Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

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by Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, ASWM

What is American Wetlands Month?

American Wetlands Month was created in 1991 by  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector partners to “celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the Nation’s ecological, economic, and social health and to educate Americans about the value of wetlands as a natural resource”. Historically, annual events such as national and regional conferences have been organized to include a broad range of people including wetland scientists, educators, and public interest.

 Why Are Wetlands Important?

Celebrating American Wetlands Month reminds us to celebrate that wetlands provide many invaluable functions on which our communities and ecosystems rely.  They serve as the “kidneys” of the landscape through their ability to remove excess nutrients, toxic substances and sediment from water that flows through them, helping to improve wetlands042717downstream water quality and the overall health of the waters in our communities.
Wetlands can retain significant percentages of pollutants such as nitrates, ammonium,
phosphorus and sediment loads[1]. Natural wetlands have also been effective in removing harmful contaminants such as pesticides, landfill leachate, dissolved chlorinated compounds, metals and excessive stormwater runoff. They also protect against flooding, provide recreational opportunities and serve as important habitat for many wildlife species.

Ways to Celebrate American Wetlands Month

1) Participate in American Wetlands Month Events

There are wetland events scheduled across the country to celebrate American Wetlands Month.  Check with your state wetland program or local conservation organizations to learn what’s happening in your community.  A few examples:

  • wetlandsfestival042717If you want to get a head start on American Wetlands Month, head to Pennsylvania on April 29th and celebrate Wildwood Park’s treasured wetlands and the American Wetlands Month of May with a day of free fun and educational wetland activities. Enjoy entertainment, follow along with storytelling, and get to know the animals of Wildwood with live animal programs. Attendees can adopt a turtle to support turtle research, make a craft and participate in children’s activities, explore creative exhibitor displays and unique vendors. Activities and programs are designed for families, children and adults.
  • Volunteer your time for the Wetland Workday at Kingman Marsh with the Anacostia Watershed Society in Washington, DC. AWS is working to restore the wetlands to the shore of the Anacostia River. This Wetland Workday may involve planting wetland plants, repairing fencing, or removing debris. Often times work is done by standing in the river while wearing waders, so this is a truly unique experience!
  • laddmarsh042717From May 19-21st, check out the Ladd Marsh Bird Festival in in the Grande Ronde Valley of Northeast Oregon, near the town of La Grande. Participate in field trips and visit birding stations, listen to original songs about the marsh and its avian inhabitants, and receive a passport with directions to various birding sites.
  • libbyhillOn Sunday, May 21st, join ASWM’s Executive Director Jeanne Christie, a Maine Master Naturalist on an Appalachian Mountain Club
    Maine Chapter hike to a beaver pond/heron rookery in Libby Hills Forest
    Recreation Area
    . Libby Hills is located in Gray behind the Gray/New Gloucester Middle School on Libby Hill road. The beaver pond is well-established with multiple dams. In recent years a heron rookery has moved in on the dead trees (snags) in the beaver pond and it is anticipated they will be on their nests in May. Hikers will have an opportunity to observe the herons and search for other wildlife and wildlife signs along the edge of the pond. The hike will be on the Libby Hill trail system with some bushwhacking to explore along the edge of the beaver pond. The terrain is rolling and the total length of the hike is estimated at around three miles.

aswmwebinars2) Learn More about Wetlands

This is a great time to better understand what a wetland is, where wetlands can be found and the importance of wetlands in your community. Try reading about wetland areas, drawing maps of wetlands you have visited or even identifying native plant species found in wetlands.  Here are some specific ways you can learn about wetlands:

  • If you are new to wetlands and just want to dip your toe in, take a look at the National Environmental Education Foundation website, which lets users know a little about wetlands in each U.S. state.
  • If you want to better understand the different ways wetland programs are run across the nation, check out ASWM’s national report on State Wetland Programs. Chock full of maps and other graphics, the report can give you a flavor for the trends occurring across the nation and some of the challenges that still need to be addressed.
  • If you already know a lot about wetlands, take a course or commit to learning something new about wetlands. ASWM lists a range of training opportunities and our website is chock full of information and reports that offer a range of information to expand your knowledge base.
  • Participate in a wetland webinar – ASWM is offering several webinars in the month of May. Please join us for one of them!

cowetlandsapp3) Explore a Wetland near You

Wetlands exist in all 50 states, so there is a good chance a scenic wetland exists nearby for you to visit and explore during American Wetlands Month and throughout the year!  To find a wetland near you, consult your local parks department, state natural resource agency or the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  Be sure to check if your state has field guides for purchase on your mobile phone such as the brand new Colorado Wetlands Mobile App or Nebraska Wetlands Mobile App.  Both are available for free at Google Play and in the iTunes Store.

4) Volunteer at a Wetland Site or Center

wetlandsjeanne042717Many wetland sites are actively looking for volunteers.  Such opportunities for service often include helping out with special events, greeters, guides, office, trail maintenance and site operations.  Check out wetland volunteer monitoring opportunities, become a wetland center or institute volunteer (e.g. Wetlands Institute), or join small and large group activities (e.g. through an organization like the Anacostia Watershed Society).

5) Share Your Knowledge about Wetlands

Knowledge about the status and trends of the world’s remaining wetlands is very patchy and limited. To improve this knowledge, and to better inform wetland policy and decision-making, an international partnership of wetland organizations invite you to participate in a short, simple worldwide questionnaire survey to gather better knowledge from you about the state of wetlands.  Are you familiar with a wetland? You don’t have to be a wetlands professional or know much about wetlands to help share useful information about the wetlands you know.  The survey is open to anyone who wants to share about the state of a wetland(s) they know, whether large or small.

The survey is a collaborative initiative between the Society of Wetland Scientists (Ramsar Section), the World Wetland Network and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, with the help of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.  You can complete the questionnaire on-line in multiple languages.  The deadline to complete the survey is September 30, 2017. The survey takes less than 10 minutes of your time to complete. If you don’t know how to answer one of the questions, just skip it.  To access the survey: http://www.worldwetnet.org/about-us/world-wetlands-survey-2017

swampwetlands0427176) Take Part in Interactive Opportunities on ASWM’s
Social Media Pages All Month Long

ASWM has all sorts of fun planned for American Wetlands Month.  Make sure you join ASWM’s Facebook Page to participate!  We will be sharing information, tips, interactive engagement activities and a few surprises!  Look for our mysterious wetland friend to guide you!

7) Take Action to Protect and/or Restore Wetlands

Support and promote wetlands by telling community members about wetlands’ vital roles, “adopting” a wetland, joining a local watershed group, or restoration project.  ASWM has recently released a document providing guidance on how to improve performance in wetland restoration activities.  Before undertaking these or working with others to do so, we encourage you to check out the recommendations in this paper.

8) Support Wetland Organizations

joinaswm042717Your support means the world to us, whether using our resources, participating in a workgroup or a workshop, following our posts, or reading our latest news updates.  We love to hear from you.  If you would like to help us continue to do our wetland work, we welcome your financial support, in terms of either becoming an ASWM member or making a donation to the Association of State Wetland Managers.  Your donation makes it possible for ASWM to conduct work on emerging areas of interest that may not be covered by grants and contracts.  If you would like to become a member and gain access to all the benefits it brings with it, please check out our membership page.

Whatever you do to Celebrate American Wetlands Month – Make it Count for Wetlands

In the end, what matters is that you are doing something that helps wetlands.  Becoming more knowledgeable about wetlands, sharing that knowledge, getting out and supporting a wetland site, sharing stories or supporting a specific wetland organization — it all is part of celebrating these remarkable resources this American Wetlands Month and all year round.

okefenokeeswamp042717wetlands

[1] Studies indicate that wetlands perform these services, the extent to which depends on the type of wetland, the season and other factors, wetlands (Source: EPA).

Posted in American Wetlands Month, Association of State Wetland Managers, wetland education, wetland management, wetland monitoring, wetland recreation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

bos2Why Rust Belt States Are Tackling Methane When Trump Won’t

By Dan Grossman – Forbes – March 23, 2017
Nobody raises an eyebrow when California takes steps to rein in air pollution – but what’s going on when conservative-leaning rust belt states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania are doing the same? At a time when the Trump administration and Congress seek to scale back federal rules targeting methane emissions from energy production, a growing number of states that swung in favor of Trump in 2016 are heading in the opposite direction. For full story, click here.

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wppWetland Watchers Celebration’ introduces new crop of students to outdoors

By Barry Guillot – Nola-The Times-Picayume – April 9, 2017
St. Charles Parish Wetland Watchers Park is a popular place on the weekends. Hundreds of people visit the lakeshore park to crab, fish, kayak, picnic, or just relax. Recently, in the middle of a week, over 1,800 people gathered for a different reason…to introduce a whole new group of students to the Wetland Watchers Program and to celebrate another busy year of group’s activities. For full blog post, click here.

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kevincoulton_042117An opinion-editorial by Kevin G. Coulton, PE[1], CFM[2]

March 10, 2017

An extended article will appear in ASWM’s March/April issue of Wetland News.

[1,225 words]

The Trump Administration has announced an “America’s Infrastructure First” policy[3]. While I am supportive of the need to improve our Nation’s infrastructure, I am concerned that we may end up draining more than just the “political swamp” to accomplish this goal and place new and rebuilt infrastructure at risk from flooding, the most costly natural disaster in America[4].

America was first made great because of our natural resources and, in part, by the draining of swamps (the bogs, marshes, and frequently flooded areas, collectively known as wetlands) to allow navigation, agriculture, transportation, and land development to occur and our Nation to prosper. In the early 1600’s, the land area comprising the eventual United States had approximately 221 million acres of wetlands[5]; now only about half of these important resources remain[6].

This conversion of the natural to built environment is characteristic of our perception of “infrastructure”; i.e., over the eons, humans have attempted to dominate and control nature to survive, then subsist, and now hopefully flourish. As a practicing civil engineer I was taught to design infrastructure and for much of my career I associated this with the tangible concrete and steel projects built by engineers that we see around us.  This definition of infrastructure is supported by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)—which I am a member—that publishes a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure every four years. With respect to flood control, the recently released 2017 report card grades the 90,580 dams and the 30,000 miles of levees in the U.S. both a D, with estimated needed investments in excess of $64 billion and $80 billion, respectively[7].

Even with dams and levees to control flooding, much of our infrastructure remains at risk. For example, the President himself owns a significant amount of coastal infrastructure and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida is located in a FEMA flood hazard zone that was established back in 1982[8]. Over the intervening 35 years there has been an observed rise in mean sea level of nearly a half foot in this area[9] and an accelerating rise in local sea levels, combined with more frequent rain, high tide, and storm surge events[10], may lead to an increasing frequency of flooding for this region in the years to come.

The new President is a businessman and, as he says in his book, The Art of the Deal, he takes a very conservative approach and always anticipates the worst.[11] As he leads the nation to rebuild our infrastructure, I would encourage him to anticipate the worst and consider an approach to reduce flood risk through infrastructure spending that costs less to maintain and is more resilient to future flooding.

But how should we do that?

Again, from the President’s book, “Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”[12] I agree, and infrastructure to reduce flooding is already available to us free of charge and involves working with the natural systems of forests, floodplains—and, yes, swamps—that have inherent abilities to slow and reduce the force of water.

We need to view Nature as our business partner.  As we improve our aging infrastructure by working with nature instead of against it we have an opportunity to make these pending investments more resilient to flooding and economically viable by accommodating the natural functions of floodplains (peak flow reduction, flood storage, erosion control, water quality maintenance, groundwater recharge, etc.[13]) instead of trying to control them.

As a practicing civil engineer, and former city planning commissioner, I understand the human desire to build things, and flat floodplain lands have been tempting to drain and develop to increase the tax base of a community and the economic vitality of the nation. However, this economic boost is then plagued in perpetuity with the uncertainty of the timing and magnitude of the next flood event that will inevitably occur and threaten infrastructure that was built in harm’s way.

According to the ASCE, the Nation’s aging roadways, bridges, ports, water systems, and other critical infrastructure will require $4.6 trillion to fix by 2025[14]. While we intuitively understand the economic benefits of a road or a bridge, and that the concrete and steel for this infrastructure comes from our natural resources, what about the economic benefit of a swamp? Increasing efforts are being made to value the benefits we derive from ecosystem services (water supply, natural waste treatment, habitat, food production, etc.)[15]. With an estimated 20 million acres of floodplain area in the U.S.[16] and a potential value of $10,000 per acre per year in ecosystem services provided by swamps and floodplains[17], we may have $200 trillion per year in natural infrastructure available to help us reduce America’s flood risk…while making America’s swamps great again.

Kevin Coulton is a consulting water resources engineer and a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) with an academic background in civil engineering and landscape architecture.

Kevin G. Coulton

971-322-8043

[1] Registered Professional Engineer (PE) in WA, OR, ID, and CA.

[2] Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM).

[3] Trump Pence Make America Great Again, 2017. Infrastructure: Donald J. Trump’s Vision  https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/an-americas-infrastructure-first-plan

[4] National Flood Insurance Program, 2010. Flooding: Our Nation’s Most Frequent and Costly Natural Disaster, March. http://bready.sd.gov/docs/Flooding.pdf

[5] Dahl, T.W., and G.J. Allord, Technical Aspects of Wetlands: History of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States, National Water Summary on Wetland Resources, United States Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 2425,  https://water.usgs.gov/nwsum/WSP2425/history.html

[6]Dahl, T.E., 2011. Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009, U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service Report to Congress, Washington, D.C. 108 pp. Page 37. https://www.fws.gov/wetlands/Documents/Status-and-Trends-of-Wetlands-in-the-Conterminous-United-States-2004-to-2009.pdf

[7] American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017. 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, March 9. http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org

[8] FEMA, 1982, Flood Insurance Rate Map, Town of Palm Beach, Florida, Palm Beach County, Panel 3 of 5, Community Panel Number 120220 0003 C, Map Revised September 30. [The Mar-a-Lago estate is located in a FEMA Zone C (an area of minimal flood hazard, with ponding and local drainage problems)].

[9] NOAA, 2013. Tides & Currents, Mean Sea Level Trend 8722670 Lake Worth Pier, Revised: October 15. https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?stnid=8722670 [The mean sea level trend at a tide gage on the Lake Worth Pier , located about 4 miles due south of the estate].

[10] Shimon Wdowinski, Ronald Bray, Ben P. Kirtman, Zhaohua Wu. 2016. Increasing flooding hazard in coastal communities due to rising sea level: Case study of Miami Beach, Florida. Ocean and Coastal Management. Volume 126, June 2016, Pages 1- 8. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569116300278 [A 2016 study indicates the average regional rate of sea level rise in southeast Florida has increased to about 9 millimeters per year after 2006 based on data from a gage about 70 miles south of the estate].

[11] Trump, D.J., 1987. Art of the Deal, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, page 48.

[12] Trump, D.J., 1987. Art of the Deal, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, page 28.

[13] The Task Force on the Natural and Beneficial Functions of the Floodplain, 2002. The Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains: Reducing Flood Losses by Protecting and Restoring the Floodplain Environment, A report for Congress, June. https://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/environment/naturalfunct_flood_fema409.pdf

[14] American Society of Civil Engineers, 2017. 2017 Infrastructure Report Card: Economic Impact, March 9. http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/the-impact/economic-impact/

[15] Earth Economics, 2016. The Ecosystem Valuation Toolkit. http://esvaluation.org/

[16] Tockner, K, and J.A. Stanford, 2002. Review of: Riverine flood plains: present state and future trends, Biological Sciences Faculty Publications, Paper 166, University of Montana. http://scholarworks.umt.edu/biosci_pubs/166

[17] Costanza, R., R. de Groot, P. Sutton, S. van der Ploeg, S. J. Anderson, I. Kubiszewski, S. Farber, and R. K. Turner, 2014.  Changes in the global value of ecosystem services, Global Environmental Change 26, pages 152–158. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378014000685

 

© 2017 Kevin G. Coulton – All rights reserved

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bos2 Can Oysters, Coastal Restoration Create Jobs?

By – Coastal Review Online – March 30, 2017
When European settlers first arrived in North Carolina’s sounds, historical accounts indicate that the water was so clear a dropped coin could be seen falling to the bottom of the sound. The waters once teemed with so many oysters that their reefs were a navigational hazard. These days, the water looks murkier, and regular shellfish harvesting closures illustrate the impact humans have made on the health of the state’s estuarine systems. For full story, click here.

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wppVIDEO: In Chesapeake Bay cleanup, a larger ecosystem at stake

By Julia Wall, Logan Jaffee and Guglielmo Mattiol – The New York Times-The Daily 360 – April 11, 2017 – Video
To view video, click here.

 

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bos2 Dam Busters

By Paul Greenberg – Hakai Magazine – April 4, 2017
In staid New England, if a younger man drives onto the property of an elderly woman and threatens to knock something down, you expect pushback: an argument, a call to the authorities, and the subsequent removal of the man from the premises. But on a cool November morning in Colchester, Connecticut, quite the opposite is occurring. Here, on the banks of a midsized watercourse called the Jeremy River, Steve Gephard, a fisheries biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environment Protection, has arrived with Sally Harold of the Nature Conservancy and a backhoe-mounted jackhammer. They direct workmen to rip down a dam on the property of 84-year-old Yankee matriarch Nan Wasniewski. As the jackhammer bashes through the concrete, and water begins flowing unimpeded downstream for the first time in almost three centuries, Wasniewski, dressed in a crisp blue windbreaker, can only shake her head at the spectacle. She sold the dam to the town for a dollar. In return, she earned the chance to bring a river back to life. For full article, click here.

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wppWhere Levees Fail In California, Nature Can Step In To Nurture Rivers

By Lauren Sommer – npr –  March 29, 2017
After millions of dollars of flood damage and mass evacuations this year, California is grappling with how to update its aging flood infrastructure. Some say a natural approach might be part of the answer. For full story, click here.

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by Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, ASWM

Please note that this is a compilation of information developed by other organizations and agencies working on the protection of ephemeral wetlands and the organisms that rely on them.  All sources are cited with hyperlinks to the original materials.

Still Waiting for Spring Here in Maine

Most areas of the U.S. are experiencing spring right now.  However, we here in Maine are still trying to get the weekend’s snow off the roads after yet another big storm that dropped almost a foot of snow the last weekend of March.  This week’s icy rain is helping speed the clearing process.  However it is anything but pleasant, mixed with giant snowflakes and pelting ice.  Regardless, I am noticing hints of spring.  Tender green shoots are bravely trying to come up here and there.  Songbirds are more vocal.  Streams are starting to 1vernalpoolmain040617gush.  One of the clearest signs of spring is Big Night, the period of time each spring when amphibians travel to ephemeral pools to reproduce.  This annual trek of frogs and salamanders is a highlight for wetland enthusiasts, with professionals and novices alike jockeying to guesstimate when it will occur.

In Maine, spring feels like a hard fought reward for surviving the rugged cold and snow that keeps even the hardiest of souls more housebound than they would prefer.  As a family, we visit wetlands throughout the year, but the best moments for me are when you see the green buds on the tips of branches and shoots coming up from the muddy ground.  A part of this, too, is the filling of ephemeral wetlands, those temporary pools that create what I like to call amphibian “love ponds”.

Ephemeral Wetlands: The Wetland Quick Change Artist

Many wetlands go through seasonal changes, but none more so than ephemeral wetlands.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines ephemeral wetlands as depressional wetlands that temporarily hold water, usually in the spring and early summer or after heavy rains. Periodically, these wetlands dry, often in mid to late summer. They may be isolated without a permanent inlet or outlet, but may overflow during times of high water. Ephemeral wetlands are often free of fish, which allows for the successful breeding of certain amphibians and invertebrates. These seasonal wetlands result from winter snowmelt and spring rains, and typically occur in low areas.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources shares that some seasonal wetlands may not have visible standing water, but instead they have waterlogged soils. By mid-summer, most seasonal pools have dried out or are just barely moist. There are many different types of seasonal wetlands including seasonal pools, springs, seeps, coastal plain marshes and lake plain wet prairies.  You may know ephemeral wetlands by other names as well, since they are often also referred to as ephemeral ponds, seasonal ponds, temporary ponds or ecologyvernalpoolsvernal pools.

Although many of these seasonal wetlands may be less than a half-acre in size, they provide an important food source for migratory songbirds and  sage grouse chicks, waterfowl, breeding and feeding areas for amphibians and reptiles, and critical winter food supplies for wild turkeys, deer,  and other birds and mammals. If you are lucky enough to own any of these seasonal wetlands, you will notice they are used by a wide variety of wildlife.   They are critical for migrating birds and important for flood control and water quality.

Ephemeral Wetlands Play a Critical Role for Amphibians

The ecology of ephemeral wetlands plays an important overall role in ecosystems.  The Coastal Plains Institute has worked extensively on issues connected to ephemeral wetlands.  They share that ephemeral ponds are essential to the survival of many amphibians: “Some amphibian species lack the defenses to co-exist with predatory fish and require fishless ponds for breeding habitat. Therefore, ephemeral ponds support different species than do lakes and rivers. These ponds are a source of high diversity and biomass and support far more species and individuals than their size would suggest. It is common to find 15-20 amphibian species utilizing a single wetland and even a small vernalpoolarea040617wetland can produce 1000s of juvenile individuals in a single year, as shown in the above photo. These individuals travel widely into the surrounding uplands, transferring biomass from the nutrient-rich ponds into the uplands. Ephemeral ponds are important to many other species as well. The ponds, and the plants that grow in and around them, provide important habitat to many invertebrates, reptiles, mammals, and birds.”

It’s Hard Being an Ephemeral Wetland

Unfortunately, many small ephemeral wetlands have been drained and filled to facilitate agriculture, building new subdivisions or other development. This not only eliminates habitat, but also increases the risk of local flooding. Others have been excavated to construct stormwater detention ponds. During rain storms pollutants are washed into these ponds. Still others have been converted to permanent ponds for raising fish and other forms of aquaculture. Permanent bodies of water tend to support fish, which are known to significantly reduce successful breeding of amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.

ephemeralwetlands5Ephemeral wetlands face numerous challenges (Source: HERP).  They are often hard to define, identify and protect because they tend to be small, isolated and at certain times of the year do not hold water. These wetlands also tend to be highly productive. They warm quickly in spring and produce abundant quantities of food for developing amphibians, reptiles and migrating birds, especially waterfowl. Even small sites, much less than an acre, can produce hundreds of frogs, toads and salamanders. They also provide critical links to other wetlands and wildlife populations. Establishing appropriate legal protection for resources of such immense ecological value is difficult, and the level of protection currently given to Ephemeral Wetlands varies from state to state.

What can you do to help protect and preserve ephemeral wetlands?

There are many critical actions that you and/or your local government can undertake to help protect ephemeral wetlands.  The Herpetofaunal Education Research Program (HERP) provides the following useful list of actions:

•    Support the protection of these wetlands and their surrounding habitat
•    Visit Ephemeral Wetlands in your area — experience their uniqueness
•    Volunteer for local restoration efforts — contact local conservation organizations
•    Raise awareness in your local community to promote appropriate land use planning that will protect Ephemeral Wetlands and their upland habitat
•    Consider long-term protection options for wetlands on your private property such as conservation easements — contact your local land trust
•    Start a register of Ephemeral Wetlands in your area (For an example see www.vernalpool.org)
•    Participate in local amphibian monitoring programs like frog calling surveys and amphibian and reptile atlas projects coordinated by local conservation organizations
•    Join local conservation organizations involved in wetland protection

If you are a wetland manager, the protection of ephemeral wetlands can take on many forms – building a strong regulatory program at the state level, conditioning 401 certifications, including ephemeral wetlands in restoration planning, and more.  Managers and planners should be aware that ephemeral wetlands need to be viewed within the context of the surrounding uplands. Amphibians spend the majority of their life cycle in the uplands; therefore, these uplands are as vital to the survival of pond breeding amphibian populations as the aquatic breeding habitat. As a starting point, land managers should incorporate uplands surrounding an ephemeral pond into their management plans as core terrestrial habitat. Once an adequate radius is determined and delineated, other factors should be considered to determine the size and shape of this core terrestrial garyhabitat. The Coastal Plains Institute adds that if only a limited number of ponds can be incorporated into a management plan, decision makers should prioritize the protection of the following — pond clusters, ponds with known populations of specialized or target species, ponds with varying hydroperiods, ponds within close proximity of other ponds, and ponds surrounded by native or restorable habitat.

Protecting Ephemeral Wetlands All Year Long

So, after a long, hard winter, the promise of spring brings not only an emergence from the cold, but the filling of wonderful pools of productivity – ephemeral wetlands that signify the beginning of egg laying and new life.  Get out and enjoy them while they last.  More importantly, I encourage you to work to protect them throughout the year.  While it is primarily in the spring that ephemeral wetlands display their full glory, they remain the lifeblood of critical ecosystems year round.

Text Included in this Blog Originates from the Following Documents:

•    Midwestern Ephemeral Wetlands. US Environmental Protection Agency.
•    Florida’s Ephemeral Ponds and Pond-breeding Amphibians
•    EPA Webpage on Vernal Pools
•    Of Pools and People Website: Providing Information on Vernal Pools for Our Communities

Links to Additional Ephemeral Wetlands Information:

•    Temporarily Flooded Wetlands – Fish and Wildlife Habitat Leaflet.  Natural Resources Conservation Service.
•    Big Night: Amphibian Populations Crossing the Roads
•    Of Pools and People Website: Providing Information on Vernal Pools for Our Communities
•    Videos on vernal pools from Maine Vernal Pool Experts
•    ASWM Vernal Pool Website Links

Posted in dredge and fill, Vernal Pools, wetland ecology, wetland management, wetland regulation, wetlands | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

bos2 Trump Administration Proposes Additional Budget Cuts at U.S. EPA

By Andrea Wortzel and Kevin G. Desharnais – Environmental Law & Policy Monitor – March 30, 2017
Continuing its call for reduced spending at U.S. EPA, the Trump administration proposed additional budget cuts at the agency for the remaining 6 months of fiscal year 2017. The administration proposal calls for reductions in spending at EPA totaling $247 million. For full story, click here.

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