Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

For Peats Sake LogoBy Marla J. Stelk, Policy Analyst, ASWM

The term “natural infrastructure” is interpreted broadly and had been used to describe many different types of infrastructure – from bioswales to living shorelines and from wet meadow restoration to removal of dams – and is often used interchangeably with the term “green infrastructure.” Some government agencies and non-profit organizations have developed succinct definitions for each, but more often than not, these definitions differ from one organization to another. One of the reasons for this is because the science and practice for the design and implementation of these types of projects is relatively new – particularly as tools for flood and hazard management – and we are in the middle of a steep learning process. Wetland and floodplain restoration projects have been implemented for over 25 years as a way to restore critical habitat and region7epaprovide clean drinking water. But the interest in the development of these projects has risen rapidly over the past 10 years due to an increase in our knowledge about the functions of healthy wetlands and floodplains and their ability to provide multiple benefits, paired with a significant increase in extreme precipitation events, drought and impaired water quality nationwide.

For several years now, the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) has been hearing anecdotal stories about natural infrastructure projects that can’t quite seem to get off the ground. Most of these are voluntary restoration projects that face the same level of regulatory oversight as compensatory mitigation projects. However, the reasons for the development of a voluntary restoration project versus a compensatory restoration project are often very different. Compensatory mitigation is legally required to offset any losses due to damages or alterations of an existing wetland, whereas voluntary restoration projects are developed to improve an existing site. However, regulatory programs did not anticipate the rapid increase in the interest in voluntary restoration as a form of natural infrastructure and many requirements that were designed (and are necessary) to address potential issues for compensatory mitigation or for traditional hard infrastructure (building dams and levees), are often not a good fit for voluntary restoration projects and in fact, may result in unnecessary delays and expenses that can stop a good project even before it’s shovel ready.

During 2016, ASWM worked with the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and the American Planning Association (APA), as a subcommittee of the Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance Steering Committee, to develop a workshop with the goal of addressing some of these barriers and identify opportunities to revise existing policies and programs to leverage natural infrastructure solutions. By October, we had added The Pew Charitable Trusts to our planning committee and on November 29, 2016 we held our workshop, entitled “Overcoming Policy and Permitting Challenges to Implementing Natural Infrastructure Solutions,” at The Pew Charitable Trusts headquarters in Washington D.C. with around 50 invited participants and speakers.

pewcharitableWe had three speakers provide case studies that highlighted some of the barriers that they have confronted. Rob Evans, Vermont State Floodplain Manager, spoke about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirement for map revisions and floodway regulations that were problematic for a small local project (Cox Brook Dam Removal). He explained that the project was limited in impact, would result in very localized reductions in base flood elevations, and had no impact on insurable buildings. Additionally, the existing flood data was so old that the requirement to update all the data to produce revised maps was cost-prohibitive.

Next, Ted LaGrange from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission spoke about the challenges he faced in implementing a private lands riverine restoration project on a highly altered landscape that included filling a drainage ditch, mechanical excavation to remove invasive cattail and culturally-accelerated sediment, and installing a low-water crossing/rock check structure. He experienced a general lack of consistency and efficiency in dealings with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) in regard to what was considered a complete Pre-Construction Notification (PCN), what type of wetland functional assessment was required and what was acceptable for wetland delineation. It took him about 14 months to obtain a Nationwide Permit #27 authorization, which for most farmers and ranchers is longer than they are willing to wait. Thus many opportunities for protecting and restoring wetlands and floodplains are lost.

The final case study was presented by Eileen Shader from American Rivers who spoke about their Shuford Dam Removal Project in Brookford, North Carolina. Like Rob, she also spoke about barriers created by FEMA’s out of date flood map data, in particular the need to “dumb down” more detailed local models in order to match the much older FEMA models. She also discussed the issue of requiring mitigation to replace acreage of wetlands that were formed by the dam after its removal even though the wetlands were never there historically. All of these issues need to be and can be addressed by FEMA and the ACOE through policy revisions.*

nffaworkshopIn the afternoon we heard from a federal agency panel that included Jennifer Moyer (Regulatory Program Chief, USACE), Cindy Barger (Office of the Assistant Secretary of Army, ACOE Civil Works), Nicole LaRosa (Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Policy Branch, FEMA), Rick Sacbibit (Chief, Engineering Services Branch, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, FEMA) and Maria Honeycutt (Coastal Hazards Specialist, Office for Coastal Management, NOAA and Technical Mapping Advisory Council Subcommittee Member). Each panelist provided their perspectives/reflections from the morning case studies and discussed ways in which each agency could possibly help improve the permitting process. Three primary themes arose from the panel discussion with workshop participants that rang true for all levels of government: 1) a need for sufficient funding and staffing, 2) a need for more professional training for everyone (regulators, wetland managers, practitioners, etc.), and 3) a need for improved communication between federal, state and local agencies/organizations.

The workshop was successful at bringing together a diverse group of organizations, sharing real world experiences, and identifying barriers and potential opportunities by all the various agencies and organizations that participated. Although we were not able to identify immediately implementable solutions in just one day, there was overwhelming consensus that this initiative needs to be continued. The NFFA Steering Committee is currently developing a strawman of actions to undertake in response to the workshop which we will continue to report out on throughout 2017 and beyond, so For Peat’s Sake, stay tuned and get involved with the NFFA. More information about NFFA can be found on ASWM’s website by clicking here.

*Progress Report Update: Since this workshop, the ACOE released the new 2017 Nationwide Permits for work in streams and wetlands under Section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. A new Nationwide 53 is included for removal of low-head dams. ASWM will be hosting a webinar on this new Nationwide within the next few weeks – information will be posted here once it is scheduled.


Posted in adaptation, Clean Water Act, ecosystem services, floodplains, green infrastructure, Infrastructure, mapping, mitigation, permitting, restoration, water policy, watershed management, wetland regulations, wetland restoration, wetlands | Tagged | Leave a comment

bos2Public Land Giveaway Would be Disastrous for Rivers

By Davide Moryc – American Rivers – January 9, 2017
On the first day of the new Congress the new Republican led U.S. House voted to ease the transfer of public lands signaling that the threat of our public lands being given or sold to state and private interests is real and imminent. This is a part of an outrageous broader scheme by some in Congress and state legislatures to transfer or sell our public lands and rivers and must be vehemently opposed by all Americans regardless of political party. By adopting new rules to avoid costs to the federal treasury they came up with an accounting trick—decreeing that public lands have no value. Of course in so many ways this couldn’t be further from the truth. For full story, click here.

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wppScience-Based Conservation Under Attack in 2017

By Candice Gaukel Andrews – Good Nature Travel – January 3, 2017
We’ve closed the books on 2016. It’s natural to want to assess the past year, now that we’ve made it through to the end. In the past 12 months, there has been some significant, positive progress: according to World Wildlife Fund, the giant panda is no longer endangered; for the first time in years, tiger numbers grew; the Arctic’s federal waters were spared from U.S. drilling plans; and newly developed, antipoaching technology led to dozens of arrests in Africa. What do all of these gains have in common? They were made possible because of science. For full story, click here.

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by Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, ASWM

Over the winter holiday, I got to spend a number of precious days with my elementary school-aged children.  We went snowshoeing through the woods and even explored some icy wetlands.  I always like to support their learning, so when one of my children’s teacher asked me for resources on wetlands to share with their class, I said “no problem” and jumped on the web, expecting to find a plethora of materials to choose from childrenwetlandsthat fit the bill.  What I found, instead, was a lot of what I would call “lost websites” — websites that may have once been engaging, functional and up-to-date, but that had since fallen into disrepair with broken links, out of date information or not very interesting or interactive materials.  If I, as a wetland professional, could not easily find what I was looking for, I thought, perhaps others may have an even harder time.

So, today, I am going to share with you the fruits of my labors and lay out some of the different ways that schools, homeschool groups and parents can connect children with wetlands: 1) through access to some interesting and informative websites; 2) through curriculum that focuses on wetland topics; 3) through visits to local wetlands; 4) through taking action to protect and advocate for wetlands; and 5) by developing wetlands  on their own school grounds to create an onsite learning laboratory.

I have formatted the information in this way, after recently hearing a presentation by outreach coordinator Brittany Hayward from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control that discussed the importance of interaction to edgardaleimprove learning outcomes.  She shared Edgar Dale’s research, which shows that (from learning activities), people remember:

  • 10% of what they read
  • 20% of that they hear
  • 30% of what they see
  • 50% of what they both see and hear
  • 70% of what they say and write
  • 90% of what they do

If you talk at people or have them read something, it’s only mildly effective at knowledge transfer.  However, when people take an active role in their learning — doing an activity, completing an online game, reading through something and taking a quiz or a pledge — the result is more meaningful comprehension and retention.  So with that in mind, I share the following resources organized by the location on the Cone of Learning.  I encourage teachers and learners alike to find their way as far along this continuum of engagement as they can. Not just because the learning will be stronger, but the learning becomes more fun as well!

Step 1: Learning by Looking and Gathering

First, let’s talk about some good visual information on wetlands for children on the Internet. There are a lot of sites that have information about wetlands.  Children can search and find hundreds of links.  But most of them are not targeted for their age and contain terms and formatting that is not conducive to child learning.  During my search, I found some specific sites, however, that are well-structured, engaging and well-maintained.

Ranger Rick’s “What Is a Wetland” Webpage

rangerrickThis is a great starter webpage, especially for younger children.  On this page, kids get to meet a guide — Wet Wally — a frog who walks them through the basics of what a wetland is, whether wetlands are all the same, and why they are important.  It includes some neat factoids that my kids loved as well.  The site also includes crafts, recipes, outdoor activities, and songs (some wetland-related). The site also provides an “activity finder,” which allows you to select activities by age, season, type, animals and kids subject.  Clearly, a well thought-out site that includes wetlands, but offers a whole lot more as well.

ScienceTrek – Wetland Facts Webpage

sciencetrekThis site is incredibly well-laid out and interesting. The information is slightly more advanced and hence suited to grades 4+.  The value of this site is that it goes into quite a bit of detail (in a youth-friendly manner) about pollution, functions of wetlands, and some wetland terminology.  For the budding young scientist, this site doesn’t skip the important science parts – it explains how wetlands work, including water, soil and plants.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis’ “Kids Do Ecology” Website on Freshwater Wetlands

While this website focuses on a variety of different world biomes, this link is to the site’s webpage that focuses on freshwater wetlands.  The page provides well-written information on location, plants, animals, relationship with people and an array of links that are useful.

EPA Wetland Webpages

eparestorationWhile the EPA’s information on wetlands is not specifically geared to young learners, for older students the EPA does offer an array of more advanced topics and technical briefs.  I often think we underestimate the skills and capacity of young people.  While some may be challenged by the word choice or bored by the layout of the materials, the information is useful and can be used to support interactive learning activities in the classroom or in the field.   This site introduces students to the concept of regulating wetlands to protect them, as well as monitoring and assessment, wetland water quality standards and wetland restoration.  EPA’s site includes a link to resources for parents and teachers, with an especially useful reading list on wetlands for K-12.

Association of State Wetland Managers – Resources for Youth and Teachers

Our own ASWM website offers a number of resources for educators, including how to design workshops and more.  Additionally, ASWM has offered webinars on building education at wetland centers.  As the Wetland Wander, I wrote a previous blog on Wetland Books for Inquiring Young Minds, which offers some recommendations for high quality children’s books on wetland topics.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – What You Can Do to Help Wildlife Website

usfwsWhile this website is not wetland-specific, it is one of my favorite because it focuses on things that young people can do to help the environment.  It lists all sorts of very do-able actions that people can take to reduce their impact on wildlife and their habitats.  This one’s a keeper, so I chose to include it.

Note: In the future, I plan to review the way apps, social media, games and other electronic tools can be used to support wetland teaching and learning as well. 

Step 2: Moving Children from Consuming Information to Interacting with It

Students learn and retain more if they interact with the information they are consuming.  The following set of resources includes activities that teachers or parents can use to engage students in their learning about wetlands.

The Magic School Bus Gets Swamped

magicschoolbusFor those of you living or working with elementary school children, you are most likely already familiar with the Magic School Bus Series.  They go on wonderful nature adventures with a beloved teacher and have all sorts of learning adventures.  I was thrilled to find that the Magic School Bus program had taken on wetlands, as was my daughter.  The site includes a hands-on activity, a “wetland pollution fighters” story by one of the child characters, and instructions on how to create a wetland bulletin board

Exploring Our Wonderful Wetlands (Teacher-guided Activities)

While this resource is best targeted to students in the southeastern part of the country, there are activities that are transferable to any classroom or home.  This teacher’s guide is chock-full of information, activities and ideas for teaching.  It includes five individual “explorations” that educators can use.  The copy-ready activity pages are high quality and will be engaging and thought-provoking for kids in grades 4-7.

Conducting Wetland Education using Project WET

oakmarshProject WET is a nationally-recognized curriculum providing water education for teachers.  Project WET has numerous resources that are useful for teaching children in both the classroom and the field.  I was especially interested in this link (above), which shares how Project WET can be used to conduct wetland education with children at wetland sites.

Scholastic – A Look at the Louisiana Wetlands Following the Gulf Oil Spill

For teachers or parents who are looking to teach youth about the more complex issues of pollution and the relationship between wetlands and polluting events, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this video teaching tool provides a thought-provoking louisianawetlandsexploration of the impacts of human activities on a wetland and what these impacts mean for both people and the environment.  This is an excellent civics or environmental policy learning tool, which can be adapted for use for K-12 learning.  The young Scholastic reporter is highly engaging and shows students that they can have a role in making a difference.

Links to additional interactive workbook materials can be found at the end of this blog.

Step 3: Helping Youth Visit Local Wetlands

There is nothing like being out in nature to get people to care about and understand it better.  The ability to step into a wetland and see all they have learned about in books, on the web or in the classroom in the real world is of great value.  As the Wetland Wanderer, I encourage any educator to take your children/students out into a local wetland.  There are dipnetwetland centers, refuges, and sites all across the United States.  Holding a frog, drawing wetland grasses, hearing wetland insects, testing water samples all lead to memorable takeaways for children.   If you are not sure where to find a local wetland, contact your local Audubon Center , your state wetland program office, or search the web.  Wetlands are everywhere, so find one and get out into it!

Remember, when you take children out into a wetland, make sure they are properly clothed (and have good footwear for the wet ground conditions), have bug repellent, food and water, as well as maps to help guide their walk and nature guides for identifying wetland creatures.  One of the most popular additions to wetland walks is often a dip net, which allows kids to scoop into the water and explore what they find.  If you have the opportunity to secure the support of a wetland educator for your field trip, all the better!

Examples of some useful field guides for your wetland field trip include:

Step 4: Taking Action – Teaching Wetland Advocacy

Students can take their learning to the next level by taking action to protect or advocate for their local wetlands.  This can take the form of a wetland clean-up, raising money for wetland protection, serving as a volunteer at a local wetland center and many other activities.  Another type of action kids can take is learning about careers related to wetlands.  The following resources help guide youth as they explore ways they can take action to help wetlands.

actionprojectwildProject Wild: Taking Action

When children are motivated to make a difference, finding just the right guidance is important at each step of the way.  Project WILD provides parents and teachers with this useful guide on how to help kids take action on issues that are important to them, including wetlands.  The guide includes an overview of action and the rationale for action, how to add action to your teaching, an action matrix to guide your projects and other tools, including examples of success stories.

Wetland Job Profiles

If your young one or a student is interested in jobs that work with wetlands or wetland creatures, this resource is a great conversation starter about options in many fields that deal with wetlands.

Step 5: Creating and Exploring School-based Wetlands

schoolyardFinally, learning always has an advantage when students and teachers have ownership for what they are doing.  Across the country there are a growing number of schools and communities that have taken this to heart and developed wetland teaching labs in their schools and neighborhoods.  Here are a number of resources for schools or community groups interested in creating learning wetlands for their students.


In conclusion, there are an infinite number of ways to teach children about wetlands, regardless of your access to resources, travel funds or community support.  Wetlands are often close by and serve as great teaching tools about the interactions between nature and people, as well as ecosystems and food webs.  The work you do to connect youth with wetlands is laudable and we hope that these resources will help you think about new ways to get kids excited about wetlands.    Please let us know of any resources you think are great teaching tools and we will add them to our resource list.  Email any recommended resources to me at .

Whatever role you play in teaching and sharing with kids, we hope you too have fun teaching and sharing the wonders of wetlands!

Additional Interactive Wetland Workbooks and Activity Sheets:

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bos2Chesapeake Restoration Gets Hi-Res Land Cover Data

Eco Magazine – December 12, 2016
There’s no question that technology has changed every facet of modern life. The corporate world and the health care industry are examples of fields that were quick to capitalize on the power of technology, becoming more efficient. However, until relatively recently the conservation movement lagged far behind in harnessing the power of technology and innovation. This summer, the Chesapeake Conservancy spearheaded and partnered with the University of Vermont, and WorldView Solutions, Inc. to complete the Chesapeake High-Resolution Land Cover Project, one of the largest, high-resolution land cover datasets for the nation. For full article, click here.

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wppWhat on Earth is ‘conservation finance’?

By Peter Gleick – Science Blogs – December 1, 2016
By Bruno Vander Velde –Human Nature – December 2, 2016

What is ‘conservation finance’?
“Conservation finance” refers generally to a range of financial mechanisms that can help fund the conservation of nature.

Ok. But why do we need to pay for conservation in the first place?
The short answer is that conservation is often just one choice among many that countries and communities make. For example, if you own an acre of tropical forest, leaving the forest in place likely won’t generate the income and livelihoods that you are seeking. So, you may sell the trees for timber and put a farm there — which will make you money in the short term but may not be sustainable over the long term. For full blog post, click here.

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cwlogoBy Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, ASWM

An important and timely milestone was achieved on Friday, January 6 with publication of the final rule on Issuance and Reissuance of §404 Nationwide Permits in the Federal Register.  For those that prefer a regular document format over the Federal Register format can review the rule as a PDF document here.  Please note that this document is @600 pages long.

A Summary of the 2017 Nationwide Permits can be found on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  website.  This document provides a quick synopsis of any changes to the 50 existing nationwide permits that are reissued through the new rule overview usace1as well as the two new nationwide permits: NWP 53 – Removal of Low-head dams and NWP 54 – Living Shorelines.

NWP 53 authorizes the removal of low-head dams for stream restoration and public safety. A “low-head dam” is defined as a dam built to pass upstream flows over the entire width of the dam crest on a continual and uncontrolled basis. As a general rule, compensatory mitigation is not required for these activities because they result in net increases in stream ecological functions and services. The NWP does not authorize regulated activities for restoration of streams in the vicinity of the former impoundment (these activities may be authorized by NWP 27), or bank stabilization activities (these activities may be authorized by NWP 13).

NWP 54 authorizes construction and maintenance of living shorelines for shore erosion control. Living shorelines consist of natural and man-made materials and may include stone or reef structures to protect the shoreline from low to moderate energy waves. Living shorelines must have a substantial biological component, either tidal or lacustrine fringe wetlands or oyster or mussel reef structures. NWP 54 does not authorize beach nourishment or land reclamation activities. Discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States, including the construction of fill structures such as sills or breakwaters, must be the minimum necessary for the establishment and maintenance of the living shoreline.  Use of NWP 54 is limited to 30 feet channelward of the mean low water mark in tidal waters or the mean high water mark in the Great Lakes.  Under NWP 55 the living shoreline is limited to 500 feet along the water’s edge.  These limitations can be waived by the District Engineer.

fedregistry22Other documents pertaining to the current and past nationwide permits can be found here.

The reissued and new nationwide permits are scheduled to go into effect on March 18, 2017, the date when the current nationwide permits expire. Between now and then, Corps Districts will be busy developing and publishing regional conditions for the nationwide permits. States and some tribes will be conducting §401 Certification review under the Clean Water Act and coastal consistency review under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

It is anticipated that in many areas of the country, this review process will be the continuation of collaborative efforts between Corps Districts and State agencies to tailor the nationwide permits to local conditions. This is important because activities authorized through the Nationwide’s, by law, should have no more than minimal individual and cumulative adverse environmental impacts.  The adoption of regional conditions, §401 certification and coastal consistency review are carried out to ensure this occurs.

Regional conditions are likely to be particularly important for the two new nationwide permits.  For example specific living shoreline practices appropriate to moderating high energy wave impacts along the ocean, may not be appropriate along the quieter Great Lakes shoreline and vice versa.  Considerations for removal of lowhead dams are also likely to be different between high relief (mountainous) terrain and a low relief (relatively flat) coastal plain.

nationpermit3Links to additional information about these various review processes can be found in a previous blog post on this topic here.  That blog also raised concerns regarding the need for the final rule to be published two to three months prior to the expiration of the current nationwide permits.  The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) is very pleased that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Office of Management and Budget and other federal agencies engaged in the interagency review process completed and published the rule at the beginning of January.  In the coming months ASWM will be hosting webinars to provide more information about the new nationwide permits.  These will be part of ASWM’s ‘Hot Topic’ webinar series which can be found here.

Posted in Clean Water Act, coastal wetlands, Section 404, wetland regulation, Wetland rules | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

bos2They Released 14 Wolves In A Park. But No One Was Prepared For THIS

By We Love Animals – June 11, 2016 – Video
In 1995, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, along with Canadian biologists, captured 14 wolves in Canada and placed them in Yellowstone National Park, where they had been extinct since 1926. Over the next few years, the number of wolves rose, but that was the least of the changes that took place in Yellowstone. For full story and to view video, click here.

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wppFrom Scientists to Policymakers: Communicating on Climate, Scientific Integrity, and More

By Peter Gleick – Science Blogs – December 1, 2016
Among the different professional categories, scientists and engineers remain very highly respected by the public, at least compared to politicians, business leaders, the media, and even religious authorities. Part of this is due to the fact that success in the scientific enterprise depends on impartial analysis and independence from political ideology. And yet there are strong connections between science and policy: good policy without good science is difficult; good policy with bad science is impossible. Sure, there is plenty of bad policy made even in the face of contradictory scientific evidence, but that is the result of political failures, or, at times, poor scientific communication. For full blog post, click here.

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For Peats Sake LogoBy Marla J. Stelk, Policy Analyst, ASWM

Last week I attended the Restore America’s Estuaries/Coastal Society’s 2016 Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a sacrifice to have to leave the single digit weather in Maine in December for the more temperate clime in New Orleans, but somebody had to do it, right? I had never visited New Orleans during the holiday burbonstreet122216season, and I have to say, it was beautiful. I’m terribly fond of New Orleans and its beautiful architecture to begin with, but add in the holiday bows and lights and even Bourbon Street has a bit of a magical, somewhat wholesome feel to it.

The reason for my attendance at the Summit was to facilitate a workshop on invasive species. It’s an area of research that I find myself drawn to, as it constantly opens up more questions for me than answers, and I love a good puzzle. Specifically, I am interested in the intersection of climate change, invasive species and ecosystem services. Several months ago, I stumbled on a report that was published in 2014 entitled “Bioinvasions in a Changing World: A Resource on Invasive Species-Climate Change Interactions for Conservation and Natural Resource Management.” It discussed many of the same concerns I held regarding our current approach to salvinia4invasive species management, i.e. how do we prioritize invasive species management projects, how can we manage them when ecoregions and habitat are shifting rapidly due to climate change, what do we do when invasive species have evolved to provide critical ecosystem services in the absence of native flora or fauna? I was really pleased when Tom Hall (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), one of the Co-Chairs of the report, accepted my invitation to come to our workshop and give a presentation on the report’s findings.

The first presentation in the workshop was given by Myra Price, a Project Specialist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Wetlands Division. She provided some background context in regard to the National Wetland Condition Assessment recently completed by the EPA.  It became clear during her presentation that the presence of invasive species is closely beaver2correlated to poor wetland condition. Her presentation was followed by Tom Hall’s to provide more background context in regard to the challenges we are facing with invasive species management in a changing climate. To make our workshop useful for folks locally, we focused the remaining presentations on invasive flora and fauna that are particularly troublesome in Louisiana and the Gulf region in general:

  • Nutria Overview & History (Jennifer Hogue Manuel, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries)
  • Louisiana Coastwide Nutria Control Program (Catherine Normand, Biologist, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries)
  • A Collaborative National Strategy to Manage Feral Swine Impacts in the U.S. (Wendy Anderson, TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist, USDA APHIS)
  • Feral Swine Case Study (Dwight LeBlanc, State Director, USDA APHIS Louisiana Wildlife Services)
  • Giant Salvinia Overview & History (Jill Day, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries)
  • Giant Salvinia in Louisiana Coastal Marshes (Ronald Paille, Senior Field Biologist, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)
  • Monitoring Invasive FAV, Focusing on Salvinia Bio-control Effectiveness (Julie Whitbeck, PhD, Ecologist, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve)
  • Water Hyacinth Overview & History (Lori Moshman, Louisiana State University)

We then wrapped up the day with a facilitated discussion led by Dr. Rodrigo Diaz, Louisiana State University and Jeanne Christie, Executive Director of the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM). We discussed what we had learned, what we still don’t know, and identified some areas for future research and study.  We are posting all the PDFs of the presentations plus other useful resources on our website here.

swine1I certainly learned a lot that day about various approaches to invasive species management, including biocontrol methods, herbicide applications, volunteer programs, nutria, and the extremely troublesome proliferation of feral swine across the U.S. The challenge is immense and we seem in many ways to be losing the battle. But the determination and the creative thinking of the folks who participated in our session, both speakers and attendees, were encouraging. Effective management will require a variety of tools – there is certainly no cookbook recipe to lean on – and regional cooperation and large collaborative efforts will be required to make a difference.

At ASWM we are looking forward to exploring these issues more closely in 2017 through a webinar series and through further conversations with our colleagues across the country.

So For Peat’s Sake, we hope you will join us! And have a very merry holiday season and New Year!

Posted in aquatic plants, climate change, coastal Louisiana, coastal restoration, coastal wetlands, ecosystem services, invasive species, resource management, Restoration Planning, watershed management, wetland restoration, wetland science | Tagged | Leave a comment
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