Members' Webinar Series

ASWM Member Webinar

The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) holds a webinar each month for its members. ASWM Member webinars cover a variety of topics encompassing wetland science, policy, program implementation, and legal issues. These webinars, including recordings for past webinars are available to ASWM members. If you are not a member, you are invited to join ASWM. For information about membership, click here.

For more information about this  webinar series, please contact Laura Burchill at or (207) 892-3399.

Future Members' Webinar Schedule

ASWM Members webinars are generally held the fourth Wednesday of the month unless the date and time needs to be adjusted for when the presenter(s) is available.

If you haven’t used Go To Webinar before or you just need a refresher, please view our guide prior to the webinar here.

If you would like to participate in the webinar but believe there is not enough time to join and register, please contact Laura at or call 207-892-3399. 

How Coastal Wetlands Reduce Coastal Damage During Tropical Cycles

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 -3:00pm-5:00 pm Eastern

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• Richard Carson, Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego

• Fanglin Sun, PhD, Graduate of University of California, San Diego


With rising sea levels and increasingly intense storms associated with climate change, there is substantial interest in alternative defensive measures for protecting low-lying coastal communities against coastal flooding. Coastal wetlands are known to dampen storm surge and wind impacts, but policymakers have doubts about employing wetlands as natural levees due to lack of empirical evidence of effectiveness. Using detailed geospatial data, we explore a comprehensive set of natural and human factors to examine the role of coastal wetlands in reducing tropical-cyclone–related property damage. Using all 88 tropical storms and hurricanes hitting the United States between 1996 and 2016, the expected economic value of the protective effects of wetlands is estimated for all counties along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Recent wetland losses are estimated to have increased property damage from Hurricane Irma by $430 million. Results suggest the importance of considering both natural and human factors in coastal zone defense policy. This webinar will provide a background for this economic valuation, present the study and its findings, as well as discussion about application of this work to real world decision-making.


Richard CarsonRichard Carson is a Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego, where he has been since receiving his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1985. He is past President of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Carson was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his work on climate change and environmental valuation and earlier served as Research Director for International Environmental Policy at the University of California’s Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. He has worked on environmental projects ranging from arsenic contamination of ground water in Bangladesh and forecasting CO2 emissions in China to conducting the benefit assessments for the U.S. Clean Water Act and its British equivalent. Carson was principal investigator for the economic component of the governFanglin Sun, PhD ment’s damage assessments for the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills.

Fanglin Sun received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, San Diego. Fanglin’s research focuses on environmental, public and development economics. Across diverse topics, her research shares a common objective of using interdisciplinary techniques and novel data to tackle environmental problems. 

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Large-scale Wetland Restoration that Harnesses the Power of Natural Infrastructure for Water Quality Improvement in Agricultural Landscapes

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 3:00pm-4:30pm 

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• Owen Steele, Ducks Unlimited Canada

• Bryan Page, Ducks Unlimited Canada


Warming temperatures aggravate the impact of excess nutrients on water quality. Phosphorus, an acknowledged driver of dangerous blue-green algae outbreaks in rivers and lakes, has come under particular scrutiny. Recurring outbreaks have triggered interest in how wetlands can help reduce downstream phosphorus in agricultural watersheds with high rates of surface and subsurface drainage—like those in southwestern Ontario.

This webinar will share recent research led by Ducks Unlimited Canada which studied the nutrient-retention capacity of newly restored wetlands north of Lake Erie, where we have a long-standing conservation program. Like most restored wetlands in the region, the eight wetlands in the study are “edge-of-field” and receiving runoff from the agricultural landscape. This work was made possible by landowners who graciously allowed equipment and regular access on their rural properties.

Presenters will share their work conducted over one water-year, monitoring water inflows and outflows to measure nutrient-capture capacity and efficiency. The webinar will share results show restored wetlands acted as “phosphorus sinks,” with less phosphorus leaving the wetland basins than entering them through all four seasons.

The webinar will share the reduction efficiencies, enhance understanding about the multiple benefits wetlands provide and provide insights for small wetland design, public engagement and citizen science elements of the project. The webinar will also describe an option for a “sediment capture basin” designed to capture sediment before it enters the wetland, removing excess nutrients to support downstream water quality while also protecting the health and longevity of the habitat for wildlife.

Download the full report here.


Owen SteeleOwen Steele is the Head of Conservation Programs, Owen works with an enthusiastic team of biologists, engineers and support staff to deliver and manage Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) conservation program across the province of Ontario. With 29 years of experience in the field, Owen also provides leadership to DUC’s conservation planning and science program, highlighted by research in the field of waterfowl ecology and wetland ecosystem services. Understanding and promoting the potential of wetlands to function as natural green infrastructure and contribute to climate change adaptation is seen as a key conservation strategy for the future of waterfowl habitat in Ontario. 

Bryan PageBryan Page obtained his Bachelor of Science with a major in Environmental Science from the University of Manitoba in 2002 and his Master of Science in Chemistry from the University of Manitoba in 2005. He began his career with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada where he supervised the water chemistry laboratory at the Experimental Lakes Area from 2005 to 2007. In 2008 he began working at Ducks Unlimited Canada in the Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research as a Biologist and in 2012 as a Research Biologist. His work has focused on the cycling of nutrients, the sequestration of carbon and the bioavailability of trace metals in different wetland types across Canada. His main interest involves studying the transport of phosphorus in and out of drained, restored, managed and natural wetlands. 

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Wetland Drainage in the United States: An Update on the Status of Drainage and New Restoration Findings

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 3:00pm-4:30pm 


Tom Biebighauser Tom Biebighauser, Wetland Restoration and Training


Tom Biebighauser has restored over 2,400 wetlands and streams across Canada, 26-States, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan since 1979. He retired in 2013 after working 34-years for the USDA Forest Service as a Wildlife Biologist, where he started wetland and stream restoration programs across the United States. Tom has served as an instructor for the British Columbia Wildlife Federation Wetlands Institute for 16-years, restoring over 250-wetlands and streams across Alberta and British Columbia since 2003. Having built over 1,400-dams, he has since decommissioned over 300 -dams. Tom learned about drainage and irrigation from contractors who spent their lives destroying wetlands. Tom has developed highly effective and low-cost techniques for building wetlands and streams for rare species across North America. He builds habitats that require little, if any maintenance, and do not involve the use of diversions, dams, dikes, pipes, or pumps. Tom has written 4-books about wetland restoration, and instructs online college and field courses on the topic. He received the United States National Wetlands Award for Conservation and Restoration in 2015.

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To view 2012 webinars (publicly available), click here