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

Wetlander's Pick of the Posts Hot Research Topic

By Lee Sausley – KRISTV.COM – December 2, 2015 – Video
A groundbreaking scientific study is underway  testing the use of fire as a way to help endangered coastal habitats adapt to rising sea levels.
Thanks to the Gulf of Mexico Foundation based here in Corpus Christi, scientists in Mississippi are looking at controlled burns as way to increase bio-diversity in coastal ecosystems, and help wetland marshes migrate inland as shorelines recede. For full story and to view video, click here.

Posted in wetlands | Leave a comment

View from the blog-o-sphereMarsh on the Move

By Sharon Oosthoek – Hakai Magazine – December 14, 2015
Biologist Matt Whitbeck leans against the rail of a wooden platform and looks across the seemingly immutable marshlands of Maryland’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The waist-high grasses beneath his feet are rooted in a four-meter layer of peat and silt built up over nine centuries. Monarch butterflies fly in lazy circles. A stand of pines rises in the distance. There is nothing here to suggest this is an ecosystem on the move, but Whitbeck knows better. The marsh is migrating inland—running from the sea level rise and land subsidence that are eating away at the coastline.  For full article, click here.

Posted in sea level rise | Leave a comment

View from the blog-o-sphereBy the Numbers: 589

By Catherine Krikstan – Chesapeake Bay Program – December 29, 2015
With its rough shell, gray body and big ecological value, the eastern oyster is one of the most iconic species in the Chesapeake Bay. And for decades, protecting oyster populations has been part of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s work. But it was not until the signing of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement that our partners committed to what is known as a tributary-based restoration strategy, setting a goal to restore oyster reefs in ten Maryland and Virginia rivers by 2025 in order to foster the ecological services these reefs provide. For full blog post, go here.

Posted in restoration | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wetlander's Pick of the PostsWe Won’t Back Down from our Mission

By Liz Purchia – EPA Connect – December 17, 2015
It’s that time again. Like clockwork, mere days after the world reached a historic global climate agreement in Paris, a small but vocal group are grasping at anything to distract from and derail our progress. The latest attempt cites EPA’s public communications about providing clean water to the American people as cause to investigate EPA’s use of social media around our Clean Power Plan-an essential rule to fight climate change by cutting carbon pollution from power plants. For full blog post, go here.

Posted in Clean Water Rule, climate change | Leave a comment

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

The spoken language is one of the most amazing developments of human civilization. As our knowledge of the world around us continues to expand, the level of complexity and the specificity of what we know and try to convey has evolved from what began as simple tonal sounds into a large and carefully nuanced volume of vocabulary just within the blog121715English language alone. So one would think that when we speak today, that our refined vocabulary would allow us to be easily understood by our peers. However, as most of us know, that’s not necessarily the case. Language, like beauty, is often defined in the eye – or rather the ear – of the beholder. Each one of us is unique in our perceptions of the world around us as we are all molded by our personal experiences; therefore, our understanding of words can also be colored by different shades of gray.

For example, the Association of State Wetland Managers has been working with members of an interagency wetlands working group on a symposium for the Society of Wetland Scientists 2016 Annual Meeting on the topic of silviculture and coastal wetlands. The reason for the symposium effort was to discuss why, according to the report, Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States: 2004 – 2009, 20%-30% of the acreage of forested wetlands associated with silviculture appear to be changing to non-wetland (dry land). One of our first actions in developing our agenda was to reach out to members of the silviculture community in an effort to bring everyone to the table. We knew going in to this that it is a highly sensitive topic and that we would encounter very different perspectives concerning what is actually happening on the ground. blog1121715What we found out immediately, was that nomenclature also played a big role in communicating those varying perspectives accurately.

For example, the word “upland” means something different to a wetland scientist than it does to a forester. Even the phrase “wetland loss” can be variously interpreted and used with different implications depending, for example, on the description of the wetlands included and the temporal implications (i.e., temporary or permanent losses). So when we speak, particularly outside of our narrow professional circles, we are finding that we have to carefully define the words we choose to use. This makes communication very time consuming and sometimes cumbersome. But often it is time well spent – especially when the stakes are high. This is why our first presentation of our symposium agenda planned for the spring of 2016 is on the topic of nomenclature.

I often find myself in a similar situation around the holidays. Some folks say “Happy Holidays.” Some say “Merry Christmas.”  Some say “Happy snowflake121715Hanukkah.” Some say “Happy Solstice.” And some say “Happy Kwanza.” And so on. I don’t think any of us really expect that every individual we share our seasonal holiday greeting with shares in our same belief system, but we say it anyway as a way of communicating the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, sometimes whichever phrase we use, we seem to inadvertently offend someone who feels we did not greet them with the proper expression. In the end, whether its academic conversation, professional communication or seasonal greetings, we all need to approach situations like these with open minds and a willingness to do the hard work to understand other people’s perspectives and intentions.  So for Peat’s Sake, let’s make the extra effort to tackle our communication and listening skills, because I really don’t want to have to resolve to using interpretive dance. Although that might just break the ice through shared laughter – the easiest form of communication there is!

Posted in ASWM, Communication, partnerships, wetland loss, wetlands | Leave a comment

Wetlander's Pick of the PostsActivist: Re-frog America, build a sanctuary

By Brendan Bane – Santa Cruz Sentinel – December 2, 2015
In his mission to “re-frog America,” environmental activist Kerry Kriger is teaching kids how to build wildlife sanctuaries in their own backyards.
As the leader of the environmental nonprofit Save the Frogs, Kriger tours the world building habitats for amphibians. He spent Wednesday orchestrating a wetlands restoration workshop at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, where he and other scientists showed attendees how to build their own freshwater wetlands. He’s back at the reserve on Thursday and on Friday he’ll meet with students at Pajaro Valley High School in Watsonville to build more frog habitats there. These projects are part of the larger re-frog campaign. For full story, click here.

Posted in wetlands | Tagged | Leave a comment

View from the blog-o-sphereSpotted Turtle One of 10 Species with “No Room to Roam”

By Pat Seelinger – The Swamp School Blog – December 7, 2015
The spotted turtle was listed in the Endangered Species Coalition’s “No Room to Roam” report, released on November 18. The annual report lists 10 species in the United States that are the most threatened by habitat fragmentation. The report, titled “No Room to Roam: 10 American Species in Need of Connectivity and Corridors”, highlighted 10 species whose habitats have broken up to the point where there are very few safe, navigable corridors for the species to move between habitats or connect with other populations. Other species in the report included the pallid sturgeon and the smiling California tiger salamander. For full blog post, click here.

Posted in endangered species | Leave a comment

by Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst

We have been hearing the story over and over again: I would love to be there, but I am not authorized to travel right now.  Whether in Maine, Pennsylvania, or Oklahoma, many states are facing an imposed moratorium on certain out-of-state travel for state employees, which include travel to training and conferences.

This is unfortunate, as the benefits of face-to-face learning and learning from new communities of practice is lauded as one of the greatest ways to learn and increase staff skills and program training121015capacity.  The literature on learning is rife with findings that show in-person training and face-to-face learning best improves knowledge gain, comprehension, and analytical use of the information shared.

However, as an interesting article in Higher Education points out, “it is important to catalyze movement beyond the (negative) hype about technology-enhanced education.”  There is a growing understanding that online training, especially when combined with an on-the-ground/in classroom experience, can have strong outcomes.  Additionally, in the absence of options to travel to in-person training, online learning is highly desirable.

With this in mind, ASWM is working to provide a variety of training tools in the coming years, ranging from the in-person annual Federal-State-Tribal Workshop (which provides the highly valued in-person, group learning and networking opportunities) to access training materials through webinars and reports. ASWM will take a strategic approach by developing a comprehensive training plan to support state wetland program staff and others.

ASWM has received funding to explore options for alternative training, including the development of online training modules.  We are exploring options for tying in with wetland certification programs, with continuing education credits, and collaborating with a variety of partners who can assist in the development and design of these resources.

mushroom121015While ASWM values face-to-face training as our top choice, there are some learning experiences such as learning how to identify elements of a wetland in the field or see a specific practice in action still require in-person, onsite learning, we have also been expanding learning opportunities through the use of electronic delivery – such as ASWM’s popular wetland restoration webinar series in 2015, which has garnered hundreds of participants per webinar.

Why?  ASWM is finding that wetland professionals and states, tribes and local government staffers particularly are extremely limited in their access to travel funds and permission to travel for training purposes.  Staffs are soaking up any opportunities they can access to learn.

In addition to changes in access to on-the-ground training, ASWM’s recent Status and Trends Report, shows that the need is great for training.  State wetland program staff in many areas of the country are reporting high levels of staff turnover and organizational restructuring that lead to new, more junior staff filling positions previously held by staff with extensive experience in wetland work.  Some positions are being lost and many staff have responsibility for additional aquatic resource programs, resulting in staff new to working on wetlands that may have little training on the topic.

Over the coming months, ASWM will establish a national working group on training that will be exploring these issues, working to identify existing resources to build upon, models that work, best laptop121015practices for developing online training that will well-serve our on-the-ground wetland professionals, and informing academia about the needs of the wetland community with respect to training wetland professionals through higher education learning opportunities.

We look forward to sharing ASWM’s work in this area over the coming months and welcome examples of training or learning experiences that have enhanced the capacity of wetland professionals.  We look forward to learning new ways to build state and tribal program capacity.

Posted in ASWM, wetland training | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

View from the blog-o-sphereRising to El Niño’s challenges – and opportunities

By Nicholas Pinter – California Water Blog – November 29, 2015
The much-anticipated El Niño has now arrived, with increased potential for heavy rain and snowfall, including the possibility of localized flooding, mudslides and other hazards. While extreme storms, flooding and other natural disasters challenge society to protect life and property from damage, they also present opportunities. Floods in particular often catalyze positive changes that otherwise would not occur. These events give us a chance to fix past oversights, correct imbalances between human use of the landscape and natural processes, and improve long-term resilience for people and society. For full blog post, click here.

Posted in flooding | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wetlander's Pick of the PostsSalmon RIP?

By Alastair Bland – East Bay Express – December 2, 2015
Last winter and spring, thousands of adult Chinook salmon nosed upstream past Richmond, through the Carquinez Straits and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, on their way to spawn in the Sacramento River. At about the same time, officials at Shasta Lake, a few miles north of Redding, did something that critics say was stupid, negligent, and illegal: They opened the spigot on the reservoir’s outflow pipes in order to send extra water downstream for farmers — and they didn’t save enough for the fish. For full story, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment
Web Analytics