2017 Past ASWM's Hot Topics Webinar Series
[2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012]

The Association of Wetland Managers (ASWM) works hard to stay abreast of time sensitive hot topics, including new policies, regulations and trending topics of interest to those involved and/or interested in wetland management and practice. From time to time, these topics do not fit in any of our current webinar series offerings so ASWM started offering a Hot Topics Webinar Series as a way to get important information out quickly to a broad audience. Some of the topics in the past have included the Clean Water Rule, 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 .

For a list of available past Hot Topics webinar recordings, click here.

The Basics of Wetland Plant Identification

Thursday, June 1, 2017 – 3:00 p.m. eastern, 2:00 pm central, 1:00 pm mountain, 12:00 pm pacific, 11:00 am Alaska and 9:00 am Hawaii


Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]



This webinar will be taught at a beginner or novice level and is open to anyone interested in learning about or improving their knowledge of plant terminology, the characteristics of common wetland plant families and species, introducing the proper use of plant keying using various resources. Those just entering the world of wetlands and wetland plant identification will benefit from learning the diagnostic characteristics of the most encountered wetland plant families and species in the Midwest. Those with some prior experience will be able to refresh their skills and enhance their intermediate skills. This webinar will start with an introduction to wetland plants and their adaptions to a wet environment.  The goal of the webinar is to give basic information and tools on wetland plant identification.  Specifically this webinar will include an introduction to wetland plant adaptations, morphology, terminology, and the tools to aid in plant identification (structure and use of dichotomous keys). 


Joe Ely is a Plant Ecologist and has been a Professor of Biology for 14 years. He has worked in the field of Plant Ecology and Botany for more than 25 years. He has field experience on barrier islands, mix-mesophytic forests, grasslands, northern conifer forests, and numerous wetlands.

Joe has a B.S. degree in Biology from Salem College, WV, a M.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Marshall University, and his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University. 


Part 1: Introduction: Jeanne Christie, Association of State Wetland Managers       Part 2: Presenter: Joe Ely, University of Central Missouri
Part 3: Presenter: Joe Ely, University of Central Missouri        Part 4: Presenter: Joe Ely, University of Central Missouri 
Part 5: Presenter: Joe Ely, University of Central Missouri        Part 6: Questions/Answers 


Wetland Link International - Americas Webinar:

Successfully Attracting Local People into Wetland Sites 

Traducción en español disponible

Hosted by the Association of State Wetland Managers

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 – 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT


Many wetland sites work hard to engage local people, providing communications and publicity materials, trying to make them relevant to a wide range of local stakeholders. However, many of us still struggle to bring local people into our wetlands, and this seminar looks at how we can learn from each other on the best way make wetlands relevant to people in your local area.

If you work in wetland or environmental education and engagement within the Americas, Wetland Link International (WLI) Americas and the Association of State Wetland Managers invite you to join this free webinar. Presentations will share engagement practices and lessons learned on various aspects of environmental engagement at wetland sites, including case studies from WLI partners in North, Central and South America. We will also provide consecutive translation into English – Spanish and Spanish - English.


Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Mangers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


Introductory Remarks (English) - Chris Rostron, Wetland Link International, UK

Chris manages the WLI global project, a support network for those delivering education, engagement and awareness-raising activities at wetland education centers.  He will introduce the WLI Americas Network, the webinar topic, and presenters.

Engaging your Neighbors (English) - Nathalie Bays, Oak Hammock Marsh, Canada

Keeping exhibits and programming fresh on a limited budget can be challenging. Learn how Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre works to remain relevant to the local community through a variety of engaging programs.

Using Social Media to Bring Visitors to Your Site (Spanish) - Daniel Bernal, Wetlands Bogotá, Colombia [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Working to better engage people at an urban Wetlands in Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, has meant using social media in various forms to bring them in.  Daniel will talk about what works and what doesn’t.

Fly Like an Eagle – Using Wildlife Cameras to Attract Local and International Visitors (English) - John DeFillipo, John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, Texas, US

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center has an active nesting pair of American Bald Eagles that can be monitored through a live wildlife camera on our website.  The presenter will discuss how this amenity attracts local and international visitors, as well as “armchair conservationists,” to become vested in the conservation mission of the center. 

Using Special Events to Engage Locals Onsite (Spanish) - Ingrid M. Flores, Caribbean Regional Coordinator for International Migratory Bird Day and Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival (Spanish)

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) takes place every year during Spring and Fall with events and activities coordinated across multiple sites in the Western Hemisphere.  Environment for the Americas is the home of IMBD and Birds Caribbean is the home of the Caribbean Endemic Birds Festival (CEBF) from April 22nd (Earth Day) to May 22nd (Biodiversity Day). Ingrid will discuss how to plan and deliver exciting and inclusive events on site.

Interactive Discussion

The last segment of the webinar hosted an interactive discussion where you were invited to share your experiences in engaging local citizens in wetland projects and protection. 


Chris Rostron is the Programme Manager for Wetland Link International, which is based at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in the United Kingdom.  He has worked in this position for the past 6 years.  He has a background in environmental community involvement, network development, and holds a Masters degree in Environment Management, with a focus on river basin management.

Nathalie Bays is the Manager of Operations at the award-winning Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre in Manitoba, Canada. Originally from the province of Quebec, she holds a BSC in Wildlife and an MSc in Natural Resource Sciences. She worked as the Education Coordinator for 14 years at the Interpretive Centre and has been the Manager for the past six.  The Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre is an award-winning wetland education facility located north of Winnipeg, with the mission to “Connect people with wetlands”.  

John DeFillipo, Director of the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center, is a naturalist with over 20 years of experience blending ecological concepts with business insights.  John has been a naturalist with Camp McDowell Environmental Education Center in Alabama and Crow’s Neck Environmental Education Center in Mississippi.  In 2002, he became an Outreach Educator with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science where he presented endangered species programs, including live Alligators.  While living in Mississippi, John served as the president of the Mississippi Environmental Education Alliance and was the recipient of the 2008 Environmental Educator of the Year Award.  In 2008 he became Lead Natural Science Educator with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science before becoming the Director of the Wetland Center in March 2010.  In August 2015, John received the New Outstanding Leader Award from the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) where he currently serves as VP of Development.  

Daniel Bernal is an Electronic engineer. Founding member of the Wetlands Bogotá foundation, REtroCD programme, and Friend of the Van der Hammen Reserve; environmentalist, citizen reporter and environmental activist, birdwatcher, yoga and vegetarianism; I live in a wetland.

The Wetlands Bogotá foundation was the winner of the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards for "Young wetland champions 2015" and the "Premios Colombia En línea" as best research site in Colombia 2012.

Daniel is a member of the RetroCD programme, the first recycling programme for CDs/DVDs in Latin America. Part of the communication team of the Network of Friends of the Thomas Van de Hammen Reserve.

Listed as: ‘Environmentalist to follow on twitter in 2016’ by the Network for Environmental Justice in Colombia. Columnist as part of the celebration of 130 years of the Spectador newspaper with the article ‘Bogota wetlands; an oasis in the big city’.

Ingrid M. Flores
 is a wildlife biologist with experience conducting research, teaching science, and working with the public.  Ingrid is also project manager and wildlife biologist at the Sea Turtles Conservation Program of Palmas de Mar Resort in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Ingrid coordinates CEBF and IMBD activities across the Caribbean, working with over 30 coordinators from Bermuda to Bonaire. This entails helping coordinators plan activities, facilitating their work with local media, and distributing education and outreach materials on Caribbean birds and the festival theme to our network of coordinators. She has a M.S. degree in Environmental Management and also served as an adjunct professor in the Department Natural Science and Technology at the University of Turabo in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, where she taught biology to undergraduate students.



Recorded Webinar: 2017 Annual State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Meeting

What's Next for Clean Water Act Jurisdiction:

Maintaining - or Draining - the Swamps? The Future of the Clean Water Rule

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 


Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers 


In the spring of 2017 the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are implementing Executive Order 13778 on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and the Economic Growth by Reviewing the ”Waters of the United States” Rule which directs the federal agencies to rescind the current Clean Water Rule and replace it.  This recorded webinar by Stephen Samuels, retired, formerly with Department of Justice, provides information about the status of the currently stayed Clean Water Rule and the case that has been accepted to be heard in 2018 before the Supreme Court, as well as a succinct overview of  Supreme  Court decisions addressing Clean Water Act jurisdiction in recent decades through the present day .  



Now retired, Stephen Samuels was previously Assistant Chief of the Environmental Defense Section of the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.  In that capacity, Mr. Samuels supervised a staff of 15 attorneys handling federal district court litigation involving all the major environmental pollution statutes.  Mr. Samuels has 31 years of experience enforcing and defending the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program.  During that time, he helped lead the federal government’s litigation responses to the Supreme Court's decisions in SWANCC, Rapanos, Sackett and Hawkes.  Until his retirement in January 2017, Mr. Samuels headed the DOJ litigation team that defended challenges to the Clean Water Rule.  Mr. Samuels is a frequent speaker on Clean Water Act jurisdiction at conferences around the country.  Mr. Samuels previously was an attorney with the U.S. Department of Energy and with the law firm of Breed, Abbott & Morgan.  Mr. Samuels earned his J.D. in 1977 from Stanford Law School and his B.A. in 1974 from Tulane University.


Part 1: Introduction: Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers
 Stephen Samuels, Retired, formerly with Department of Justice

      Part 2: Presenter: Stephen Samuels, Retired, formerly with Department of Justice



Nationwide Permit Rule Webinar: Low-head Dam Removal: Technical Issues and Considerations for State/Tribal/Federal Review

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 3:00 p.m. ET


Jeane Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Mangersand Peg Bostwick, Association of State Wetland Mangers



The New Frontier: An Overview of Recent Policy and Regulatory Changes Affecting Dam Removal Projects

Removing dams and other instream barriers can be one of the fastest, most effective ways of restoring ecological function. However, as more dam removal projects are proposed, many proponents have found that the regulatory environment can be unreasonably complicated, time consuming, and expensive for both the applicant and regulatory authorities. Over the course of the last 18 months, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has completed rulemaking that has a direct bearing on implementation of future dam removal projects and attempts to address some of these challenges. This presentation will provide an overview of the issuance of the new Corps nationwide permit (NWP) 53, Removal of Low-Head Dams, including the use of case studies to illustrate select projects where this type of permit may have been applicable.


Serena McClain is a director of river restoration with American Rivers in Washington, DC. She has worked in the river restoration field for more than 15 years, engaging with regional and national stakeholders to demonstrate how to enhance safety, quality of life and economic development by restoring the natural function of rivers. McClain has managed and provided technical assistance to projects around the country, utilizing her communications and policy expertise to ensure that local communities and key decision-makers are aware of the opportunities available to them and are equipped with the tools necessary to aid them in those decisions. She currently leads the program’s dam removal practice.

Jim MacBroom earned BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and is a registered Professional Engineer in five states. He is Vice President of Milone & MacBroom Inc, a Civil and Environmental Engineering consulting firm located in Cheshire Connecticut, and he developed and taught graduate courses in River Processes & Restoration and Applied Hydrology at Yale University for 17 years. He has over 35 years of experience in watershed management, open channel hydraulics, dam repair and removal, fish passage, computer modeling, fluvial morphology, stream restoration, and tidal systems. Jim is a member of the ASCE Stream Restoration Committee, American Rivers Technical Advisory Committee, and was a speaker at the annual University of Wisconsin continuing education course on dam removal.

Jim has planned, designed, and inspected many river restoration and dam removal projects including earth, timber crib, and concrete structures, with a special interest in sediment management, channel evolution, and design of natural-like bypass channels.

A recording of the January 19 webinar, “Overview of the Final Rule on Issuance and Reissuance of the §404 Nationwide Permits” is available here. 



Part 1: Introduction: Jeanne Christie and Peg Bostwick, Association of State Wetland Managers
Presenter: Serena McClain, American Rivers

      Part 2: Presenter: Serena McClain, American Rivers
Part 3: Presenter: James MacBroom, Milone & MacBroom       Part 4: Presenter: James MacBroom, Milone & MacBroom
Part 5: Questions/Answers        


Overview of the Final Rule on Issuance and Reissuance of the §404 Nationwide Permits

Thursday, January 19 from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.


Jeane Christie, Executive Director, ASWM and Peg Bostwick, Association of State Wetland Mangers


Dave Olson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


On Friday, January 6 the Final Rule on Issuance and Reissuance of §404 Nationwide Permits (NWPs) was published in the Federal Register. The NWPs authorize a variety of activities in jurisdictional waters and wetlands under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, as long as those activities result in no more than minimal adverse environmental effects. The 50 existing and two new nationwide permits for living shorelines and lowhead dam removal will go into effect on March 18, 2017. There are differences between the proposed rule for nationwide permits issued in June of 2016 and the final rule published on January 6. The purpose of this webinar is to a provide a briefing to state and tribes and other interested parties understanding the final changes to the existing nationwide permits as well as gain additional information about the two new nationwides. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. A more thorough understanding of the contents of the final rule will facilitate Section 401 Certification and Coastal Consistency Review as well as discussions between the states and the Corps Districts on development of regional conditions in the coming months.


David Olson is a Regulatory Program Manager at the Headquarters office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has worked for the Corps since 1991, beginning as a Regulatory Project Manager at the Baltimore District, evaluating permit applications for work in waters and wetlands. In 2002, he began working at his current position at Corps Headquarters. He manages the Corps' nationwide permit program and works on Endangered Species Act compliance. His other responsibilities include providing advice on applying wetland and stream mitigation policies and regulations. He is also developing an approach for cumulative effects analysis in the Corps' regulatory program.



Part 1: Introduction: Jeanne Christie and Peg Bostwick, Association of State Wetland Managers

      Part 2: Presenter: Dave Olson, U.S. Army Corps of
Part 3: Presenter: Dave Olson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers       Part 4: Presenter: Dave Olson, U.S. Army Corps of
Part 5: Presenter: Dave Olson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers       Part 6: Questions/Answers



Past Webinars: 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012

Future Webinars