ASWM's Hot Topics Webinar Series

The Association of Wetland Managers (ASWM) occasionally opens up its Members Webinars to non-members on special topics that are not specific to any of our other webinar series and that appeal to a broader audience than our membership. For this reason, the Association started a Special Topics Webinar Series that is available for anyone to participate in. Some of the topics in the past have included the Ramsar Convention and international projects, complex legal cases, environmental economics and more. These webinars are advertised through our website, newsletters, social media and emails. There is no specific day of the month when these webinars occur. For more information and/or to join our email list for notices about upcoming events, please contact Laura Burchill at . 

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


Waters of the U.S.: Interpreting Geographical, State Program and Legal Impacts of Past, Current and Future Definitions

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 - 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Eastern


On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) signed the proposed “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” rule. The agencies’ proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” Interpreting the potential impacts of a revised definition is no easy task, especially given the diversity of aquatic systems and landscapes across the nation, the tremendous diversity of state wetland and water resource programs, the incongruous Supreme Court decisions of the past, and the multiple legal challenges that could potentially continue far into the future.


  • Andy Robertson, Executive Director of Geospatial Services at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, will share the results of a project that examines the spatial extent of wetlands and waters that are protected or unprotected under three different Waters of the US definitions; one based on the 2015 Clean Water Rule and two others based on Supreme Court decisions that narrow the scope of federally protected waters. This presentation will also demonstrate the use of ESRI Story Map technology as a communication tool for presenting spatial, text and graphic data to technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Les Lemm, Wetlands Section Manager for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources will present on the relationship of the WOTUS rule to Section 404 assumption, its likely effect in Minnesota, and some perspectives from staff with stand-alone state programs.
  • Royal Gardner, Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law, will discuss the legal landscape: an overview of past cases that have influenced the various definitions of WOTUS, an update on current WOTUS-related litigation, and a preview of expected future WOTUS legal challenges.


Andy RobertsonAndy Robertson is currently Executive Director of GeoSpatial Services at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In this role, Andy is responsible for oversight and management of all GeoSpatial Services projects, activities and staff. GeoSpatial Services is engaged in a wide variety of projects across the Lower 48 and Alaska including: wetland inventory; National Hydrography Dataset updates; spatial data development; and, natural resource condition assessments. Andy earned a Forest Technology Diploma from Sault College of Applied Technology in Ontario, Canada, a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from the University of Waterloo and completed postgraduate work in forest management at the University of Toronto. GeoSpatial Services has been a key partner of the USFWS and has been working for over 15 years to update legacy National Wetland Inventory data across the nation. Andy is a steering committee member for the ASWM Wetland Mapping Consortium and is co-chair of the Alaska GeoSpatial Council Wetland Technical Working Group.

Les LemmLes Lemm is the Wetlands Section Manager for the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. He is responsible for overseeing implementation of the State Wetland Conservation Act, Minnesota’s comprehensive wetland protection law, including a robust wetland banking program. He has a variety of other experience, including working as a charter boat captain on Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods, a natural resource consultant, and the District Manager for the Lake of the Woods Soil and Water Conservation District. Les has a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s degree in Resource Economics from North Dakota State University.

Royal C. GardnerRoyal C. Gardner is Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. He is an internationally recognized expert in wetland law and policy. Recent projects include serving as the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, testifying before a World Bank arbitration panel, advising the Government of Oman regarding wetland policy, and coauthoring amicus briefs on behalf of environmental scientists. In WOTUS-related litigation, he has filed amicus briefs in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and in the U.S. District Courts for the District of North Dakota and the Southern District of New York.



A Certificate of Participation to be used toward Continuing Education Credits will be available for these webinars. Free Certificates of Participation are a benefit of ASWM membership. Non-Members who request a certificate will be charged a processing fee of $25.00. Certificates are not available for viewing recorded webinars. More information can be found here.

To view Past ASWM's Hot Topics Webinar Series, click here.