program areas. The state wetland and related water resource programs described below often derive their authorities from more than one statute and/or regulation. As a result different programs may be administered by different agencies. While ASWM in partnership with the states has tried to provide a comprehensive description of each state's wetland programs, programs may change from year to year and parts of the state report may need to be updated. States that would like to revise or update the reports posted here can contact email@example.com to make changes and revise any state report.
Programmatic General Permit (PGP) - A type of regulatory permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) which authorizes states, local governments, tribes, or other federal agencies with regulatory programs comparable to the Corps' Section 10 or 404 Program to issue permits for specified activities in lieu of direct Corps' issuance of such permits.
State Programmatic General Permit (SPGP) - A type of PGP that is administered by a state agency and designed to eliminate duplication of effort between Corps districts and states, as well as to make the permitting process more efficient with flexibility as to the geographic region covered and whether nationwide permits are revoked.
Regional General Permit (RGP) - A type of PGP that is issued by the Corps with certain conditions that pertain to a limited(regional) geographic area; it can be used to modify or in place of nationwides (the role of various states).
General Authorization (GA) - A type of permit that is issued by a state for specific types of minimal impact projects, e.g. Oregon's GA.
See the articles below for more information about these types of regulatory action.
Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act defines a permitting program for dredge and fill activities in wetlands and other waters of the United States. Section 404 also allows a state or tribe to administer its own permit program to regulate these activities in lieu of the federal program for most nontidal waters, given approval from the EPA. In 2010, the Association of State Wetland Managers and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) convened a national workgroup to facilitate state and tribal “assumption” of the Section 404 Program.
Clean Water Act Section 404 Program Assumption: A Handbook for States and Tribes
The In-Lieu Fee Program Work Group is a special project supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The purpose is to assist interested states and tribes in meeting the requirements for the mitigation rule for In Lieu Fee Programs. This is accomplished through a national workgroup of state and Corps District staff and other interested parties. Work group members share ideas and information about progress and challenges in meeting the requirements of the rule.
Water quality is an important factor in managing wetlands. Water quality in wetlands is affected by the type of soil, vegetation, position on the landscape, topography, water quantity (amount of flow), climate, groundwater and surface water chemistry, and hydrology. States are increasingly interested in developing water quality standards for wetlands which may differ in criteria from water quality standards for streams or lakes. Water quality standards are a legally established state regulation consisting of three main parts: (1) designated uses, (2) criteria and (3) anti-degradation policy, and often a fourth part, general policies addressing implementation.
Water Quality Standards for Wetlands are one component of the U.S. EPA’s Core Elements Framework. To view the EPA’s webpage on water quality standards for wetlands, click here.
This webpage provides information on stream identification, delineation and mitigation in the United States. On this page, you will find an overview of stream-related issues, pertinent regulatory documents, examples of state stream mitigation programs and mitigation banks, links to guidance documents (including procedures and protocols) and other useful information, such as links to tools and techniques, valuation information, and a glossary of stream mitigation terms.
In 2014, ASWM completed a national study on stream identification, delineation and mitigation in the United States. The project interviewed state staff from 47 states. To read the executive summary from the report: (Link to be added). To download the full report, entitled, Report on State Definitions, Jurisdiction and Mitigation Requirements in State Programs for Ephemeral, Intermittent and Perennial Streams in the United States, click here.