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

The Wetland Wanderer: Exploring the Mind Candy from the 2015 ASWM State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Workshop

by Brenda Zollitsch

Last week, ASWM hosted its annual State/Tribal/Federal Coordination Workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  The experience of connecting with wetland folks from across the U.S. is always both exciting and motivational.   At this year’s workshop, we heard lots of interesting chatter about how diverse the agenda stategroup42152was and that participants were pleased to learn about a range of often unfamiliar topics that they found had direct bearing on their wetland work.  To sum it up in one phrase, it was an “eye-opening” experience for many.   Opportunities to learn abounded.  This was surely as true for me as it was for others.

honk4215blog2So what if you didn’t get to make it to the meeting?  What did you miss?  I offer these teasers to encourage you to learn more about some of the topics that were covered at this year’s meeting:

  • BYOB now means “Bring Your Own Beaver!”  Using beavers for wetland restoration in targeted areas has strong potential to have positive impacts in a number of arid states.
  • FERC processes are fascinating — ok well, people were really interested in learning about them.  Be FERC-informed!
  • Forget Fifty Shades of Gray, the Corps’ Red Book offers some tantalizing reading on the nuances of NEPA.  The Corps’ revised volume comes out in just a few months.
  • Long-eared bats may be your next headache (if you are involved in planning or permitting).
  • frec42152What the FACA should we do about assumption?  Join one.  Nominations to serve on EPA’s FACA are due by the end of May.
  • Watch your mottles and learn what they reveal about temporal annual hydrology fluctuations.
  • The term “wetland restoration success” is ambiguous.  Learn more about what the Restoration Work Group is proposing for improving wetland restoration efforts.
  • wik4215“Coastal squeeze” is not your beach date, but it sure will be an important planning consideration if sea level continues to rise.
  •  “Climate change” and “sustainability” are not universally acceptable terms and/or areas of work for wetland program staff.  Keep your eye out for ASWM’s Wetland Program Status and Trends Report and webinar in the coming months!
  • Don’t know about ecological equilibrium?  Take time to learn from Vermont about ecological equilibrium and the roles wetland and floodplain managers can play in disaster planning and management.
  • flood4215Get at least some training in emergency management – no matter what your work or position.
  • Who knew?  We need to get the word out that Ramsar and the US National Ramsar Committee plays important roles in identifying and promoting protections for wetlands of international significance.
  • Blue carbon rocks.  Don’t know why?  Find out.
  • Don’t drink a ten-year old bottle of Jeanne’s homemade wine!
  • The National Wetlands Inventory 40th Anniversay was  celebrated with Broadway show tunes, ‘cause Bill Wilen surely did it HIS WAY!  J

aswm4215What I came away with was not only a mind brimming with new ideas, but also meaningful new relationships with meeting participants, based on hours of discussion and joint discovery.  Although ASWM will be working over the coming years to provide an increasing number of online training and learning opportunities, there is nothing that replaces the benefits of face-to-face interaction and connection.  I want to thank all of you who came up and spoke with me during the meeting.  Your ideas, suggestions and needs are all well-documented from the meeting and part of our planning and implementation efforts for the coming year(s).

If you missed the ASWM Meeting, we are pleased to let you know that over the coming months, we will be posting a portion of the webinars for your continued use.  We will also be providing additional information and opportunities to learn more about the topics referred to in this blog. We encourage you to listen again to those presentations which inspired you and to share them with your colleagues.    Keep an eye out for webinars, reports, and news items on these and other topics at: aswm.org.

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who made the trip to Shepherdstown this March.  We had a great time learning and sharing with you.  And here’s to taking back ideas and models that can improve wetland protection in your state or by your tribe!

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