United St*M
               Environmental Protection
           Office of Water (WH-556F).
           Office of Wetlands, Oceans,
           and Watersheds (A-104 F)
March 1993
               State,  Tribal, Local  and  Regional
               Roles  in Wetlands  Protection
  Many of the factors that are attributed to
wetlands degradation and loss can be addressed
at the State or local level States, Indian Tribes,
and local governments are becoming more in-
terested and active in comprehensive wetlands
protection through the authorities granted to
them in the Clean Water Act and existing State

  All levels of government must work together
to determine how to best protect wetland re
sources and what the appropriate roles and
programs are for Federal, State, and local gov-
ernments. Thus, EPA is supporting the strength-
ening of State, Tribal, and local roles in wetlands

    Current Opportunities

Section 404 Program

  One of the ways States and Indian Tribes can
strengthen their role in wetlands protection is
by assuming permitting authority under  the
dean Water Act Section 404 program. To date,
only Michigan has assumed this program, which
regulates the discharge of dredged and fill ma-
terial in wetlands and other waters. Reasons
cited for limited State interest in program as-
sumption include:
• having to share jurisdiction with the Army
  Corps of Engineers;
• the lack of Federal funding;
• the degree of Federal oversight allowed;
• burdensome program requirements;
• the lack of inland wetland protection
  programs in all States; and
• the availability of other less controversial
  opportunities for States to be involved in
                wetlands protection.
                Florida, New Jersey, and Delaware are cur-
              rently pursuing Section 404 assumption. EPA is
              working to assist these and other States inter-
              ested in assumption.

              Other Programs

                Other strategies available to States and In-
              dian Tribes to strengthen their role in wetlands
              protection include:
              • undertaking comprehensive State Wetland
                Conservation Plans;
              • obtaining State Program General Permits
                from the Corps for discharges of dredged
                and fill material in wetlands;
              • promulgating wetland water quality
              • applying the Clean Water Act Section 401
                Water Quality Certification program more
                specifically to wetlands; and
              • incorporating wetlands protection into other
                State water programs.

                Financial assistance is available from EPA to
              pursue many of these activities through EPA's
              State Wetlands Protection Development Grant
              Program. EPA also helps by providing informa-
              tion and program guidance and by sponsoring
              national forums on State program development

                Regional and local participation in  wetland
              protection can also be strengthened  through
              geographically-targeted comprehensive re-
              source planning, such as multi-objective river
              corridor management, watershed  protection
             "approaches and advance identification of suit-
              able and unsuitable sites for discharges.
     Foe nntiiei infomuttu
* contractor operated
. contact the EPA Wetlands Hotline: 1-800-832-7828 *

                                <&$ Printed on Recycled Paper