ASWM embarked on a number of major projects in 2011 and 2010. The Association and its staff have recently completed several noteworthy projects. These are summarized here with links to full reports, webpages and further documentation. For the 2011 Annual Report, click here.

Some of ASWM's recently completed projects are summarized below: 

2010 Wetland Mapping Summary

By Will Walker – ASWM – September 2011
In 2010 the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) set out to take a snapshot of the status of wetland mapping in the United States. ASWM staff produced documents summarizing the age and extent of wetland maps for each state using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) dataset from January 2010.   These documents were forwarded to state contacts with a request for information about additional mapping efforts that might not appear in the NWI.  The project concluded in December, with 35 of the 50 states responding to inquiries.  These responses as well as discussions with a handful of other states were compiled into a website with available information summarized on a state-by-state basis.  Nationwide, wetland maps are badly in need of improvement and updating. To read more and for full article, click here.

State Climate Change Adaptation Summaries (2011)

ASWM queried the 50 states for information on any wetland-related climate change adaptation efforts they have initiated. Many states have sought ways to reduce greenhouse gases, implementing things such as emissions standards, energy portfolios, and carbon reduction targets. In addition to this type of mitigation, state agencies are also looking at adaptation. 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.

ASWM staff compiled information about states’ efforts to address climate change, in particular as planning may relate to climate change impacts to wetlands and natural resources, within states’ adaptation strategies. The data was collected in 2010 (as of December 2010) and the project was completed August 2011. To explore the State Climate Change Adaptation Summaries, click here.

Strengthening 401 Certification (2010-2011)

In 30 states 401 certification under the Clean Water Act (CWA) is the program states rely on to condition or deny Section 404 dredge and fill permits. ASWM will be working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states to provide current information on how state laws and regulations can be applied to conditioning federal permits. EPA published a new handbook titled, Clean Water Act Section 401 – Water Quality Certification and Water Quality Protection Tool for States and Tribes (PDF). This document in conjunction with other documents and activities will support state capacity building. This project has three parts, and the 401 Certification Case Studies were completed in July 2011. These case studies can be found here.

Clarifying the State & Tribal 404 Assumption Application Process (2010-2011)

ASWM partnered with the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) to improve and clarify the State and Tribal Assumption application process. ECOS and ASWM convened a small task force, comprised of representatives from states that have conducted in-depth investigations on 404 assumption in the past, or have assumed the 404 program (Michigan and New Jersey), as well as experts from EPA. The work group made recommendations to EPA on how to further clarify and improve the assumption application process for states and tribes with comprehensive wetlands protection programs. A handbook on State Assumption, which was published in August 2011, is available by clicking here. For more information, please contact Jeanne Christie at .

Improving Wetland Permitting (2010)

In late 2009 an ASWM task force identified the ways states are improving their wetland permitting programs. In 2010, ASWM queried states to gather additional information. “Improved” permitting encompasses making the permitting process more efficient while maintaining the same level of protection for wetlands and water resources as well as making the permitting process easier for both regulatory staff and applicants to understand. The project focuses on six types of mechanisms that states use (or could use) to improve wetland permitting: 1) consolidated (joint) permitting; 2) communication before permitting; 3) online applications; 4) utilizing science & technology; 5) enhancing data management; and 6) consistency and program management (incl. evaluating permit decisions). Cherie Hagen from Wisconsin DNR served as the Chair of the Wetland Permitting Task Force.  For more information contact Marla Stelk at . A PowerPoint presentation by Cherie describing the project is also available here.