|ASWM keeps its finger on the pulse of new developments in wetland science. Hot topics in wetland science today include wetland assessment methods, wetland mapping, wildlife stream crossings, vernal pools, sudden wetland dieback, hypoxia, invasive species, the 2010 Gulf oil spill and wetland restoration, climate change and its impacts on wetlands, such as sea level rise and carbon sequestration as a possible solution for reducing greenhouse gases. |
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It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and preserve it. — Edward Abbey
2010 Gulf Oil Spill
( 18 Articles )
In April 2010, the B.P. owned Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf through several complex system failures. ASWM has been tracking news of the spill's impact on coastal wetlands in the Gulf. If you're looking for Gulf oil spill news stories, click here. Below find information on clean-up and restoration activities in the wake of the Gulf oil spill as well as links to federal agencies and organizations that are handling the restoration of coastal wetlands in the Gulf.
The oil is not gone. This story is not over. We smelled it in the air. We felt it in the water. People along the Gulf Coast are getting sick and sicker. Marshes are burned. Oysters are scarce and shrimp are tainted. Jobs are gone and stress is high. What is now hidden will surface over time.– Terry Tempest Williams
Latest Gulf Oil Spill News here (2012)
( 45 Articles )
ASWM keeps its finger on the pulse of new developments in wetland science. Hot topics in wetland science today include wetland assessment methods, wetland mapping, wildlife stream crossings, vernal pools, sudden wetland dieback, hypoxia, invasive species, the 2010 Gulf oil spill and wetland restoration, climate change and its impacts on wetlands, such as sea level rise and carbon sequestration as a possible solution for reducing greenhouse gases.
( 73 Articles )
Wetland managers face a new set of challenges when addressing the impacts from global climate change. From wetlands protection to management, there are many new and emerging factors included in a growing body of knowledge about climate change and its effects on wetlands. Sea level rise, carbon sequestration, methane and invasive species are among the many topics in recent discussions about wetlands and climate change. It is ASWM's goal to facilitate a working dialogue and to establish an informative resource on this ever-increasingly important topic.
Impact of Sea Level Rise to Wetlands
( 8 Articles )
Sea level rise is a phenomenon associated with global climate change. As sea temperatures rise a few degrees, large ice sheets melt in Arctic waters, causing the sea level to rise in a range of 1-3 inches along coasts throughout the world. There are many hypotheses about projected sea level rise and its potential impacts on coastal wetlands. ASWM keeps a finger on the pulse of ongoing research in this developing area of wetland science and policy. For sea level rise-related tools, such as videos, webinars, models, training opportunities to use those tools, click here.
( 32 Articles )
Wetlands are among the ecosystems which will be most affected by even small changes in climate and resulting changes in hydrologic regimes such as sea level rise and decreased surface and ground water levels in the West. Many wetlands will be destroyed; rare and endangered plants and animals will be threatened in others. “Blue carbon” is the type of carbon that is stored in wetlands and has the potential to be released into the atmosphere if the wetland is converted or damaged or lost.
( 9 Articles )
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has measured wetland losses for half a century and subsequently produced periodic Status and Trends studies on the nation's wetlands. These reports are based on a statistical sampling of the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) maps that focus on wetland acreage. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is underway with a national wetlands condition assessment. States and tribes also conduct wetland assessments--and have developed a number of tools for assessment, such as Rapid Assessment Methods (RAM), criteria for determining functions, values, ecosystem services; and ecological integrity assessments, using biological indicators. Local governments and nonprofit organizations may employ similar and other wetland assessment methods specific to their locality.
Climate Change Adaptation
( 57 Articles )
Adaptation is a term that refers to a type of climate change mitigation. When applied to wetlands, adaptation refers to the actions pertaining to wetland processes, wetland management practices, or wetland functions to reduce or offset potential adverse impacts of climate change. State and federal government agencies have begun to explore and adopt adaptation strategies as part of their climate change action plans, or goals for future actions. For example, states may be looking at ways to incorporate climate change adaptation into their wetlands protection program, with some overlapping goals in both regulatory and resource management areas. Adaptation strategies for coastal and freshwater wetlands are explored in ASWM's Recommendations for a National Wetlands and Climate Change Initiative paper (2009).
ASWM's State Wetland Climate Change Adaptation Summaries (2010) is posted here. These summaries are updated on an ongoing basis as information about new tools and adaptation planning becomes available for each state. These summaries have been updated in 2013.
For a list Climate Change Adaptation Resources, click here.
State Wetland Climate Change Adaptation Summaries
( 51 Articles )
To access the State Wetland Climate Change Adaptation Summaries main page, click here.
( 8 Articles )
In different parts of the U.S., vernal pools, which are seasonal wetlands, appear differently in the environment. They are characteristically seasonal depressional wetlands that fill up with water in the spring after snowmelt and spring rains. Wood frogs, spotted salamanders and blue spotted salamanders, fairy shrimp are a few of the species known to occur in vernal pools. These frogs can be heard in the springtime (known locally as "peepers" in some areas) when they are calling to their mates in vernal pools.
After they spawn, the frogs and salamanders leave the vernal pools and go to upland areas, sometimes miles away from the pool. Vernal pools present a unique opportunity for teaching kids and the public about the importance of wetlands, as they hold flood waters, improve water quality in the watershed and provide unique habitat for those species that require the protection of vernal pools to breed. Vernal pools dry out during the summer so it is easiest to find them during spring.
Sea Level Rise Tools
( 7 Articles )
There is a growing area of science and technology that wetland managers and scientists are using to better understand the impact of sea level rise on coastal wetlands. Here are tools of the trade: webinars, videos, climate change/sea level rise models, modules, toolkits and training opportunities on how to use these tools.
( 3 Articles )
Since ASWM published its article on Coastal Wetland Dieback in 2006, researchers have continued to study the phenomenon with varying results and conclusions. Wetland “dieback” encompasses a number of incidences, including “sudden wetland dieback,” “marsh browning,” and naturally-occurring wetland dieback. If you are aware of a study that has been published that is not yet listed below, please contact us with the information.
( 27 Articles )
Wetlands One-Stop: Providing Easy Online Access to Geospatial Data on Wetlands and Soils and Related Information
The Association of State Wetland Managers in collaboration with Virginia Tech’s Conservation Management Institute (CMI) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region have created Wetlands One-Stop Mapping to provide easy online access to geospatial data on wetlands and soils produced by federal and state agencies. Because different agencies post data on their own sites, there is not a single place to go for this information. Wetlands One-Stop Mapping provides links to these and other websites. It provides online access to classification tools for adding hydrogeomorphic-type to wetland inventory data and the results of National Wetlands Inventory+ projects (maps and reports). The geospatial information is linked to aerial imagery (and topographic maps) through ESRI’s ArcGIS (including ArcGIS Explorer) for easy viewing of wetlands, their characteristics, and functions for areas where NWI+ data are available.
The website also provides links to other federal and state websites that contain information on wetlands and geospatial wetland data. Among the national datasets accessible via Wetlands One-Stop Mapping are the NWI’s wetlands mapper, USDA’s web soil survey, USGS’s national hydrography data and hydrologic units (HUCs). Links are also provided to NatureServe Explorer and the U.S. National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy Explorer along with guidance on how to extract descriptions of wetland plant communities from those sites for specific areas of interest.
The site also provides information about the activities of the Wetland Mapping Consortium including future and past recorded webinars, Coastal Mapping Resources, a summary of the status of state wetland mapping and links to federal and state wetland delineation manuals, numerous wetland publications, and federal agency wetland program websites.