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

The Compleat Wetlander: New Wetland Tools on the Web

In recent years a very significant amount of the staff resources in the Corps Section 404 permitting program has been devoted to making jurisdictional determinations following the Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Carabell/Rapanos http://www.aswm.org/fwp/rapanos_state2006.htm#
rcsupremecourtdecision
.  However, despite this the Corps has been pursuing initiatives to improve the science that provides the foundation for making permit decisions and to develop new tools to assist the Corps, permit applicants and others with an interest in the Section 404 permitting program. 

Recently the Corps has encouraged federal agencies and states to review the new National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) website at: https://wetland_plants.usace.army.mil.  The new National Wetland Plant List website provides a wealth of information on nearly 10,000 U.S. plants, including distribution maps and photographs. Search capabilities for geographic, habitat and other attributes allow users to follow their interests locally, regionally, or nationally for information on plant families, genera and species. This is the

first time that such a range of detailed botanical information has been gathered and made easily available to the public.

But that’s not all!

The Corps is also working on developing new online tools and information to assist permit applicants.  A preview of the work underway for the nation can be found by visiting the Jacksonville District website: the Jacksonville District website for the Section 404 program at  http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/
Regulatory/index.htm
.  One of our state members, Doug Fry in Florida, forwarded the link writing “many components of the site are very good, including links to pending application status, public notices, Headquarters Avatar (other states should particularly check that out), the Regulatory Program Sourcebook (an incredible compilation of regulations, policies, and guidance), and the “Let Me Take you Through the Application Process” (Jacksonville District Avatar).  Once in the Jacksonville District Avatar section there are some well-done videos to guide applicants through the permitting process.

But there’s more!

The Corps is not the only organization developing new tools and resources.  The Wisconsin Wetlands Association just has put out a new piece, Land Use and Wetlands: A Local Decision Makers’ Guide to Wetland Conservation.  This is a helpful guide providing information on explaining wetlands to the public. It also has a great deal of information that land-use decision makers in local governments/municipalities and counties will find useful.  To view the guide, visit:  http://www.wisconsinwetlands.org/localgovs.htm  For landowner guides from other states, visit: http://aswm.org/iam/a-landowner/203-landowners-guides-to-wetlands

In addition River Network has posted version 2.0 of their Clean Water Act online course. The course is built on the content of their previously published Clean Water Act Owner’s Manual. It includes an overview of the Clean Water Act as well as a collection of  “Digging Deeper” items with more detailed information about specific parts of the Act as well as case studies.  Additional materials will be added in the future including  recorded webinars, powerpoints and other tools.  It is available at www.cleanwateract.org .

These online resources demonstrate how agencies and nonprofit organizations are making information about wetlands available to the public.  These and other tools like them can help inform both public policy development and individual land use decisions.

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