What Is the Enhancing State and Tribal Programs Effort?

The goal of the Enhancing State and Tribal Programs (ESTP) Initiative is to enhance EPA's delivery of technical and financial support for state and tribal wetlands programs, with the overall objective of accelerating program development on a national scale.

Key components of the ESTP include:

  • Increased dialogue between EPA and states/tribes on wetland program development
  • Providing a clear articulation of program building goals and activities - the Core Elements Framework (CEF)
  • Aligning the Wetland Program Development Grants with program development activities in the CEF
  • Providing targeted technical assistance for states and tribes

The ESTP and Core Elements Framework were designed for state and tribal wetland programs that are in the developing stages but can be useful to all states and tribes, including those that are refining more mature wetland programs.

A foundation of the ESTP is the document Core Elements of Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Programs, also called the Core Elements Framework (CEF). Drafted in 2008 with state and tribal input, this document describes each core program element and provides a more comprehensive menu of program building activities than EPA has summarized in the past. The CEF is intended to be fairly comprehensive so that states and tribes can choose from an array of actions that are best suited to their goals and resources. EPA recognizes that program development activities will continue to be incremental and bounded by the goals and resources within a state or tribe; the Agency does not expect simultaneous development of all core elements by every state and tribe.

Core Elements of an Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Program Framework

What Is the Core Elements Framework? 

The CEF outlines the core elements of a state or tribal wetland program, describes each core element, and provides a comprehensive menu of program-building activities for each core element to help states and tribes design their own wetland program. States and tribes implement the CEF based on their individual program goals and available resources.

The CEF has four chapters, one for each core element:

  1. Definitions: Provides a concise description of each core element – 
    1. Monitoring and Assessment
    2. Regulatory Activities including 401 Certification
    3. Voluntary Restoration and Protection
    4. Water Quality Standards for Wetlands
  2. Goals and Benefits: Identifies federal goals associated with each core element and provides examples of state and tribal goals (e.g., more habitat for threatened and endangered species, greater protection from storms). This section also includes benefits to states and tribes for each core element
  3. Menu of Program Development Actions: Outlines a set of objectives for each core element, key program-building actions, and a menu of activities that states and tribes can use to advance wetland program development and gauge progress.

How Is the Core Elements Framework Used?

The CEF is intended primarily as a resource for states and tribes, in particular those that are building their wetland programs. EPA recommends that states and tribes consult the CEF in identifying goals and next steps for program development. EPA Regional Offices use the CEF as a basis for program development discussions with states and tribes.

EPA also uses the CEF, along with information from states and tribes on their program development goals and needs, to prioritize and deliver targeted technical assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions for ESTP