In 2009, the U.S. EPA (EPA) convened a short-term work group of States, Tribes and ASWM to review and provide comments on the Enhancing State and Tribal Programs (ESTP) and the Core Elements Framework (CEF). The CEF was developed as a product of the ESTP to be a resource for states and tribes, in particular those that are building their wetland programs. The goal of the ESTP Initiative is to enhance EPA’s delivery of technical and financial support for state and tribal wetlands programs, with the goal of accelerating program development. It provides a good overall framework for understanding the scope of state and tribal wetland programs. The CEF outlines the core elements of a state or tribal wetland program, describes each core element, and provides a comprehensive menu of program-building activities for each core element.

The CEF is intended to be fairly comprehensive so that states and tribes can choose from an array of actions that are best suited to their goals and resources. The CEF is designed as a menu of activities that states and tribes can draw from to design their own roadmap towards a more comprehensive wetland program. States and tribes will implement the CEF depending on their individual program goals and available resources. EPA recommends that states and tribes consult the CEF in identifying goals and next steps for program development. EPA Regional Offices will use the CEF as a basis for program development discussions with states and tribes.

The Wetland Program Development Grants (WPDG) are EPA's primary source of financial support for state and tribal programs.  Wetland Program Development Grant Requests for Proposals reference the CEF and ask that proposals describe how the project links with one or more program development actions in the CEF.

The four focus areas of the CEF are:

For information on developing Wetland Program plans that incorporate the Core Elements Framework, click here.

For the complete CEF: Introduction to the CEF, program building activities and helpful links: Core Elements of an Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Program | PDF Version