WatershedsAs defined by the EPA, a watershed is the land area that drains to one stream, lake or river. Watersheds exist at different geographic scales, from very large watersheds such as the land area that eventually drains to the Mississippi River, to the relatively small land area that drains to a local stream or pond. The health of a watershed directly affects the water quality of the body of water that it drains to. Because of this connection, healthy wetlands are an integral component of healthy watersheds, providing many essential ecosystem services.

Efforts to protect, restore, enhance and create wetlands improve overall watershed health and support climate change adaptation. Both traditional and innovative wetland protection and restoration projects - including hybrid systems using green infrastructure – are increasingly being employed to provide critical ecosystem services and benefits, such as increased flood and drought protection, clean drinking water, and habitat.

In 2019, ASWM completed a two-year project, entitled Healthy Wetlands, Healthy Watersheds, to help states and tribes build their capacity around integration efforts that leverage state wetland restoration and protection programs to improve watershed health. The products of this project include a white paper which can be found on our publication page, and state program integration case studies, watershed project integration case studies, and other support resources which are listed below.


 ASWM Resources for States and Tribes

State Wetland Program Integration Case Studies (ASWM, 2019)

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Indiana: Improving Program Efficiency for Wetland and Stormwater Permitting through Joint Management in Indiana. To Learn more about Indians's case study, view ASWM's Indiana Case Study Webinar here.

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Minnesota: Integration of Groundwater Appropriations Permitting and Surface Water Permits, including Wetlands

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Minnesota: "One Watershed, One Plan": An Initiative to Leverage Date to Get Better Results for Clean Water in Minnesota

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Missouri: Cross-Program Wetland Coordination in Missouri

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Nebraska: Incorporating Wetlands into Reservoir  Rehabilitation Projects for Fisheries and Other Benefits in Nebraska. To learn more about Nebraska's case study, view ASWM's Nebraska's Case Study Webinar here.

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: New Mexico: Integrating Wetlands into Nonpoint Source Plans and 319 Projects

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Vermont: Integration of the Vermont Watershed Management Division’s Water Quality Monitoring Programs: Combining Wetland, Lake

ASWM State Wetland Program Integration Case Study: Vermont: Wetland Restoration and TMDLs in Vermont' s Lake Champlain Basin

Watershed Project Integration Case Studies: Factsheets and Data Sheets (ASWM, 2019)

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Delaware River Basin (DE): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Upper St. Jonh’s River (FL): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Beaver Creek Watershed (IA): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Anacostia River Watershed (MD): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Vermillion River Watershed (MN): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Jemez River Watershed (NM): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Johnson Creek Watershed (OR): Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Lewisville Lake Watershed (TX) Factsheet and Datasheet

ASWM Watershed Project Integration Case Study: Yakima River Basin (WA): Factsheet and Datasheet

Capturing the Value of Integration Factsheet: Considering Benefit-Cost Measures When Making Decisions about Integration Activities (ASWM, 2019) 

Healthy Wetlands, Healthy Watersheds Worksheet for Integration Partners

Based on findings from ASWM’s Healthy Wetlands, Healthy Watersheds Project, this worksheet facilitates dialogue between partners as they conduct internal assessment of integration readiness. Partners should work together to review and discuss their levels of agreement with each statement and use the remainder of the worksheet to guide planning efforts. This worksheet is designed to supplement other capacity building resources and guides. 


Webinars on the Healthy Wetlands, Healthy Watersheds Project

ASWM Members' Webinar

Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance Webinars


Useful External Publications and Resources 

EPA Website on Healthy Watersheds: Protecting Aquatic Systems through Landscape Approaches

EPA Website on Incorporating Wetland Restoration and Protection in Planning Documents

Identifying and Protecting Healthy Watersheds: Concepts. Assessments and Management Approaches (EPA, 2012)

Healthy Watersheds Initiative: National Framework and Action Plan (EPA, 2011)

Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (March 2008)

Center for Watershed Protection: Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices Manual (Center for Watershed Protection, 2016)