Mid-Atlantic Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
- Wetlands Monitoring & Assessment
- National Wetland Condition Assessment
- Biological Assessment of Wetlands
- National Water Quality Inventory - Report to Congress
- State, Tribal and Local Intitiatives - Financial Assistance
- Environmental Monitoring & Assessment Program (EMAP)
- Application of Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program For Wetlands (PDF) (12 pp, 90K, About PDF)
- Classification of Wetlands & Deepwater Habitats of the United States
- US Fish & Wildlife - Geospatial Wetlands Data
- US Fish & Wildlife - National Wetlands Inventory: A strategy for the 21st century
- Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources & Env'l Control - Watershed Assessment
- Chesapeake Bay Foundation - Protecting Wetlands in Maryland (PDF) (24 pp, 1.6MB, About PDF)
- Maryland Dept. of the Environment - Wetlands & Waterways
- Penn State Riparia
- Pennsylvania Dept. of Env'l Protection - Waterway & Wetland Programs
- Virginia Institute of Marine Science Teaching Marsh
- Virginia Tidal Wetlands Impact Data
- Freshwater Institute
On this page
- Assessment Methods and Tools
- Mid-Atlantic Wetland Monitoring Work Group
- Highlights of Our Work
Consistent, thorough, and timely wetland monitoring and assessment programs are a critical tool for states and tribes to better manage and protect their wetland resources. These programs allow states and tribes to:
- establish a baseline in wetlands extent, condition and function,
- detect change, and
- characterize trends over time
Wetlands monitoring and assessment data can be used to help make decisions in:
- the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program
- wetland restoration and watershed planning
- integrated reporting -- the ambient condition of wetland resources
- the development of meaningful water quality standards for wetlands
The mid-Atlantic region's wetland program has been helping states develop wetland monitoring programs and providing technical and financial assistance for development of wetland assessment methodologies for over 10 years. Financial assistance is primarily through EPA's wetland program development grants and other research funding opportunities.
Under the Clean Water Act states are required to monitor and report on the quality of waters within their states, including wetlands. Current EPA guidance indicates that wetlands should be included in water quality monitoring programs. The guidance states that all states must develop a written monitoring program strategy that clearly outlines how the state will achieve, within the next 10 years, comprehensive assessment of all waterbody types (including wetlands) for all designated uses.
- State Water Monitoring Strategies
- State Wetland Monitoring Strategies
- Delaware Wetland Monitoring Strategy (PDF) (13 pp, 515K, About PDF)
- Virginia Wetland Monitoring & Assessment Strategy - October 2005 (PDF) (27 pp, 1.3M, About PDF)
- Summary of State Monitoring & Assessment Efforts in the Mid-Atlantic Region (PDF) (5 pp, 59K, About PDF)
EPA´s National Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup has endorsed the concept of a Level 1, 2, 3 approach to wetland monitoring.
Level 1, "landscape assessment" (like the National Wetlands Inventory) relies on coarse, landscape scale inventory information, typically gathered through remote sensing and preferably stored in, or convertible to, a geographic information system (GIS) format.
Level 2 is "rapid assessment" at the specific wetland site scale, using relatively simple, rapid protocols. Level 2 assessment protocols are to be validated by and calibrated to Level 3 assessments.
EPA's mid-Atlantic office developed and helps facilitate the Mid-Atlantic Wetland Workgoup (MAWWG) , a nationally recognized regional wetland monitoring workgroup that assists states in building their capacity to implement and sustain wetland assessment and monitoring programs.
MAWWG is funded through a wetland program development grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The workgroup is administered by staff from the Pennsylvania State University Riparia.
Building the capacity of states to assess the biological, chemical and physical integrity of wetlands is an EPA National Wetlands Program priority. A National Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Work Group was established in 1999. The Mid-Atlantic Wetland Monitoring Work Group (MAWWG) is a subgroup of this organization and consists of members from the following states:
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina, and
- Regional Wetland Assessment
- Tidal Wetland Assessment
- National Wetland Assessment
- Virginia's Landscape Level Assessment of all Mapped Wetlands
- Nanticoke and Juniata Rivers Watershed Wetland Studies
- Other Activities
The regional Wetland Science Team is coordinating a study through EPA's Office of Research and Development to assess the ecological condition of non-tidal wetlands in the mid-Atlantic region. The project is a collaboration between EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) and the states through the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands Working Group (MAWWG) . The principle investigators, Pennsylvania State University's Cooperative Wetlands Center and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science Center for Coastal Resources Management , will collaborate to develop and implement a wetland assessment protocol for the mid-Atlantic region. The protocol will synthesize methods currently developed for Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Delaware to generate a protocol that can be used for probabilistic sampling and characterization of wetlands in each of the major eco-regions of the mid-Atlantic (PDF) (1 pg, 720K, About PDF). This project constitutes the first steps in an effort to establish a continuing monitoring and assessment program for wetland conditions throughout the region.
The Virginia Institute for Marine Science, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Maryland Department of Natural Resources worked together on development of a multi-level (Level I, Level II and Level III) tidal wetland inventory and assessment methodology for the Delmarva peninsula (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia). This project, funded by an EPA wetland program development grant, represents a remarkable collaborative effort among states to develop a consistent characterization of natural resources with measurement methods and statistical designs that are consistent across the entire region. MoreNational Wetland Assessment
EPA and its partners are beginning work on the first-ever national survey on the condition of the Nation's wetlands. The survey will provide regional and national estimates of the ecological integrity and biological condition of wetlands.
Using Geographic Information System (GIS) methodologies, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science , in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has characterized the capacity of every mapped wetland in Virginia to provide water quality and habitat services using remotely sensed data. See the National Wetland Inventory Data Viewer for Virginia . This ground-breaking work was funded through the mid-Atlantic Wetland Program Development Grants.
These pilot projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed were funded through EPA’s Office of Research and Development to develop probabilistic wetland protocols on a watershed basis. The Wetland Science Team provided technical support in their development. Both projects provided the framework for the methods developed in the Region and support state wetland monitoring program development.
The Nanticoke Project was a research project between the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Nature Conservancy to determine the ecological health and function of freshwater non-tidal wetlands in the Nanticoke River watershed in Maryland and Delaware. More
The Juniata study assessed the ecological condition of wetlands in the Juniata River watershed of central Pennsylvania. More
- strengthening partnerships among state and federal agencies and National Estuary Programs within the mid-Atlantic Region to look for opportunities for water quality improvements through wetland protection or restoration projects
- partnering with states and other federal agencies to implement wetland/water quality targeting initiatives, such as the Maryland Wetland Registry
- participating in the Chesapeake Bay Program Wetland Evaluation Taskforce and pillar strategies to advance restoration and targeting strategies
- developing a strategy to encourage use of legacy sediments (sediments deposited in our streams within the past 200 years) in watershed restoration and the US Army Corps of Engineers mitigation projects
- providing technical assistance to federal, state or local governments in the development and/or implementation of watershed based restoration/improvement plans including review of the Clean Water Act Section 319 grant proposals and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation plans
- participating in implementation of the Interagency Mitigation Rule which focuses on improving compensatory mitigation success and effectiveness at the federal and state level for both wetlands and stream impacts
- providing technical guidance to other EPA programs, states and the US Army Corps of Engineers in implementation of the new mitigation rule (i.e., promoting the use of wetland condition data for wetland mitigation design and placement)