Excellence in Wetland Programs

Panoramic view of Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge WetlandPhoto credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Protecting our nation’s wetlands is a priority of EPA and our state and tribal partners. Wetlands, an essential part of a healthy watershed, are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth, comparable to tropical rain forests and coral reefs. They provide food sources that support a variety of species. Wetlands also act as giant sponges, storing large amounts of floodwater and slowly releasing it over time, reducing the frequency and extent of flooding. Protecting wetlands helps us work towards our goal of restoring and maintaining the integrity of our nation’s waters.

Since 2008, EPA has invested in state and tribal wetland programs by providing financial and technical assistance as part of our Enhancing States and Tribes Program (ESTP). States and tribes play important roles in protecting and restoring wetlands and other water resources. States and tribes adopt practices within our Core Elements Framework to complete various projects, such as restoration and protection, monitoring and assessment, Water Quality Standards and regulatory activities such as Clean Water Act section 401 certification for projects.  

The stories below have been identified by the EPA as examples of how states and tribes are implementing the Core Elements Framework to enhance and protect their resources. We celebrate these states and tribes that are making a difference to improve America’s water resources and invite you to read their stories!

Image depicting wetland with grasses

Region 5

Ohio Uses Wetlands Program Development Grants to Protect Wetlands

Michigan Integrates Wetland Assessment into Watershed Protection

Region 6

Maumelle, Arkansas: Protecting Wetlands and Sustaining Urban Growth

Oklahoma’s Road to Water Quality Standards for Wetlands

Region 7 

Kansas Protects and Restores Wetlands, Streams and Riparian Areas

Region 8

Montana-The Story of Story Mill-A Community Working to Restore Wetlands

Region 9 

California Creates Rapid Assessment Method for Wetland Protection 

Planning in California Pays Off for Wetlands 

Region 10

Lummi Nation Mitigation Bank-Restoration on the Reservation: First Nation Develops First Tribal Wetland Mitigation Bank

Tribal Wetlands Working Group (TWWG)