NWMAWG March 27, 2013 Call Theme: Use of Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Information to Inform Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Activities – State Examples
The March NWMAWG call focused on the use of monitoring and assessment data/information to inform state planning for wildlife conservation and restoration programs. Three states; Nebraska, Delaware and Wisconsin, highlighted elements of their restoration programs that make use of some level of assessment (Monitoring and Assessment Levels 1, 2, or 3).
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has developed plans to guide wetland and wildlife restoration efforts using landscape tools and comprehensive assessment techniques. GIS modeling and LiDAR technology have been used to prioritize wetland potential to provide waterfowl habitat and to locate prime topography for restoration. Nebraska has used on the ground comprehensive assessment methods (Level 3) to validate these GIS maps (Level 1) and to document and assess vegetation communities. The Game and Parks Commission is collecting extensive wetland data now for future use, such as research involving climate change.
DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program goal is to use wetland monitoring and assessment to inform education, voluntary restoration and regulatory protection programs. The program uses all levels of monitoring and assessment particularly a rapid assessment method (Level 2) and comprehensive methods (Level 3). Robust level 2 and 3 assessment methods/data are used to inform state programs, decision makers, and conservation partners. DNREC uses assessment results to report out on wetland condition and to provide data to inform restoration/protection efforts. Other goals include use of monitoring and assessment data to inform regulatory decision-making and the mitigation process, such as development of more ecologically based performance standards. DNREC has established a successful outreach campaign which relies heavily on electronic media (social media, websites, etc.) to share data and information and to foster public awareness.
Tom Bernthal – Wetland Ecologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Presentation title – Duck-Pensaukee Watershed Approach Project
The Duck-Pensaukee Watershed Approach Project was implemented to address the need to incorporate a watershed approach into §404/CWA mitigation project planning. The project, in partnership with the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) aimed to develop/test/implement an approach and method for three pilot watersheds across U.S. with an objective of tying regulatory and non-regulatory conservation to the same objective: watershed health and functionality. Using the Duck-Pensaukee Watershed in Wisconsin the WNDR developed an index of ecosystem service change by creating maps at a watershed scale. These maps can then be used by conservation practitioners targeting restoration of specific ecosystem services or a suite of services. The Wildlife Habitat Tool, to be used in conjunction with the ecosystem services maps, was developed using GIS data and expert judgment to determine important habitats and habitat needs for wildlife. WDNR has a program that uses all levels of wetland monitoring and assessment and has used these methods to inform the Duck-Pensaukee Watershed Project.
NWMAWG June 18, 2013 Webinar Theme: Coastal Wetland Monitoring and the features that make it unique and important for state and National Estuary Programs.
Presentation Title – Validation of the California Rapid Assessment Methodology for Bar-Built Estuaries
The Central Coast Wetlands Group (CCWG) has been compiling existing comprehensive (Level 3) data from across the state on coastal lagoons and is collecting new Level 3 data using the California Rapid Assessment Methodology (CRAM). The cost effective and potentially valuable metrics will be used to verify and validate the new CRAM module. Next steps include quantifying the linkage between mouth dynamics and ecosystem services of marsh plains, investigating species services/nursery role of the estuaries, and interpreting historical topographic sheets (T-sheets) of coastal lagoons to look at what services these systems provided in the past.
Presentation Title – Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring in Michigan
Michigan is involved with two Great Lakes Coastal Wetland monitoring projects. The first project was to develop an implementable, long-term program to monitor Great Lakes coastal wetland quality across the state. The second project monitored and assessed approximately 75 coastal wetlands using Michigan’s Rapid Assessment Method (MiRAM) and comprehensive (level 3) intensive protocols for vegetation, invertebrates, fish, and water chemistry. Next steps include updating the Michigan Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Strategy, further develop GIS mapping tools, and analyze ongoing monitoring efforts for new priorities.
Jan Smith – Coastal Habitat and Marine Water Quality Manager, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management
Since 1995, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has been actively working on projects to advance wetland assessment methods and approaches for coastal wetland systems. CZM has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to develop and implement a statewide wetlands monitoring and assessment program. CZM is also engaged in identifying how information on wetland condition can be used to improve existing state programs for wetlands protection and restoration.
Danielle Kreeger – Science Director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary NEP and Martha Maxwell-Doyle – Deputy Director Barnegat Bay Partnership NJ NEP
Over the last few years, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) has led an initiative to establish an integrated wetlands monitoring and assessment network for the Delaware Estuary. PDE has also worked closely with the Barnegat Bay Partnership to expand the wetlands monitoring network into Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. The monitoring project uses the EPA’s three-tier wetlands approach for the development of a monitoring and assessment program. This project is a major step forward and is part of a larger initiative, the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetlands Assessment (MACWA), which is envisioned as a regular, ongoing monitoring program that will span the area from coastal New Jersey to coastal Delaware.
NWMAWG December 10, 2013 Call Theme: Highlighting State Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Programs Status and Applications
Presentation Title: Wetland Monitoring in Alaska
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) conducted its first wetland condition assessment during the summer of 2011. The assessment was conducted on freshwater emergent wetlands in the Arctic Coastal Plain and included random and targeted sites. The lack of development, limited population, and remote nature of Alaska drives the selection of random surveys, typically only selecting sites with reference condition. In prior DEC surveys this proved to be problematic as you need a range of disturbance to understand condition and develop metrics based on stress. To overcome this “problem” we included targeted sites with known or potentially impacted conditions.
Barbara Scott – Wetland Programs Coordinator, Kentucky Division of Water
Presentation Title: Kentucky's Wetland Assessment Program
The Kentucky Division of Water has begun development of a wetland monitoring and assessment program. The program is modeling itself on the Level 1, 2, and 3 (Landscape, Rapid, Comprehensive respectively) approach advocated by EPA. Current efforts are concentrated in Level 2 and Kentucky is close to launching a rapid assessment method for wetlands. Winter of 2014/2014 Kentucky will develop a wetland program plan using the core elements framework, which will provide a road map for further development of the Kentucky’s wetland monitoring and assessment program.
Brenda Zollitsch – Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers
In 2014 the U.S. Environmental Agency will publish the National Wetland Condition Assessment, the first-ever national survey on the condition of the Nation's wetlands. The report will provide regional and national estimates of wetland ecological integrity. Many states as well as tribes and other federal partners participated in the design and sampling conducted to gather information about wetland health. The release of this report will provide states and tribes with an important opportunity to share additional information about the health of their wetlands. The Association of State Wetland Managers is developing materials to support development of state and tribal communication strategies to coincide with the release of the national report. Support materials for interested states and tribes currently planned include press kits), a fact sheet, Frequently Asked Questions, ‘plug and play’ website content, and briefing documents.