Coastal Wetlands Initiative:
                                                      annc  review
                                           United States
                                           Environmental Protection

National Picture
   Coastal wetlands provide important ecosystem services that
   are vital to the health and well-being of our nation. They
serve as buffers, protecting coastal areas from storm damage
and sea level rise. They are vital to the health of commercially
and recreationally important fisheries resources, providing
food and essential fish and shellfish habitat. Wetlands also
serve as nesting and foraging habitat  for birds and other
wildlife. As "living filters," wetlands improve water quality by
removing pollutants, nutrients, and sediments. Furthermore,
coastal wetlands provide direct value  to people in other ways,
such as minimizing erosion of upland, protecting infrastruc-
ture and supporting the tourism, hunting, and fishing sectors
of the economy.

There are a number of threats  to coastal areas, in particular
wetland habitats. The most significant threats include conver-
sion of wetlands to other land uses and climate change, in
particular, sea level rise and increases  in hurricane intensity
and frequency. In some regions, wetlands are being converted
to open water due to land subsidence.

Numerous recent reports have examined coastal wetland loss
and potential strategies to address threats like climate change.
The Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM, 2009)
recommended a national wetland and climate change initia-
tive. The report contains measures to reduce impacts and
adapt coastal/estuarine wetlands to climate change. The U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) and the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both pub-
lished frameworks to guide how they will consider impacts
of climate change and sea level rise as they implement resto-
ration activities, including those in coastal wetlands (Army
Corps, 2009; NOAA,  201 Oa).

NOAA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
analyzed the status and trends of wetland acreage along the
Atlantic Coast,  Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes to
provide an estimate of losses or gains that occurred in those
coastal watersheds. Their report, released in 2008, found
that 361,000 acres of coastal wetlands were lost in the East-
ern United States alone between 1998 and 2004 (Stedman
and Dahl, 2008). This amounts to an average net decrease
of 59,000 acres  each year. The vast majority of the loss (82
percent) occurred in freshwater wetlands, both tidal and non-
tidal. Nearly 60 percent of the total loss  of coastal freshwater
wetlands is attributed to "other development," which includes
conversion of wetlands to unknown or undetermined land
 uses (Figure 1). There were also
 losses of saltwater tidal wetlands
 to open water (deeper than
 2 meters), particularly in the
 Mid-Atlantic region. The 2008
 NOAA and USFWS Status and
 Trends report did not examine
 the loss of wetland condition or

 In response to these reports,
 EPA established a two-part
 Coastal Wetlands Initiative. The
 first part is the Coastal Wet-
 lands Team, which is a joint effort between EPA's Wetlands
 Division and the Oceans and Coastal Protection Division.
 The team's goals are: 1) confirming wetland loss and bet-
 ter understanding contributing stressors; 2) identifying and
 disseminating tools, strategies,  policies, and information to
 protect and restore coastal wetland resources; and 3) raising
 awareness of the functions and values of coastal wetlands,
 threats to these resources, and opportunities to protect and
 restore coastal wetlands.

 To achieve its goals, the Coastal Wetlands Team met with
 stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf of
 Mexico, and North Atlantic regions (see Figure 2). For each
 of these Coastal Wetland Reviews (CWRs), the team identi-
 fied key stressors; examined regulatory and voluntary efforts at
 the federal, regional, state, and local level to reduce or reverse
 coastal wetland loss; and assessed whether successful strategies
 can be replicated elsewhere. The information from the reviews
 could be used to help inform policy decisions, influence
 program direction, and develop projects to reduce  or reverse
                                      Urban and Rural
Figure 1. Wetland loss and changes in land cover, 1998-2004: Atlantic, Gulf of
Mexico, and Great Lakes. Source: Stedman and Dahl, 2008.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

          Coastal Wetlands Review Regions
coastal wetland loss nationally. The results of these CWRs are
provided in a report distributed to the respective participants,
and will also be posted on EPA's website. This document is
the CWR report for the Mid-Atlantic region.

The second part of the Coastal Wetlands Initiative is the
federal Interagency Coastal Wetlands Workgroup, which is
composed of members from EPA, NOAA, USFWS, the U.S.
Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Army Corps,
and the Federal Highway Administration. The Interagency
Coastal Wetlands Workgroup serves  in an advisory capacity
to EPA's Coastal Wetlands Team by helping to identify CWR
watersheds, participating in the CWR on-site discussions, and
providing input on the report.

EPA Coastal Wetland Regional Reviews

EPA conducted these CWRs to identify and better under-
stand the stressors on coastal wetlands and the strategies
needed to protect and restore them. EPA's Coastal Wetlands
Team is interested in identifying the  cause(s) of losses in the
areal extent of wetlands, as well as examining losses in wetland
function and/or ecological integrity.  Though quantifiable data
on functional loss are limited in availability, EPA recognizes
that it is an issue in many watersheds and included qualitative
information to reflect this concern where appropriate. EPA
coordinated with the  Interagency Coastal Wetlands Work-
group and stakeholders to gather  information on available
tools and strategies used to address wetland function and
condition within  the region(s) of interest. The CWRs and the
subsequent regional reports will not be used to evaluate spe-
cific wetland assessment tools or methodologies, but rather to
                                                                              Consistent with other federal
                                                                              agencies, EPA is defining "coastal
                                                                              wetlands"as saltwater and
                                                                              freshwater wetlands* within HUC-8
                                                                              watersheds that drain to the Atlantic,
                                                                              Pacific, or Gulf of Mexico. "Coastal
                                                                              wetland loss" is defined as "a decline
                                                                              in the areal extent and/or ecological
                                                                              integrity** of wetlands in coastal
                                                                              watersheds" (Figure 2).
              Figure 2. Coastal wetlands regions identified in
              EPA's Coastal Wetlands Initiative.
describe which tools are being used and discuss participants'
views on their experiences and relative success with such tools.

The purpose of the CWRs is to facilitate dialogue among
stakeholders who share a vested interest in coastal wetland
resource protection such that continued local, regional, and
national efforts to stem coastal wetland losses can be increas-
ingly effective. They are not considered a commitment of
future resources to address issues identified during the review
process. Each CWR is intended to provide information on a
particular focal watershed or region and should not be consid-
ered a final assessment of the study area. Instead, each review
should be considered a baseline reconnaissance  to aid in mov-
ing the entire Coastal Wetlands Initiative forward.

This report contains points raised during the course of the
discussions with stakeholder groups. EPA affords participants
an opportunity to comment on CWR notes and draft reports
in order to provide the broadest perspective possible. EPA also
endeavors to supplement these perspectives with documenta-
tion (e.g., relevant references, citations), but it is not possible
to do so for every comment provided. Thus, the information
presented in this report cannot be considered the definitive
and most comprehensive presentation of issues  within the
region or within specific focal watersheds. Instead, it can serve
as a starting point for identifying priority stressors, tools and
strategies to address them, and key information and data gaps
that need to be filled in order to reduce wetland loss in the

The process for the CWRs was intended to be flexible and
encouraged participation from a diverse and representative
group of stakeholders in each of the focal watersheds. Four
steps were followed for each CWR:
* For the purposes of this initiative, "wetlands" means those areas meeting the definition of wetlands in: Cowardin, L, et al. 1979. Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater
Habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS 79/31. 131 pp
** EPA recognizes that there are limited quantifiable data currently available regarding loss of wetland ecological integrity.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

1. Identify focal watersheds.
USFWS identified candidate watersheds for the CWRs based
on observed wetland loss in the USFWS/NOAA Status and
Trends report. These are generally areas where the most
wetland loss has occurred, due to development, other human
actions, or where losses were attributed to inundation or other
coastal processes.

The Coastal Wetlands Team further refined this larger candi-
date watershed to focus in on  specific eight-digit HUC water-
sheds ("HUC 8 watersheds").  The focal watersheds selected
for analysis are based on existing wetland conditions assess-
ments, available data, a variety of efforts to protect and restore
coastal wetlands, and the willingness of local stakeholders to

The HUC 8 watersheds identified may correspond directly to
National Estuary Program (NEP) study areas (the geographic
boundary in which the NEPs work to improve estuary
health). In other words, the CWRs often occur in the same
watersheds as the NEP study areas or a sub-set thereof.

NEPs provide an effective mechanism to assist the CWRs
in a few important ways. They consist of broad-based stake-
holder groups that work in close partnership to protect and
restore habitats in their study area. These groups represent a
wide range of interests and expertise at local, state, and  federal
levels (e.g., general public, state natural resource agencies,
academics, local governments, watershed groups). EPA uses
stakeholder lists from the NEPs along with contacts provided
by the Interagency Coastal Wetlands Workgroup to invite
participants  to attend the CWRs.

NEPs and their partners create and implement a manage-
ment plan that is based on scientific  characterization of the
study area, and contains actions to address habitat loss and
modification. This  characterization is a collection of scientific
information that includes an assessment of extent and condi-
tion of habitats such as wetlands. These data can help provide
key information for the CWR assessments and reports.

2. Conduct a review of current, readily available
For the selected review area, the Coastal Wetlands Team gath-
ered more specific existing information on coastal wetland
loss, stressors contributing to coastal wetland loss, tools and
strategies used to protect and restore coastal wetlands, and
key information gaps that, if addressed, could help reverse
the trend of wetland loss. Information was gathered from the
Internet, reports provided by the  "host" organization, and
CWR invitees or participants  in advance of the local stake-
holders discussions. In addition, to estimate coastal wetlands
loss, the Coastal Wetlands Team consulted with NOAA's
Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP), which uses
   NEPs are already employing a variety of efforts
   to protect and restore wetlands. NEPs can assist
   by: 1) convening the appropriate stakeholders
   to participate in the CWRs, 2) providing scientific
   data on wetland conditions in their study areas,
   and 3) providing a strong platform and scientific

satellite imagery to measure land cover change in coastal areas.
The Team also requested permit data from the Army Corps
and state agencies, where applicable, in order to quantify
authorized losses and associated mitigation gains for wetlands
which are under the jurisdiction of Section 404 of the federal
Clean Water Act (CWA) or similar state programs. When
made available by the relevant agency, these data were pro-
vided in the CWR report. Due to database limitations, permit
data provided by the Army Corps did not cover the same time
frame as C-CAP (1996-2006) and therefore  it was not pos-
sible to  compare the magnitude of losses identified by each.
See Appendices C and D for more information on the CWA
Section 404 program and C-CAP, respectively.

3. Conduct stakeholder discussions.
EPA sought an entity to serve as the "host" of each review and
to help identify a broad range of local stakeholders to par-
ticipate in the discussions. The host organization (such as an
NEP) helped to arrange the meeting logistics and used their
partnerships to invite all the appropriate participants to that
dialogue. Invited participants included a broad cross-section
of business, environmental, academic, and government
representatives. Invitee lists were collected from the organiza-
tion  hosting the event, as well as suggestions from the Inter-
agency Coastal Workgroup (which includes their regional

The Coastal Wetlands Team convened a stakeholder forum

   Questions posed during stakeholder discussions:
   1. What are the root causes of coastal wetland loss in your area?
      Are there differences between fresh and saltwater stressors?
      Which are the top three stressors?
   2. What are the current regulatory and non-regulatory protec-
      tion and restoration tools being used to adapt to or mitigate
      wetland loss in your area?
   3. What are the successful strategies being employed to protect
      and restore coastal wetlands in your area?
   4. What information gaps would be most helpful to address loss,
      and now can these gaps be addressed?
of the invitees in each selected focal watershed. These one- or
two-day facilitated dialogues provided additional insights
about on-the-ground (existing) condition of coastal wetlands
within the focal watershed and growing pressures within the
region; i.e., issues often best identified by those with the most
vested interest in the outcome of such efforts. Attendees were
asked to provide information on threats to coastal wetlands
(including reduction in acreage as well as function and condi-
tions) and tools and techniques used locally to reduce or
reverse wetland loss. The term "stressor" was not defined for
participants in advance of the reviews. While stressors are tra-
ditionally limited to "physical, chemical, or biological entities,
or processes that adversely affect the ecological condition of a
natural ecosystem" stakeholders in every CWR also identified
programmatic issues as stressors related to loss or degrada-
tion of coastal wetlands. While state and  federal regulatory
programs are tools for wetland protection, limits to regulation
are  captured in the report under the "Stressors" sections in
accordance with commonly expressed stakeholder input. EPA
acted as a neutral facilitator and captured  the discussion in
meeting notes. While there may be disagreements among par-
ties regarding the validity of the data presented or provided,
EPA considered all documented sources of information. EPA
also recognized that reference documents will not be available
for  all points raised by participants in the  discussion.

To coincide with the stakeholder discussions, EPA scheduled
a visit to nearby wetland protection, restoration, or mitigation
projects when feasible. This enabled EPA to obtain a first-
hand view of local stressors or approaches being employed to
address wetland loss in that watershed. Collection and analysis
of raw field data is outside the scope of these field visits.

4. Assemble a coastal wetland regional review
Once the notes from the stakeholder discussions were vetted
with the participants, they were combined with the available
data collected in Step 2 to form the basis of a regional report.
Although these reports are not exhaustive  and only reflect
readily available, existing documentation and the viewpoints
of participating stakeholders, EPA believes they are a good
indicator or snapshot of wetland issues in the focal watersheds.

The results of the Mid-Atlantic review are summarized below,
and are also presented in Tables 2 and 3 and the "Conclusion"
section of this report.

» Major stressors:
  » Development.
  » Limitations of regulations.
  » Coastal erosion and shoreline hardening.
• Major tools and strategies:
  » The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) tidal
    wetland inventory and assessment protocol, which
    systematically assesses coastal wetlands  and measures
    incremental wetland losses over time.
  » Regulatory program coordination  and strengthening
    such as the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands Work Group and the
    Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.
  » The VIMS Wetlands  Data Viewer tool, used to collect
    information for regulators about the quality/condition of
    non-tidal wetlands in which development is proposed.
  » Stabilizing shorelines by allowing landward migration
    of coastal wetlands through rolling easements or living
• Major gaps:
  » Additional  funding for programs including monitoring
    and assessment.
  » Improved collaboration between state and federal regula-
    tory agencies and VIMS.
  » Access to geographic  information systems  (GIS) tools and
    higher-resolution Light Detection and  Ranging (LiDAR).

  » Increased public and  stakeholder education and outreach.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

           Mid-Atlantic Study Area
    S-C   \
                                       — Rivers
                                       — State Boundaries
                                       P71 Mattaponi
                                       l_l Pamunkey
                                       E3 York
                                       CD Delaware EstuaryStudyArea
                                       EH Coastal 8-digitHUCs
                                       C^l Mid-Atlantic States
                                       i I States
                                         Albers Equal-Area Projection
                                         ource: ESRI Data & Maps; NRCS
    Figure 3. Mid-Atlantic focal watersheds. Source: ESRI, NRCS.

Mid-Atlantic Review
The Mid-Atlantic region hosts a wide variety of coastal wet-
lands due to variations in climate, hydrology, soils, vegetation,
and other factors. The gradual transition from fresh to salt
water supports shrub and forested wetlands in the headwater
areas, brackish marshes and tidal freshwater wetlands in the
salt—freshwater transition zones, and salt marshes, mudflats,
and beaches near the shore. In addition, many open water
areas such as lakes and ponds are often regulated with wet-
lands within the focal watershed. Together, this network of
coastal wetlands provides important ecosystem services and
is vital to the health of commercially important fisheries
resources and  other sectors of the economy. Tidal wetlands
in particular are likely to provide more ecosystem services
than any other habitat type in the region (Partnership for the
Delaware Estuary, 2008).

The first Mid-Atlantic watersheds chosen for the review were
in the Delaware Estuary (Figure 3 and Figure 7), in the states
of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The second review
targeted the Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and York watersheds located
along the York River in Virginia (Figure 3 and Figure 10). Based
on previous work by the Interagency Coastal Wetlands Work-
group, the Delaware Estuary watershed was highlighted as an
area experiencing significant coastal wetland loss. In contrast, the
York River watershed (a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay) was
selected because, despite the presence of stressors, wetland losses
seemed disproportionately low. EPA chose to further examine
this disparity, i.e., why losses were occurring in some areas,
but not in others, in the presence of similar stressors. The focal
watershed reviews were conducted to help compile and validate
baseline information and provide a more in-depth understanding
of what is happening on the ground.
Mid-Atlantic Coastal Wetland Stressors
Historically, coastal wetlands in the Mid-Atlantic region have
been subject to losses due to the effects of a variety of stressors
from activities such as commercial, residential, and industrial
development and associated infrastructure and conversion for
agricultural uses. Coastal wetlands have also been affected by
dredging projects (e.g., deposition of dredge spoils in wet-
lands)and conversion of tidal wetlands to open water by con-
struction of impoundments and sea level rise (Tiner, 1987).

Data from NOAA's C-CAP were used to estimate acreage
losses of coastal wetlands for the Mid-Atlantic region from
1996 to 2006 (see Appendix D for more information on the
C-CAP methodology). C-CAP examines overall land use
change, including wetlands (excluding submerged aquatic
vegetation), for the coastal regions of the United States. The
data set currently reports changes in wetland acreage only and
does not measure change in wetland function. The C-CAP
data was used in order to be consistent across all regions when
comparing wetland loss. According to  C-CAP estimates,
approximately 40,000 acres were lost in the Mid-Atlantic
region during this 10-year period and half of all the wetland
losses were attributed to conversion to agriculture (Figure 4).
Almost 80 percent of these changes to agriculture occurred
within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The literature reviewed (see Appendix B), as augmented by
discussions with stakeholders, revealed the following wetland

» Hydrologic alterations such as dredging, ditching, chan-
  nelizing streams, mosquito control practices, stormwater
  runoff, impervious surfaces, and water supply withdrawals.

« Climate change and sea level rise exacerbate other stressors
  such as erosion,  and can cause changes in salinity, sediment
  deficits, and conversion of vegetated wetlands to open water
  due to inundation (Figure 5 and Figure 6).
        Open Water
      Bare Land
  Figure 4. Wetland loss and changes in land cover, 1996-2006: Mid-Atlantic.
  Source: NOAA, 201 Ob.

  Figure 5. Areas where wetlands would be marginal or lost (i.e., converted
  to open water) under three sea level rise scenarios (in millimeters per year).
  Source: CCSP, 2009.

* Conversion and filling of wetlands and/or adjacent riparian
  or upland buffers through construction of residential and
  commercial development and associated  infrastructure.

« Degraded ecosystems due to invasive species, salt marsh die-
  back, habitat fragmentation, and lack of buffers.

« Point and nonpoint source pollution and associated impacts
  such as eutrophication, and emerging contaminants such as

• Hard structures along shorelines including seawalls, bulk-
  heads, and other armoring exacerbate erosion and prevent
  wetland migration.

These stressors include both near-term and long-term issues,
which will require a shift in response strategies. For example,
impacts from residential and commercial development are
an immediate issue, whereas climate change and sea level rise
represent longer-term impacts. In this regard, the strategies
employed to  address these stressors must consider temporal
variability. In fact, threats associated with sea level rise are
receiving increased attention in the Mid-Atlantic region as
a result of current (near-term) observations and longer-term
projections. A recent report (CCSP, 2009)  predicts that this
region (as well as the Gulf Coast) will be particularly vulner-
able to sea level rise over the next century. The Mid-Atlantic
coast's vulnerability is attributed to a sandy shoreline, a high
rate of erosion, a "sediment-starved" coast, localized sinking
of the land surface, and the geomorphology of the coastal
plain and the continental shelf. Approximately 53 percent of
the relative sea level rise within at least the lower Chesapeake
Bay is due to subsidence, as described in the "Chesapeake
Bay Land Subsidence and Sea Level Change" prepared for the
Army Corps' Norfolk District by VIMS (VIMS, 2010). Over
one million acres of coastal wetlands are at risk of inundation
assuming a one meter rise in sea level along the Mid-Atlantic
coast (see Table 1). In Virginia, eighty-three percent of the
acreage losses of estuarine wetlands in southeast Virginia have
already been attributed to submergence, most likely due to
rising sea level (Tiner et al., 2005). The Governor's Com-
mission on Climate Change (2008) expects sea level to rise
between  2.3 and 5-2 feet over the next 100 years, which could
inundate 50 to 80 percent of Virginia's tidal wetlands.

Hardening (or armoring) of shorelines is another example of
an activity that is prevalent throughout the region, and can
lead to a host of short-term and long-term adverse effects.
Armoring of the coast has been a major issue in the Mid-
Atlantic states due to some of the same factors that render
the area vulnerable to sea level rise. In Maryland, 28 percent
of the shoreline has been armored  (CCRM, 2004); in New
Jersey, 43 percent of the developed shoreline has been hard-
ened. In  Virginia alone, 220 miles of shoreline were hardened
between  1993 and 2004, with an average rate of 18 miles of
hard structures permitted by regulatory agencies each year
(Duhring, 2005).

Mid-Atlantic Tools and Strategies
In the Mid-Atlantic, multi-faceted programs use a variety of
tools to address stressors through wetland assessment, protec-
tion, mitigation, and restoration. They include non-regulatory
programs such as land protection incentives, land acquisition
or conservation easements, public  outreach and education,
Figure 6. Eroding wetland. Source: Danielle Kreeger, Partnership for the
Delaware Estuary.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

              and Within 1 Meter Above High Water
           Along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coast
            Dry Land
         s    Tidal Wetlands
acres)            (acres)
training and technical assistance, monitoring, assessment,
mapping, and restoration projects. A number of common reg-
ulatory tools are also used throughout the Mid-Atlantic region
including permitting, compliance monitoring and assistance,
site inspections, regulatory guidance, policies, enforcement,
and wetlands compensatory mitigation requirements.

Wetland regulatory programs in the Mid-Atlantic region
involve a combination of tools from both federal and state
agencies. The Army Corps' Regulatory Program, administered
by staff employed by the New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore,
and Norfolk Districts, has a programmatic goal of no net loss
of wetlands and generally requires compensatory mitigation
for impacts authorized through its permits.  Since the no net
loss goal was established in 1990 (Executive Order 11990),
the program has contributed to wetland protection in part-
nership with states that have legislation tailored to protect
wetlands. "No net loss of wetlands" policies covering all
jurisdictional wetlands (see Appendix C) have been adopted
by EPA and all five of the coastal Mid-Atlantic states.

The Army Corps administers day-to-day federal regulation
(including individual and general permit decisions), conducts
or verifies jurisdictional determinations, develops policy and
guidance, and enforces Section 404 provisions. EPA develops
and interprets policy, guidance, and environmental criteria
used in evaluating permit applications; determines the scope
of geographic jurisdiction and applicability of exemptions;
approves and oversees state and tribal assumption; reviews and
comments on individual permit applications; has authority
to prohibit, deny, or restrict the use of any defined area as a
disposal site; can elevate specific cases; and enforces Section 404
provisions. EPA also provides funding, guidance, and train-
ing for a variety of wetland programs and works closely with
the states through its regional offices and the National Estuary
Program. Each state in this region has its own wetland laws
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review
and regulations that work in concert with Section 404, such as
compensatory mitigation policies and/or guidance.

An important strategic component of coastal wetland protec-
tion in the Mid-Atlantic region is the prevalence of regional
partnerships, most notably the multi-state Chesapeake Bay
Agreement and the Partnership for the  Delaware Estuary (one
of 28 National Estuary Programs). In addition, wetland mon-
itoring and assessment tools are considered important aspects
of the wetland protection programs in this region. Coordina-
tion occurs through the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands Workgroup,
funded through a Wetland Program Development Grant
from EPA to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental
Protection. The group consists of federal, state, and academic
staff and scientists from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey,
New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia,
and West Virginia. Collaboration also occurred to develop a
Mid-Atlantic tidal wetland assessment method to assess the
condition of coastal wetlands.  The method was developed by
the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Envi-
ronmental Control, the Maryland Department of Natural
Resources, and VIMS.

The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and VIMS are two
examples of groups providing scientific support  for improved
decision-making in this region. Both groups have developed
strong collaborative relationships as well as valuable coastal
wetland resources intended for local, state, and federal agen-
cies to draw  upon for priority setting as well as policy making.
                                 CLEAN WATER ACT SECTION 404 PERMITS
                                 Section 404 establishes a permit program to regulate
                                 the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters
                                 of the United States, including wetlands. An applicant
                                 must show that steps have been taken to avoid
                                 impacts to aquatic resources; that potential impacts
                                 have been minimized; and that compensation will
                                 be provided for all remaining unavoidable impacts.
                                 General permits can be issued on a nationwide,
                                 regional, or statewide basis for categories of activities
                                 that will have only minimal adverse effects. State
                                 Programmatic General Permits (SPGPs) are a type
                                 of general permit issued by the Army Corps and
                                 administered by a state agency. They are designed
                                 to improve the regulatory approval process for
                                 applicants, reduce unnecessary duplicative project
                                 evaluations, and promote more effective and efficient
                                 use of Army Corps' resources.

Of particular note are strategies under development to address
threats of coastal erosion, storm surges, and sea level rise. To
address erosion and potential storm surges, Mid-Atlantic states
have historically relied on shoreline hardening methods to
stabilize vulnerable coastlines along both estuarine and ocean-
facing shores. Alternative strategies are now being proposed
and implemented for both ocean and estuarine shorelines. The
banks of estuaries in particular are receiving much attention;
in these areas nourishment rarely occurs and hardening is
more common due to lower wave energy and other factors.
In order for the region to begin addressing projections for sea
level rise over the  next century, alternatives to hardening, such
as conservation or rolling easements and "living shorelines,"
are gaining more traction (Titus, 1998; CCSP, 2009; EPA Cli-
mate Ready Estuaries website, 2010
matereadyestuaries/). Allowing wetlands to migrate inland is a
method of sea level rise adaptation, which  ensures that coastal
wetlands are maintained. Inland migration of wetlands can
be accomplished through setbacks, density restrictions, and
land acquisition. Regulatory rolling easements refer to a broad
range of legal mechanisms used to prevent property owners
from armoring their shoreline while allowing other uses of
the property. Rolling easements work by automatically mov-
ing or "rolling" the restriction landward with rising sea level.
This allows sediment transport to move inland and wetlands
to migrate naturally.  Rolling easements prevent armoring of
the shoreline regardless of how threatened  the structure is by
rising sea level. If erosion threatens the structure, the owner
has two choices: either relocate the building or allow it to
succumb to the encroaching sea (Titus, 1998). EPA's Climate
Ready Estuaries program has developed a "Rolling Ease-
ments Primer" which identifies regulatory  and non regulatory
options for implementing rolling easements (Titus, 2011).

To address  the impacts of climate change,  the Partnership for
the Delaware Estuary (PDE), which is participating in the
Climate Ready Estuaries program,  released a report called
"Climate Change and the Delaware Estuary: Three Case
Studies in Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan-
ning." These case studies  looked at three key resources: tidal
wetlands, drinking water, and bivalve shellfish. With technical
assistance from experts, the Sea Level Affecting Marsh Model
(SLAMM) was applied to project how the spatial extent of
different coastal habitats will change as sea level rises. In addi-
tion to significant acreage losses, PDE expects to see shifts in
community species composition, desiccation of marsh sedi-
ments, and change in habitat support. To address these vul-
nerabilities, the case study identified six management tactics
as potential adaptation strategies for crucial infrastructure and
tidal wetlands: watershed flow management; strategic retreat;
structure setbacks; creation of buffer lands; living shorelines;
and building dikes, bulkheads, and tide gates.

Mid-Atlantic Gaps and Needs

In addition to identifying tools and strategies, the Coastal
Wetlands Team gathered  baseline information related to needs
and gaps to improve coastal wetland protection in this region.
In general, there appeared to be a need for:

• Increasing coordination and collaboration between wetland
  regulators and stakeholders.

» Increasing resources  (staffing and funding) to administer
  monitoring, assessment, and regulatory programs.

* Developing comprehensive and integrated databases using
  common temporal and geographic scales and standardized
  categorization methodologies.

• Increasing understanding of wetland condition, function,
  values, and emerging issues such as sediment budgets, sedi-
  ment management strategies and climate change impacts.

Tables 2 and 3 summarize key stressors, tools and strategies to
address them, and gaps and needs for both focal watersheds in
the Mid-Atlantic region.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

            Table 2. Stressors,Tools and Strategies, and Gaps Identified by Participants During the Delaware Estuary CWR
Limitations of regulations
Cumulative impacts
Hydrologic alterations
Shoreline hardening
Mosquito control practices and
salt marsh hay impoundments
Climate change and sea level rise
Tools and Strategies
• Regulatory authority
• Watershed-level wetland condi-
tion assessment
• Watershed-level wetland condi-
tion assessment
• Living shorelines
• Watershed-level wetland condi-
tion assessment
• Land acquisition
• Rolling easements
Gaps and Needs
• Integrated mapping, monitoring, and data collection system
• Sustained funding to better understand wetland function and loss
• Integrated mapping, monitoring, and data collection system
• LiDAR mapping
• Coordination among states and NEPs to consistently and
comprehensively track losses and condition changes
• Sustained funding to better understand wetland function and loss
• Better understanding of sediment budgets and natural processes
• Better understanding of sediment budgets and natural processes
• Educate public and increase awareness
• Sustained funding to better understand wetland function and loss
• Better understanding of sediment budgets and natural processes
• Educate public and increase awareness
                Table 3. Stressors, Tools and Strategies, and Gaps Identified by Participants During the York River CWR
Limitations of regulations
Inconsistencies in State
Regulatory Exemptions
Commercial and residential
Shoreline hardening
Cumulative impacts
Climate change impacts
Tools and Strategies
Wetland monitoring and
Strong scientific support
• Restoration
• Outreach and training
• Restoration
• Living shorelines
Wetland monitoring and
• Restoration
• Living shorelines
Gaps and Needs
• State and federal coordination
• Improved collaboration between state agencies
Consistent shoreline management plans
• Stronger federal enforcement presence
• CIS tools and LiDAR
Consistent shoreline management plans
Development restrictions
• Nutrient management plansforall land uses
• Consistent shoreline management plans
• Improved collaboration between state agencies
• Centralized database tracking permits, wetland loss, and
• CIS tools and LiDAR
Consistent shoreline management plans
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

   Focal Watershed Review: Delaware Estuary Watershed
  The Delaware Estuary watershed (HUCs 02040201,
  02040202,02040203, 02040205, 02040206, 02040207)
  covers 13,611 square miles and includes portions of New
  York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and a very
  small portion of Maryland. The tidal river, one of the larg-
  est freshwater tidal estuaries  in the world, runs through the
  fourth-largest U.S. urban center. It supports the world's
  largest freshwater port system, including the Port of Phila-
  delphia, which generates more than  $19 billion annually.
  The upper watershed is considered a relatively pristine rec-
  reational resource providing a portion of New York City's
  drinking water supply. The lower estuary is noted for its
  biological richness, with waterfowl (boasting the second-
  highest concentration ofshorebirds  in North America),
  fin and shellfish (oyster landings  exceed $1.5 million), and
  the largest breeding population of horseshoe crabs on the
  planet. This resource gained  distinction as home to one
  of the 28 National Estuary Programs—the only tri-state
  National Estuary Program (PDE, 2006).

  Periodic evaluations of coastal wetlands (tidal and non-tidal)
  of the Delaware Estuary watershed are conducted by PDE.
  The State of the Delaware Estuary report (PDE, 2008) is a
  comprehensive assessment effort that tracks more than 20
  indicators of overall estuarine and watershed health. The
  report measures progress as well as challenges associated with
  implementing the Delaware Estuary  Comprehensive Conser-
  vation and Management Plan. For example, with respect to
  tidal marshes, the report concluded the following:

    Much of our remaining wetlands appear to be con-
    siderably degraded and vulnerable to storms, erosion,
    and sea level rise. These marshes would normally move
    landward as sea levels rise. However, the "buffer" lands
    adjacent to them have long been developed in the
    Upper Estuary, and buffer loss in the Middle  and Lower
    Estuary has escalated during the past decade.  . . .

    ... A 1992 to 2001 land cover data comparison (for
    both tidal and non-tidal wetlands  combined) showed
    wetlands loss throughout the estuary, except along
    the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay where extensive
    marsh restoration may have offset  this trend. . . .

    . . . Despite proactive laws protecting marshes, a grow-
    ing awareness of their ecological value, and mounting
    restoration attention, marsh  acreage and condition are
    still lost from human-caused impairments, land uses,
    and sea level rise.  [See Figure 8].
  ''.&•! Dolawam £c!iuiv IV»1ors-ifd Cn«*la' Wetland RBVlow An*
Figure 7. Delaware Estuary focal watershed (cross-hatched area).
    | Tidal Fresh Marsh
    | Saline Fringe
     Estuarine Marsh
P e n n s \£fv a n i a     <'
   SV 3 /
 Figure 8. Relative change in tidal wetland acreage, 1992-2001.
 Source: PDE, 2008.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

   Focal Watershed Review: Delaware Estuary Watershed (continued)
      Highlight: Analysis of Wetland Condition in the St. Jones River Watershed
     The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and
     Environmental Control (DNREC) Wetland Monitoring
     and Assessment Program recently released the results of
     a detailed study to examine the condition of wetlands in
     the St. Jones River watershed. The St. Jones River water-
     shed drains 57,643 acres into the Delaware Bay Estuary.
     The study is part of a statewide effort by DNREC to
     assess the condition of wetlands on the watershed scale.
     The St. Jones study, summarized by Rogerson et al.
     (2010), examined both tidal and non-tidal wetland con-
     dition, changes in overall wetland acreage,  and stressors
     responsible for wetland degradation.

     The study first looked  at the change in wetland area in the
     watershed by comparing the 1992 Delaware state wetland
     inventory to historic wetland acreage based on hydric soils.
     Next, to assess the condition of wetlands and identify the
     prominent stressors, a  rapid assessment method was applied
     to 32 headwater wetland sites, 29 riverine wetland sites,
     five depressional wetland sites, and 50 tidal wetland sites,
     randomly located on both private and public land. Indica-
     tors  of condition and stressors related to plant community,
     hydrology, and wetland buffers were evaluated for each site.
     A probabilistic sampling design allowed for extrapolation of
     sample results to overall wetland condition in the watershed.

     Since European colonization, the St. Jones watershed has
     lost approximately 47 percent of its wetland resources. Of
     the wetlands remaining, 50 percent of the wetland area is
     considered minimally stressed while 16 percent is severely
     stressed. The condition of wetlands varied by wetland
     type: headwater wetlands scored a "B-," riverine wetlands
     scored a "C-," and tidal
     wetlands scored a "C."
     Compared to the nearby
     Murderkill and Inland
     Bays watersheds, the
     condition of wetlands
     in the St. Jones River
     watershed was similar to
     the Murderkill water-
     shed in the Delaware
     Estuary basin but has
     more minimally stressed
     wetlands and fewer
     severely stressed wet-
     lands than the Inland
     Bays watershed.
                                This information will be used to guide Delaware's protec-
                                tion and restoration efforts. Protection resources will be
                                focused on the types of wetlands with the highest risk for
                                loss and degradation, and restoration efforts will be tar-
                                geted on wetlands with the highest restorative value. The
                                results of this study can also be used as baseline informa-
                                tion to monitor future  changes in the watershed. In col-
                                laboration with the Delaware National Estuarine Reserve,
                                DNREC will use the information from this report to
                                educate citizens and decision-makers on the health  and
                                importance of wetlands and actions that they can take to
                                improve the condition  of wetlands in the watershed. The
                                study recommendations included:
                                • Thoroughly tracking permitted impacts.
                                • Restoring and re-establishing degraded and fragmented
                                  flat wetlands to improve wetland services such as water
                                  quality, wildlife habitat, and native biodiversity.
                                • Improving tidal and non-tidal wetland buffer regulations.
                                • Collaborating with partners to enhance education and
                                  outreach efforts and  share coastal wetland information
                                  with professionals  and decision-makers.
                                • Identifying restoration and protection priority areas.
                                • Ensuring that wetland functions are replaced before
                                  they may be destroyed or degraded by adopting assess-
                                  ment methods and monitoring results into the Army
                                  Corps' review process and by strictly enforcing current
                                » Controlling invasive plants to improve wetland con-
                                  dition, promote native communities, and improve

                                                                 Wetland health letter grades noted for
                                                                      each wetland type.
Stressors: Ditching, invasive plants, barriers to landward
migration, and soil disturbance.
•  Minimize hardened shorelines (e.g., rip rap, bulkhead, roads)
  adjacent to wetlands.
.  Strengthen buffer regulations to allow room for wetlands to
  move landward with sea level rise.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Focal Watershed Review: Delaware Estuary Watershed (continued)
Data from NOAA's C-CAP were used to estimate acre-
age losses of coastal wetlands for the Delaware Estu-
ary (see Appendix D for more information on C-CAP

According to C-CAP estimates, the Delaware Estuary
watershed lost approximately 7,500 acres of coastal wet-
lands between 1996 and 2006. This represented a loss of
1.5 percent of all coastal wetlands present in  1996.  Losses
were fairly evenly split between freshwater (approximately
52 percent) and saltwater  (approximately 44  percent)
wetlands, with some unconsolidated shore losses (approxi-
mately 4 percent). Wetland areas were lost to open water
(approximately 47 percent), agriculture (approximately 28
percent), and development (approximately 19 percent),
with approximately 6 percent lost to bare land (Figure 9).
More than 75 percent of all the saltwater marsh losses were
to open water.

The C-CAP data are intended to provide a general indi-
cation of trends observed  on a national level, and may
be one of several important screening tools used in  the
identification of threatened areas, key stressors, and the
identification and prioritization of conservation/restoration
strategies. This "big picture" view is best supplemented by
more detailed, field-based, state-level analysis. For example,
C-CAP (consistent with many wetland mapping meth-
odologies) only measures  coastal wetland losses according
to loss of wetland acreage. Some states are taking a more
comprehensive approach and are beginning to measure
both wetland acreage and condition. A notable example
occurs within the state of Delaware and is described in
the report "Condition of Wetlands in the St. Jones  Pviver
Watershed" (Rogerson et  al., 2010). This report determined
the condition of both tidal and non-tidal wetlands and
identified the presence of wetland stressors that are  degrad-
ing wetlands. Wetland condition was measured using 15
metrics  representing habitat characteristics (e.g., plant
composition, invasives); hydrology (e.g., ditching, draining,
fill, stormwater inputs); and condition of the wetland buf-
fer (e.g., extent and intensity of surrounding development,
barriers to landward migration). The information will be
used to  inform and improve future protection and restora-
tion activities for Delaware's wetland resources.

  It should be noted that the information below is based
  on the opinions and observations of participants, who
  provided feedback on draft versions of this document and
  supplemented statements with documentation, where
    Open Water
                          Bare Land
 Figure 9. Wetland loss and changes in land cover, 1996-2006: Delaware
 Estuary watershed. Source: NOAA,2010b.
The following major coastal wetland stressors emerged
from the Delaware Estuary watershed review:

• Limitations of regulations. During discussions, stakeholders
  reported a lack of clarity in the field amongst regulators and
  the regulated community over what is considered federally
  regulated waters pursuant to CWA Section 404 caused by
  recent Supreme Court decisions (Rapanos v. United States, 547
  U.S. 715, 810 [2006]; see Appendix C). This lack of clear
  guidance was cited as contributing to losses to coastal wetland
  resources within this focal watershed. For example, Delaware
  state officials noted increasing losses in the last decade, partic-
  ularly because the state has very little authority to protect non-
  tidal wetlands. Although state efforts may be showing more
  acres of mitigation than losses, there is uncertainty about
  long-term sustainability and the condition and functioning
  of the mitigation sites. According to review participants, early
  mitigation failures have led to more focus on ensuring replica-
  tion of hydrology, but the ability to replicate hydrology is still
  in the trial phase. It was also noted that there are regulatory
  barriers (e.g., terminology used in regulations) to the adoption
  of alternative shoreline stabilization methods such as those
  contained in "Living Shorelines" guidance (VIMS, 2009).

• Cumulative impacts through incremental filling.
  Cumulative impacts are caused by a combination of small
  incremental stressors such as wetlands alterations below
  regulatory thresholds, cutting of vegetation, road crossings,
  and increased imperviousness. This was a recurring theme
  throughout the Delaware Estuary watershed.

   Focal Watershed Review: Delaware Estuary Watershed (continued)
    A major concern is that small individual acreage losses are
    adding up to large impacts. For example, in Delaware the
    greatest wetland loss is occurring to non-tidal wetlands.
    These losses are often small losses (both permitted and
    unpermitted) that are being made on a site-by-site basis
    and not being put into a larger watershed or landscape
    context to understand the cumulative effects on ecosystem
    health and the reduction in the services the wetlands pro-
    vide.  Other states noted that incremental losses are occur-
    ring as older bulkheads are replaced with newer structures,
    and as landscaping (including lawns) encroaches into
    wetland and wetland buffer areas.

    Hydrologic alterations. Various  natural and artificial factors
    have converged to modify the hydrology of the Delaware
    Estuary and its related hydrodynamics and sediment deposi-
    tion patterns. For example, while dredging has historically
    resulted in direct wetland acreage loss via deposition (fill)
    of dredge materials into nearby marshes, the recurrence
    of channel deepening events (from an average pre-project
    depth of 18 feet to a deepening of 40 feet) has led to numer-
    ous secondary effects on important hydrologic parameters,
    including increased tidal range, increased shoreline erosion,
    and upstream intrusion of saline waters. These effects are
    exacerbated by sea level rise (Sutton et al., 1996). In addi-
    tion, stormwater runoff and impervious surfaces alter the
    hydrology of both non-tidal and tidal wetlands by reducing
    natural recharge and  increasing peak flooding.

    Shoreline hardening. Shoreline hardening impedes the
    ability of coastal wetlands to migrate landward in response
    to sea level rise. The State of the Delaware Estuary report
    (2008) tracks availability of tidal wetland buffers and notes
    that, in the lower estuary, buffers are lost and/or frag-
    mented as agricultural lands are developed for residential
    and other uses. The report identified the Delaware side
    of the Delaware Bay as having the greatest potential for
    landward migration of tidal marshes, and therefore should
    be a priority for preservation.

    Mosquito control practices. Historic mosquito control
    ditching and other mosquito control activities are consid-
    ered a common stressor of coastal wetlands. Open water
    marsh management for mosquito  control, intended to
    reduce pesticide use, may be acting as a stressor because
    of changes associated with hydrology and species com-
    position. The creation of open  water areas often reduces
    the amount of wetland vegetation (including wildlife
    habitat), and may have secondary impacts associated
    with disturbance including the introduction or spread of
    invasive species  (Strait and Balletto, 2005).
Salt marsh hay impoundments. The historic practice
of diking and impounding salt marshes for hay produc-
tion has isolated wetlands from the estuary. Participants
indicated that this has reduced wetland productivity and
other ecosystem functions, though we uncertain about
the full range of impacts this isolation may have on sedi-
ment dynamics and species composition.

Climate change and sea level rise. Climate change will
lead to increasing frequency and intensity of storms,
which affect coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and
conversion of vegetated wetlands to open water (Kreeger
et al., 2010a). Secondary impacts include marsh die-
back/browning and changes in species composition due
to changes in geomorphology, salinity, and tempera-
ture. These vegetation changes lead to a loss in wetland

Pollution. Point and nonpoint sources of pollution from
development and agriculture include stormwater runoff,
wastewater discharges, and industrial discharges. Of par-
ticular concern are nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorous),
bacteria, sediment, metals, organic compounds (e.g., pes-
ticides), as well as emerging contaminants such as pharma-
ceuticals and endocrine disrupters (PDE, 2008).

Invasive species. Disturbance (e.g., hydrologic alteration,
land clearing) enables opportunistic species to invade
and out-compete valuable endemic species. In particu-
lar, Phragmites (common reed) invasion is  a significant
stressor in this watershed, which participants believe is
likely to spread as wetland disturbances increase.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

  Focal Watershed Review: Delaware Estuary Watershed (continued)
  Tools and Strategies
  There are currently a number of effective tools and strate-
  gies in use or under development in the Delaware Estuary
  watershed to address the above stressors. The focal water-
  shed review highlighted the following:

  • Mapping. Accurate, current data and high-resolution
    wetland maps are essential tools to monitor and track
    changes in wetlands due to the above stressors. The state
    of Delaware, in partnership with USFWS and Virginia
    Tech, created wetland maps from aerial imagery in order
    to complete an analysis of wetland changes between 1992
    and 2007 (Tiner et al., 2011). The state of New Jersey
    also has high resolution wetland GIS data by county.

  • Regulatory authority. Participants highlighted the
    importance of exploring the uses of existing state and
    federal regulations. For example, the implementation of
    TMDLs and the use of grants provided under CWA Sec-
    tion 319 can be used to improve wetland water quality.

  • Collaboration. State and local agencies should collabo-
    rate in order to protect shared resources and reduce the
    adverse effects of the identified stressors through consis-
    tent regulation and outreach efforts. Inter-state collabora-
    tion can also be an effective tool, as shown by the efforts
    of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE).

  • Land acquisition. Acquisition of land and/or securing
    protective easements are critical for protecting wetlands
    and the buffer areas around them, allowing  landward
    migration of coastal wetlands due to sea level rise.
    Examples discussed in the review  included USFWS land
    acquisition projects and wildlife management areas,
    which have protected large amounts of bay shore areas in
    New Jersey, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's use
    of Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
    funds to purchase  tidal wetland buffers. The state of
    Delaware and Gloucester County, New Jersey, both have
    active programs to purchase agricultural preservation
    easements on low-lying farmland  (Craghan  et al., 2010;
    Hudgens et al., 2010; Titus et al., 2009).

  • Public access. Along parts of the Delaware Estuary, New
    Jersey public access regulations require that  access to and
    along the shore be enhanced and preserved whenever
    permits are issued  for more than two homes or a com-
    mercial land use (CCSP, 2009). Public access is also  a
    key component of redevelopment along the Pennsylvania
    shore. Although public access does not directly increase
    habitat, it does facilitate people's enjoyment of the coastal
    environment, thereby enhancing public education and

Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review
  support for environmental quality.

• Monitoring and assessment. The PDE is leading a col-
  laborative effort to establish the Mid-Atlantic Coastal
  Wetlands Assessment (MACWA). This large-scale,
  tri-state assessment will establish baseline conditions
  and new research methods to assist  in decision making,
  priority setting, and future survey design in the region
  (Kreeger et al., 201 Ob).

What's Needed? What's Missing?
Despite the above array of tools and strategies to reduce
stressors to coastal wetlands, there are still gaps that need to
be addressed to enable more effective  application of these
tools and strategies in order to  better protect and restore
coastal wetlands:

  Sustained funds to understand wetland loss, including
  condition, function, and stressors, and also to imple-
  ment outreach and incentive programs. Directed wetland
  development grants to focus on building state capacity and
  coordinating across geopolitical boundaries through NEPs.

  Better understanding of sediment budgets, hydrologic
  alterations, and their effects upon natural processes such
  as erosion and accretion.

• An integrated mapping, monitoring, and data collection
  system to inform decision-making,  set priorities, and
  track progress for applications such as the State of the
  Delaware Estuary report.

  Improved National Wetland Inventory (NWI) mapping
  for quality baseline data at a higher resolution. LiDAR
  technology is especially needed for coastal mapping
  because of the dynamic conditions associated with coastal

  New tools to address emerging threats such as sea level
  rise and potential sediment deficits. Several states out-
  side the Mid-Atlantic have rolling easement regulations
  to ensure that beaches migrate inland as sea level rises
  (CCSP,  2009).

  Increased state regulatory authority over non-tidal

• Increased interagency collaboration and integration of
  tools/authorities/enforcement, especially bringing agen-
  cies together to prioritize wetland management.

  Good information to educate the public and increase

   Focal Watershed Review: York River Watershed, Virginia
  The Virginia coastal zone contains all 310,813 acres of
  Virginia's tidal wetlands and 909,097 acres (approximately
  80 percent) of the state's non-tidal wetlands. Most of the
  historical non-tidal losses are attributed to agriculture,
  while most of the historical tidal wetland losses have been
  caused by commercial and residential development along
  the shoreline, shoreline hardening (VA DEQand VIMS,
  2001) and, potentially, sea level rise.

  At 2,669 square miles, the York is among the smallest of
  Virginia's Chesapeake Bay watersheds. However, its popu-
  lation grew from 250,332 in 1994 to 372,488 in 2000,
  making it one of the Bay's fastest-growing watersheds
  (Commonwealth of Virginia, 2005; VA DCR, 2008). The
  140-mile York River originates at West Point, where the
  Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers converge, and continues to
  Yorktown where it drains into Chesapeake Bay. The water-
  shed thus includes the drainage areas for the Pamunkey,
  Mattaponi, and York Rivers (Figure 10; HUCs 02080105,
  02080106, 02080107).  Land use/land cover is predomi-
  nantly rural, with approximately 73 percent forested, 19
  percent in agricultural use, and 8 percent designated as
  urban (VA DCR, 2008).

  Based upon C-CAP results, the York River watershed
  lost approximately 900 acres of wetlands between 1996
  and 2006 (see Appendix D for more information on
  C-CAP methodology). This constituted a loss of 0.5
  percent of all of the wetlands present in 1996. The losses
  were associated primarily with freshwater wetlands
          Open Water
     Bare Land
  Figure 11. Post-loss land use for coastal wetlands lost between 1996 and 2006:
  York River watershed. Source: NOAA, 20/05.
Figure 10. York River watersheds.
(approximately 95 percent), with the majority being for-
ested wetlands. Approximately 3 percent, or 30 acres, of
salt marsh wetlands were lost during the same time period.
The losses experienced were primarily due to conversion of
land for agricultural uses, including both cultivated crops
and pasture areas  (approximately 60 percent),  but there was
also significant loss to open water (approximately 24 per-
cent), development (approximately 12 percent), and some
loss to bare land (approximately 4 percent) (Figure 11).

Discussion at the  review focused on key issues contribut-
ing to coastal wetland loss. Overall, it was observed that
inconsistent regulation and regulatory exemptions may be
the most common drivers of coastal wetland loss within the
York River watershed, particularly with respect to agricul-
ture and forestry practices within non-tidal wetlands. In
addition, rapid urban development has been cited as being
a key contributing factor. Stakeholders indicated these are
the three most important stressors:

• Inconsistency in state regulations Several possible
  reasons for or examples of inconsistent regulation were

  » Participants felt that the existence of two separate
    wetland protection programs may hinder wetland
    protection due to inconsistent policies and jurisdic-
    tional determinations. Primary authority for issuing
    state non-tidal wetland permits rests with the Virginia
    Department of Environmental Quality  (VA DEQ).
    Tidal wetland permits are the purview of the Virginia
    Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) under the
    Tidal Wetlands Act. Local wetland boards have the
    option of regulating their own tidal wetlands with
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

   Focal Watershed Review: York River Watershed, Virginia (continued)
      VMRC oversight (most wetland boards adopt the
      "model wetland zoning ordinance" set forth in Virginia
      Code Section 28.2-1302).

    » Participants believed project proponents may be using
      the fact that they have obtained local building permits
      as entitlement to bypass "avoidance and minimization"
      requirements of state and federal wetland regulations.

    » The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act designates tidal
      wetlands and an adjoining  100 foot buffer as  compo-
      nents of Resource Protection Areas (RPAs). Partici-
      pants indicated that not all counties require wetland
      delineation before approving development plans near
      RPAs, and therefore may not be consistently limiting
      development within RPAs. Requiring delineations
      would also provide  greater consistency with state/fed-
      eral regulations.

    » Participants did not believe there was political will for
      local wetland boards administering the Tidal Wetlands
      Act to require less damaging alternatives to shoreline
      hardening projects.

    » Virginia's wetland programs do not consistently require
      avoidance of wetland impacts, and instead settle for
      modest minimization and compensation schemes
      (Wetlands Watch, 2006).

    Regulatory exemptions. Examples include:

    » Similar to CWA Section 404, Virginia wetland laws
      exempt certain activities from permit requirements,
      such as those related to existing agriculture and silvi-
      culture; construction and maintenance of farm or stock
      ponds; or farm roads, forest roads, and temporary
      roads for mining activities (subject to BMPs). Partici-
      pants believed these exempt activities were a significant
      cause of wetland loss. For example, there is a belief
      among some participants that large wetland areas are
      being timbered and later converted to other uses, such
      as residential subdivisions. Speculative landowners
      may be taking advantage of a silviculture exemption to
      install permanent roads and bridges for access, remove
      trees, and then convert the land for development.

    » Virginia also exempts from regulation "isolated wet-
      lands of minimal ecological value," which are defined
      as non-forested wetlands less than one-tenth of an acre
      located outside the  100 year floodplain and not con-
      taining endangered species habitat or other sensitive
      aquatic communities including vernal pools. In total,
      it is estimated that there are more than 180,000 acres
   It should be noted that the information below is based
   on the opinions and observations of participants, who
   provided feedback on draft versions of this document and
   supplemented statements with documentation, where

    of isolated wetlands statewide (Hershner et al., 2000).
    Participants believe exempted and unmitigated impacts
    have resulted in significant losses on a cumulative basis
    of isolated wetlands of "minimal ecological value."

• Commercial and residential development. Conver-
  sion of open space and agricultural lands to commer-
  cial and residential development is viewed as a major
  stressor in the York watershed. In  addition to direct
  impacts associated with construction, this development
  requires supporting infrastructure along with its associ-
  ated impacts  (e.g.,  stormwater runoff from roads and
  impervious surfaces). Stormwater runoff was identified
  as a major stressor  associated, generally, with growth and

As well as the "top three" listed above, other major stressors

• Shoreline erosion and shoreline hardening. Shoreline
  hardening is a major stressor in this watershed  due to its
  adverse effects upon natural coastal processes, including
  sediment transport, water quality improvement, flood
  events, and wildlife habitat. As stated above, the Tidal
  Wetlands Act may not  be working as well as it  should
  because of pressures on local wetland boards. Armoring
  is a common response of coastal landowners to stabilize
  their waterfront properties in response to observed or
  anticipated erosion (Figure 12). This aggressive response
  may be exacerbated by the prospect of sea level rise (Titus
  et al., 2009).  Approximately 11 percent of the  York
  River's shoreline has been armored and 7-5 percent of the
  York-Pamunkey-Mattaponi's collective shoreline has been
  Figure 12. Armored shoreline. Source: VA CZM, n.d.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

  Focal Watershed Review: York River Watershed, Virginia (continued)
    » Studies by VIMS have shown significant ecological
      impacts of shoreline hardening. In one study, the place-
      ment of erosion control structures on the shoreline
      was associated with reduced fish community integrity.
      Fish community integrity was lowest along bulkheaded
      shorelines. In another study, the benthic index of bio-
      logical integrity was found to be significantly reduced
      in circumstances where more than 10 percent of the
      shoreline was developed. Reduction in benthic inver-
      tebrates is directly related to the health of the fisheries
      community (Bilkovic et al., 2006; Bilkovic and Rog-
      gero, 2008).

    Cumulative impacts.  The Wetlands Program at VIMS
    maintains a database of state permitted tidal wetland
    losses in order to assess the cumulative impacts of these
    permits. According to this data, while 132 acres of tidal
    wetland fill were permitted by state  permits between
    1993 and 2004, only  20.3 acres of compensatory wet-
    land mitigation was required (Duhring, 2005). Eighty
    acres of this loss was the result of permits for erosion
    control structures. Additional, untracked losses occur due
    to exemption of impacts less than 1,000 square feet in
    isolated wetlands of minimal ecological value (Wetlands
    Watch, 2006).

    In addition, participants cited general permits issued
    for non-tidal wetlands impacting less than a half acre
    as another possible source of cumulative wetland loss.
    Concerns were expressed that these  areas were not consis-
    tently reviewed for impacts and mitigation. It should be
    noted, however, that the general permits in Virginia are
    designed to  provide a streamlined process without reduc-
    ing the level of protection.

    Climate change and subsidence impacts. Climate
    change impacts have been noted as a stressor, particularly
    in low-lying areas and may not be receiving adequate
    attention or public visibility. Effects of climate change
    may include sea level  rise, more severe coastal storms,
    salt water intrusion, and climate change's contribution
    and relationship to  other stressors such as drought and
    increased demand for ground water withdrawals. These
    processes are expected to continue. It was noted that
    tectonic rebound of the earth's crust upon melting of
    glaciers and subsidence from the Chesapeake Bay Impact
    Crater (VIMS, 2010)  may be accounting for about a
    third of the  sea level rise. Landward migration of coastal
    wetlands can reduce the magnitude  of these impacts
    upon coastal populations and natural areas.
Tools and Strategies
The discussion of tools and strategies revealed a rich array
of coastal wetland protection and restoration programs,
technological applications, and outreach initiatives, many
of which are directly linked to addressing major stressors in
the watershed.

• Wetland monitoring and assessment strategy. In 2000,
  the Virginia legislature amended the State Water Con-
  trol Law by authorizing VA DEQ to implement a state
  non-tidal wetland program in support of a "no  net loss
  of wetlands" policy.  The program augments the state's
  401 certification of 404 permits and includes protec-
  tion of isolated wetlands (except those smaller than 1/10
  acre). The range of responsibilities assigned to VA DEQ
  included a comprehensive monitoring and assessment
  strategy, which was adopted in 2005- VIMS, VA DEQ,
  and others are working in concert to implement the
  strategy by developing protocols and guidance and apply-
  ing them in the field in order to answer the following
  questions  (VA DEQ, 2005):
  » What is the overall quality of wetlands?
  » To what extent is wetland quality changing over time?
  » What are the wetland problem areas and areas needing
  » What level  of protection is needed?
  » How effective are  wetland programs in protecting
• Outreach and training. Coastal wetland education, out-
  reach, and training programs are innovative and strategic,
  targeting diverse user groups such as realtors, contrac-
  tors, and school children. Some training sessions can be
  funded to  a limited  extent by fines from violators, who
  may be required to (anonymously) attend the training
  program as part of their penalties.

• Roundtables. Watershed-based discussion forums, called
  roundtables (e.g., the York River and Small Coastal Basin
  Roundtable and the York River Use Conflict Roundtable),
  are useful for stakeholder problem-solving, natural resource
  education, and technical training. Roundtables generally
  involve a diversity of participants, and their activities address
  common water quality and water resource concerns. Each
  major watershed in Virginia has a watershed roundtable
  (see The York
  River and Small Coastal Basin Roundtable website can be
  found at
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Focal Watershed Review: York River Watershed, Virginia (continued)
  Restoration. Consistent with the Chesapeake Bay 2000
  agreement, the state committed to aggressive wetland
  restoration goals. The wetland restoration program is a
  key component of the state's no net loss policy. The state
  recently updated its wetland restoration goals, which now
  call for restoration of more than 70,000 acres statewide,
  including more than 26,000 in the York River watershed
  alone. Stakeholders viewed these goals with a certain
  degree of skepticism,  and cited the lack of a statewide
  wetland restoration tracking database.

  Strong science base. A notable and productive part-
  nership exists between the state's wetland programs
  and VIMS. VIMS is legislatively mandated to provide
  scientific assistance to the Commonwealth of Virginia's
  wetland regulatory and  management programs, and has
  developed a number of assessment tools that  have been
  implemented throughout the region. VIMS is a major
  asset for the state's wetland programs. Among other
  duties, staff at the Center for Coastal  Resources Manage-
  ment (CCRM) reviews  all tidal permit applications in
  Virginia's 22  tidewater counties, providing objective and
  scientific advice to permitting authorities.
 Figure 13. Newly planted marsh with fiber logs allowing plants to estab-
 lish root system and stabilize shoreline. Source: VIMS, 2006.
Tool Highlight: Living Shorelines
Among the many tools and strategies available in this water-
shed, "Living Shorelines" holds great promise in addressing
shoreline hardening, and has the potential for transferability
to other states and regions. Living Shorelines is a scientific
methodology that allows users to choose the most appropriate
means of shoreline stabilization (Figure 13), and is intended to
help implement shoreline management plans.
The Living Shorelines model and guidance developed by
VIMS (see are used to
determine the suitability of shoreline areas for various stabi-
lization approaches, which range from no action to armor-
ing, depending on a combination of risk factors. The model
contains parameters such as  fetch, water depth, vegetation,
height of bank, and existing erosion condition, and produces
the most effective shoreline stabilization method given a site's

The Maryland Department  of Natural Resources has been the
primary user of this tool, having completed shoreline manage-
ment plans for its entire Chesapeake Bay shoreline, but the
tool is receiving the attention of coastal managers throughout
the region. Maryland's regulations require the use of the Liv-
ing Shorelines model when permitting shoreline work. Local
governments in Matthews County, Virginia, have piloted the
tool, and local wetland boards are using the guidance. The
state of Virginia is now considering ways to institutionalize
this tool, such as  training contractors and others who are in
decision-making roles, providing incentives such as expedited/
streamlined permit processes for projects following Living
Shorelines guidance, and coordinating among all regulatory
programs to promote the guidance early on in the planning
process (VIMS, 2009).

Tool  Highlight: Non-Tidal Wetlands Condition
Assessment—Wetlands Data Viewer
This online tool was developed to help VA DEQmeet its year
2000 amendments to inland wetland laws. The data viewer
helps determine the quality/condition of non-tidal wetlands.
Wetlands are categorized as high, medium, and low value for
habitat and for water quality. The Virginia DEQ uses the data
viewer to assist in permit review, develop mitigation ratios,
and guide responsible siting of development.  No performance
standards currently exist for  conditioning (or denying) permits
based on the value of the wetlands as indicated in the data
viewer. The data viewer is available  for use now in non-tidal
wetlands (see
products/index.html). The tidal application is currently under
development, with the York River watershed  being the focus
of initial assessment and mapping efforts.

Tool  Highlight: Tidal Wetlands Inventory and
Assessment Protocol
The "Development of a Tidal Wetlands Inventory and Assess-
ment for the York River, Virginia Watershed" dataset (O'Brien
et al., 2006) provides the basis for a Level I, II, and III wetland

Focal Watershed Review: York River Watershed, Virginia (continued)
assessment of the Mid-Atlantic region. As a prototype for this
assessment, 2,188 tidal wetlands have been assessed in the
York River watershed. The protocols developed under this
study are transferable to other tidal watersheds in Virginia and
beyond to other states of the Mid-Atlantic region. (For more
information, see
tive_maps/disclaimer_yorktidalwetl ands.html.)

What's Needed? What's Missing?
Despite the above array of tools, stakeholders identified several

  Improved coordination between state and federal regula-
  tory agencies will be necessary in order to ensure reductions
  in coastal wetland loss and protection of remaining coastal
  wetlands. A state-federal interagency group existed in the
  1980s but was dissolved because of lack of funding. Such an
  entity is needed to ensure a coordinated state-federal wet-
  land protection program, and is a logical next step given the
  resources dedicated towards wetland inventory, assessments,
  and mapping within the state.

• Improved collaboration between state agencies and
  VIMS, including more widely accepted use of their
  inventory, assessments, and mapping tools, is expected
  to benefit both permitting and enforcement programs
  through a more comprehensive and consistent approach.

• A centralized state database and qualified support staff
  are  needed to track wetland  permitting, loss, and restora-
  tion to better identify where losses are occurring from the
  direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the stressors
  identified in this report.

• Shoreline management plans are needed in Virginia to
  address coastal erosion and to respond to sea level rise.
  The state of Maryland has developed management plans
for its shorelines and is developing statewide regulatory
maps that will designate where property owners can use
hard shore protection structures and those areas where
only nonstructural and living shoreline approaches will
be allowed. By contrast, Virginia has developed plans for
some select locations.

Coastal development needs to be designed to enable
wetland migration and reduce the demand for shore-
line hardening. Under its Critical Areas Act, the state of
Maryland limits development to one home per 20 acres
in most rural areas that were not developed prior to the
mid-1980s. Two counties in the state of Delaware pro-
hibit development in coastal floodplains (Hudgens et al.,
2010). Virginia, by contrast, has no statewide restrictions
for development along Chesapeake Bay.

Stronger enforcement presence by state and federal agen-
cies in tidal wetlands is needed to increase the effective-
ness of regulatory programs. Participants at the York
River watershed review suggested that a reduction in fed-
eral agency field presence is creating a "domino effect:"
when there is a strong, effective federal agency presence
in the field, there is a disincentive to violate the wetland
regulatory requirements—but with a reduced field pres-
ence, this disincentive is not there.

Access to GIS tools is needed by state and local officials
for displaying wetland losses, inventory, stressors, and
condition, and to provide greater opportunity for reten-
tion and dissemination of institutional knowledge. In
addition, better-quality, high-resolution LiDAR data are
needed to assist with accurately determining elevations
and topography, particularly for low-lying areas. These
are essential tools that should be shared between state
and federal regulatory permitting and enforcement agen-
cies in order to better assess and protect coastal wetlands.

The Mid-Atlantic coastal wetland review is the first
in a series that the EPA Coastal Wetlands Team
conducted. The team has been able to gain a greater
understanding of coastal wetland loss in the region,
including important insights into the causes of
these losses. Several common themes have emerged
from the focal watershed reviews:
« Development pressures continue to result in incremental
  direct and indirect impacts on coastal wetlands, and may
  lead to cumulatively significant adverse effects.
• Consistent coordination between state agencies, fed-
  eral regulatory agencies, and non-regulatory programs
  is necessary in order to ensure persistent reductions in
  coastal wetland loss and to secure additional protections
  for remaining coastal wetlands. Further, stronger enforce-
  ment presence by state and federal regulatory and resource
  agencies is needed in order to increase the effectiveness of
  wetland protections.
• Coastal erosion, exacerbated by sea level rise, is a stressor
  that is likely to increase in the future and for which the
  region needs to develop new strategies such as allowing
  landward migration of coastal wetlands.
A number of tools and strategies were suggested that could
effectively address the major stressors discussed on  the previous
pages, and could be transferred to other watersheds and regions:
« Incremental wetland losses: The VIMS tidal wetland
  inventory and assessment protocol is tool that could  be
  used to systematically assess coastal wetlands and measure
  incremental losses over time.
* Regulatory program coordination and strengthening: Col-
  laborative strategies such as the Mid-Atlantic Wetlands
  Work Group and the Partnership for the Delaware
  Estuary are excellent examples of ways to enhance the
  effectiveness of regulatory programs.  In addition, the Wet-
  lands Data Viewer tool, developed by VIMS, promises to
  provide regulators with critical information about wetlands
  in which development is proposed, allowing more protec-
  tion to be applied for wetlands exhibiting high values.
  Strategies to address shoreline erosion: The region has two
  potentially transferable strategies; one is more conceptual in
           Figure 14. PDE's Delaware Estuary Living Shoreline Initiative pilot project at Matt's
           Landing, New Jersey. Photo courtesy ofPDE.

                nature and the other is already being applied in the Mid-
                Atlantic region. The first is allowing landward migration
                of coastal wetlands in anticipation of sea level rise impacts,
                for example by implementing rolling easements. This
                strategy was highlighted in the Delaware watershed review.
                The second strategy is "Living Shorelines," which is the
                preferred method for shoreline stabilization and is imple-
                mented throughout Maryland's coastline and in other parts
                of this region (Figure 14). This tool, along with the permit-
                ting incentives being contemplated to implement it (e.g.,
                streamlining permit review), has high potential for transfer-
                ability to other coastal watersheds.
              Key gaps were identified that need to be filled to reduce the
              stressors and more effectively use these tools and strategies.
              The most commonly cited among them included fund-
              ing, monitoring and assessment data (both obtaining and
              managing the data), higher-resolution imagery and elevation
              data, increased interagency collaboration, improved state
              programs, and increased public/stakeholder outreach.

              Many people contributed to this effort. We would like to
              thank all of the participants who took time out of their busy
              schedules to provide us with this valuable feedback. In par-
              ticular, we wish to thank Dr. Danielle Kreeger, science director
              for the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, for hosting the
              Delaware watershed sessions and providing valuable informa-
              tion and assistance, and Pamela Mason of the Virginia Insti-
              tute of Marine Science, Center for Coastal Resources Man-
              agement, for helping coordinate and  provide information for
              the York River watershed session. Without their support and
              contributions, these reviews would not have been possible.
               For more information on the
            Coastal Wetlands Initiative, contact:
                    Jennifer Linn

                   Nancy Laurson
DISCLAIMER: The work reported in this document was funded by the US, Environmental Protection Agent
under Work Assignment B-04 of Contract No, EP-C-09-020 to Eastern Reseat ch Group, inc EPA, through its Offine of
Coastal Protection Division, managed and col la boi a ted in the assessment described herein, This document is not
based on new research or field work conducted by the Agency or its contractor, It contains readily available existing
information arid that provided D> stakeholders, I his document will be subjected to the Agency's review, Nether the UC
government nor any of its employees, contractors, subcontractors, 01 then employee: make any wan ant, expressed or
implied, or assume responsibility fot any third party's use of, or the results of, such use of any information, product, or
process discussed in this report, or represents that its use by such party would not infringe on privately owned rights,
Any opinions expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily leflect the views ofthe Agency;
therefore, no official endorsement should be inferred, Any mention of trade names or commercial products does not
constitute endorsement ^r it :ommerrjation rot use.
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Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix A: Delaware Estuary Watershed and York River Watershed Participant Lists
Delaware Estuary Wetland Review Participants
(June 2009)
Tom Belton, New Jersey Department of Environmental

Dave Carter, Delaware Coastal Zone Program

John D'Agostino, New Jersey Coastal Zone Program

Martha Maxwell Doyle, Barnegat Bay National Estuary

Kathleen Drake, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), Region 2

Dorina Frizzera, New Jersey Department of Environmental

Heidi Hanlon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)

Kevin Hess, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental

Kevin Holcomb, USFWS

Amie Howell, U.S. EPA Region 3

Amy Jacobs, Delaware Division of Natural Resources and
Environmental Control

Danielle Kreeger, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Angela Padeletti, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

Irene Purdy, U.S. EPA Region 2

Sam Reynolds, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia

Flavia Rutkosky, USFWS

Bill Shadel, American Littoral Society

Ralph Spagnolo, U.S. EPA Region 3

Eric Vowinkel, USGS

Nate Weston, Villanova University
York River Watershed Wetland Review Participants
(September 2009)
Marcia Berman, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS)

Harry Berquist, VIMS

Donna Bilkovic, VIMS

David Byrd, USFWS

Sharon Connor, Hanover-Caroline Soil and Water Conserva-
tion District

Dave Davis, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Kirk Havens, VIMS

Michelle Henicheck, Virginia DEQ

Carl Hershner, VIMS

Lewie Lawrence, Middle Peninsula Planning District

Pam Mason, VIMS

Shep Moon, Virginia DEQ, Coastal Zone Management

David O'Brien, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-
tration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service

Randy Owen, Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Walter Priest, NOAA

Scott Rae,  Gloucester County

Willy Reay, VIMS

May Sligh, Virginia Department of Conservation and

Donald Smith, Virginia DEQ

Skip Stiles, Wetlands Watch
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix B: Background Documents
Document/Study Title
Author (Date)
Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlan-
tic Region
Mid- Atlantic Wetlands: A Disappearing Natural Treasure
Status and Recent Trends of Wetlands in Five Mid- Atlantic States:
Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia
Wetlands Status and Trends in the Conterminous United States:
Mid- 1970's to Mid- 1980s
Mid- Atlantic Wetlands State Profiles
State Wetland Programs
State Wetland Protection: Status, Trends, and Model Approaches;
Appendix: State Profiles.
State Wetland Program Evaluation: Phase III
Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the
Eastern United States: 1998-2004
State of the Beach Report
Development Growth Outpacing Progress in Watershed Efforts
to Restore Chesapeake Bay
Draft Report on Chesapeake Bay Watershed Climate Change
Sea- Level Rise and Coastal Habitats of the Chesapeake Bay: A
Common Reed Phmgmites Australis Occurrence and Adjacent
Land Use Along Estuarine Shoreline in Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay Agreement — Preamble
Effects of Coastal Development on Nearshore Estuarine Nekton
Influence of Land Use on Macrobenthic Communities in Near-
shore Estuarine Habitats
Recent Wetland Status and Trends in the Chesapeake Watershed
(1982 to 1989)
U.S. Climate Change Science Program (2009)
Tiner, R.W— USFWS (1987)
Tiner, R.W, and J.T Finn— USFWS (1986)
Dahl,TE., and C.E. Johnson (1991)
U.S. EPA (2009) (Web site)
ASWM (2004)
Environmental Law Institute (2008)
Environmental Law Institute (2007)
Stedman, S., andT.E. Dahl (2008)
Surfrider Foundation (2009)
Office of Inspector General (2007)
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of
Commerce (2009)
National Wildlife Federation (2008)
Chambers R.M., et al. (2008)
Chesapeake Bay Program (2000)
Bilkovic, D.M., and M. Roggero (2008)
Bilkovic, D.M., M. Roggero, C.H. Hershner, and K.H.
Havens (2006)
Tiner, R.W— USFWS (1994)
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Delaware Wetlands Conservation Strategy
Delaware Wetland Monitoring Strategy
Delaware Wetlands Reserve Program
White Paper on the Status of Sudden Wetland Dieback in Salt-
marshes of the Delaware Inland Bay
The Delaware Estuary: Discover Its Secrets: Management Plan for
the Delaware Estuary
The Delaware Estuary: A Watershed of Distinction (fact sheet)
State of the Delaware Estuary. Report #08-0
Wetland Conservation and Restoration Along Delaware Bay: The
Edge Effect
The Scientific Characterization of the Delaware Estuary. The
Delaware Estuary Program (DRBC Project No. 321, HA File No
Wetland Trends in Delaware (1981/2 to 1992)
Wetlands: Status and Recent Trends
Maryland Climate Action Plan Final Report
Wetlands of Maryland
The Garden State in the Green House — Climate Change Mitiga-
tion and Coastal Adaptation Strategies for New Jersey
Pennsylvania's Wetlands: Current Status and Trends
Wetlands of Pennsylvania's Coastal Zone: Wetland Status, Pre-
liminary Functional Assessment and Recent Trends
Delaware DNREC (2008)
Delaware DNREC (2008)
Delaware DNREC (Web site)
Bason, C., et al., Delaware Center for the Inland Bays
Delaware Bay Estuary Project (1996)
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (2006)
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (2008)
Strait, K., and J.H. Balletto (2005)
Sutton, C.C., J.C. O'Herron II, and R.T. Zappalorti
Tiner, R.W, J. Swords, and S. Schaller— USFWS (1999)
Tiner, R.W (2001) (prepared for Delaware DNREC,
Watershed Assessment Section, Division of Water
Maryland Commission on Climate Change, Maryland
Department of the Environment (2008)
Tiner, R.W, and D.G. Burke— USFWS (1995)
Princeton University, Wood row Wilson School of Public
and International Affairs (2007)
Tiner, R.W— USFWS (1990)
Tiner, R.W, et al.— USFWS (2002)
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Created Versus Natural Wetlands: Avian Communities in Virginia
Salt Marshes
Recent Wetland Trends in Southeastern Virginia: 1 994—2000
2007 Virginia Outdoors Plan (Appendix J)
2006—2010 Virginia Coastal Needs Assessment and Strategies
(Enhancement Area Assessments)
Zoning, Subdivision, and Site Planning: What Coastal Commu-
nities can do to Address Sea Level Rise (presentation)
Invasive Species in Virginia — News and Events
Living Shores. . .The Natural Approach to Controlling Shoreline
Virginia Invasive Species Management Plan
Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program — Coastal GEMS
Better Land Use Planning for Coastal Virginia
Bay-Friendly Shoreline Solutions
Coastal Manager's Toolbox
Local Wetlands Boards
Restoring Virginia's Wetlands: A Citizen's Toolkit
Salt-Tolerant Native Plants for Waterfront Landscapes: Outer
Coastal Plain
Assessing the Decision-Making Process in Wetlands Resource
Management in Virginia
Shoreline Erosion Problems? Think Green!
Refinement and Validation of a Multi- Level Assessment Method
for Mid- Atlantic Tidal Wetlands
Recommendations for Implementing the Tidal Wetlands Mitiga-
tion-Compensation Policy
Integrated Shoreline Management and the Wetlands Board
Enhancement Area Assessments: Wetlands (2006—2010 Coastal
Needs Assessment)
Technical Report: Stormwater BMPs in VA's James River Basin:
Assessment of Field Conditions and Programs
Development of a Tidal Wetland Inventory Assessment for York
River, Virginia Watershed
Technical Memorandum: Watershed Planning Needs Survey of
Coastal Plain Communities
Virginia Coastal Management Program — Chapter 6.6
VA CZM Coastal Wetlands 309 Assessment
DesRochers, D.W, J.C. Keagy, and D.A. Cristol (2008)
Tiner, R.W— USFWS (2005)
VA DEQ-DCR (2007)
VA DEQ-CZM (2005)
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (undated)
Commonwealth of Virginia (2008) (Web site)
VA DEQ-DCR, Natural Heritage Program (2005)
VA DEQ-CZM (2009)
VA DEQ-DCR (2005)
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Web site)
VIMS-CCRM (2004)
VA DEQ-DCR (2005)
VA DEQand Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (2005)
VIMS-CCRM (Web site)
VIMS (2003)
VIMS-CCRM (2007)
VIMS-CCRM (2005)
VIMS-CCRM (2008)
VA DEQ-CZM (2005)
Center for Watershed Protection (2009)
VIMS-CCRM (2006)
Center for Watershed Protection (2008)
VIMS (2008)
VA DEQ-CZM (2005)
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Commonwealth of Virginia's Wetland Assessment and Monitor-
ing Strategy
Financial and Technical Assistance Potential Sources for Volun-
tary Wetland Restoration Activities in VA
Local Watershed Management Planning in VA: A Community
Water Quality Approach
State of Virginia's Coast
Summary of Natural Resources/Shoreline Adaptation Strategy
Recommendations of the VA Commission on Climate Change
Final Report: A Climate Change Action Plan
Virginia Coastal Zone Map
Draft Tidal Wetlands Guidelines
Laws of Virginia relating to the marine resources of the Com-
monwealth of Virginia
The Virginia Wetlands Report (Fall 2006, Vol. 11, Num. 3)
Chesapeake Bay Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Tributary
Strategy for the York River and Lower Coastal Basins
Grant Status Report: On-going Development of Non-tidal Wet-
land Inventory and Monitoring Strategy for Virginia
Virginia Wetlands Summary
Final Report: Vulnerability of shallow tidal water habitats in Vir-
ginia to climate change
VA Code Ch. 13 § 28 (local wetland ordinance development)
Watershed Profile: York River Watershed
Get the Facts, Wetlands in Virginia
No Net Loss— A Pledge Unfulfilled
VA DEQ (2005)
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, DEQ (2004)
DEQ-DCR (Web site)
VA DEQ (2001)
Skip Stiles — VA Commission on Climate Change (2008)
Governor's Commission on Climate Change (2008)
DEQ-CZMP (Web site)
VIMS-CCRM (Web site)
VA DEQ, VIMS (1996)
Commonwealth of VA (Chesapeake Bay Program)
Commonwealth of VA (2009)
VA DEQ (undated)
VIMS-CCRM (2009)
Commonwealth ofVA (1992)
VA DEQ-DCR (2004) (Web site)
VA DEQ (2008)
Wetlands Watch (2006)
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix C: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
Overview: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act establishes a
permit program to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill
material into waters of the United States, including wetlands.
Activities in waters of the United States regulated under this
program include fill for associated with development, water
resource projects (such as dams and levees that are not part of
the construction of federal projects specifically authorized by
Congress), infrastructure development (such as highways and
airports) and mining projects.

Under a rule promulgated pursuant to Section 404(b)(l) of
the Clean Water Act, no discharge of dredged or fill material
may be permitted if:  (1) a practicable alternative exists that
is less damaging to the aquatic environment so long as that
alternative does not have other significant adverse environ-
mental consequences or (2) the nation's waters would be
significantly degraded. Section 404 permitting ensures that
dredge and fill projects only proceed if an applicant first has
shown that steps have been taken to avoid impacts to wet-
lands, streams, and other aquatic resources; that potential
impacts have been minimized; and — only after the first two
measures have been taken — that compensation is provided
for all remaining unavoidable impacts.

Permits: Proposed activities are regulated through a permit
review process. An individual permit is required for projects
with more than minimal adverse effects. Individual permits
are reviewed by the Army Corps, which evaluates applications
under a public interest review, as well as the environmental
criteria set forth in the Section 404(b)(l) Guidelines promul-
gated by EPA in conjunction with the Army Corps. How-
ever, for most discharges that will have only minimal adverse
effects, a general permit may be suitable. General permits are
issued on a nationwide, regional, or state basis for particular
categories of activities. The general permit process eliminates
individual review and allows certain activities to proceed with
little or no delay, provided that the general, regional, and any
special conditions for the general permit are met. For exam-
ple, minor road activities, utility line backfill, and bedding
are activities that can be considered for a general permit. For
more information, see:
ance/cwa/dredgdis/ and

Jurisdiction: Though a number of activities may impact
the nation's waters, Section 404 applies to dredge and fill
activities only (Section 402 of the Clean Water Act regu-
lates point source discharges of pollutants into waters of the
United States). Additionally, the Clean Water Act only applies
to "waters of the United States." EPA and the Army Corps
have issued regulatory definitions of "waters of the United
States" to include waters that are: traditionally navigable;

Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review
interstate; could affect interstate commerce if used, degraded,
or destroyed; territorial seas; impoundments of jurisdictional
waters; tributaries of jurisdictional waters; and wetlands adja-
cent to jurisdictional waters. The agencies'  regulatory defini-
tion of "waters of the United States" provides exclusions for
waste treatment systems and prior converted cropland. U.S.
Supreme Court decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern
Cook County v.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rapanos v.
United States and subsequent agency guidance have provided
further interpretation of which waterbodies are protected by
the Clean Water Act. For the most recent guidance on Clean
Water Act geographic jurisdiction, see:
lawsregs/guidance/wetlands/CWAwaters.cfm. Lastly, the
regulatory definition of wetlands, "areas that are inundated
or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and
duration sufficient to support, and that under normal cir-
cumstances do support,  a prevalence of vegetation typically
adapted for life in saturated soil conditions,"  may exclude
some areas which are defined as wetlands for other purposes
(e.g., under the Cowardin classification system).

Exemptions: In general, Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
requires permits for the discharge of dredged or  fill mate-
rial into waters  of the United States, including wetlands.
However, certain activities are exempt from permit require-
ments under Section 404(f). These include dredge and fill
activities related to established (ongoing) farming, silvicul-
ture, or ranching practices; certain temporary activities; and
certain maintenance activities (e.g., of drainage ditches, farm
ponds, or stock ponds).  The exemptions are limited in their
application. For example, a permit must be obtained for an
activity whose purpose is to convert an  area of the waters of
the United States into a use to which it was not  previously
subject, where the flow or circulation of waters of the United
States may be impaired, or the reach of such waters reduced
(33 CFR 323-4). Some projects are also  required to imple-
ment Best Management Practices in order to remain exempt.
for more information regarding Section 404 exemptions.

Mitigation: Compensatory mitigation involves actions taken
to offset unavoidable adverse impacts to wetlands, streams,
and other aquatic resources authorized by Section 404 per-
mits and other Department of the Army permits. Compen-
satory mitigation can be carried out through four methods:
the restoration of a previously existing or degraded wetland
or other aquatic site, the enhancement of an existing aquatic
site's functions, the establishment (i.e., creation) of a new
aquatic site, or the preservation of an existing aquatic site. For
impacts authorized under Section 404,  compensatory mitiga-
tion is not considered until after all appropriate  and practi-
cable steps have been taken to first avoid and then minimize

Appendix C: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
adverse impacts to the aquatic ecosystem. For more informa-
tion, see:

  Compensatory Mitigation Rule: In 2008, the Army Corps
  and EPA issued regulations governing compensatory
  mitigation for activities authorized by permits issued by the
  Department of the Army (see
  lands_mitigation_final_rule_4_10_08.pdf)- The regulations
  establish performance standards and criteria for the use of
  permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation, mitigation
  banks, and in-lieu programs to improve the quality and
  success of compensatory mitigation projects for permitted
  activities. This rule improves the planning, implementation,
  and management of compensatory mitigation projects by
  emphasizing a watershed approach in selecting compensa-
  tory mitigation project locations, requiring measurable,
  enforceable ecological performance standards and regular
  monitoring for all types of compensation, and specify-
  ing the components of a complete compensatory mitiga-
  tion plan, including assurances of long-term protection of
  compensation sites, financial assurances, and identification
  of the parties responsible for specific project tasks. Since a
  mitigation bank must have an approved mitigation plan
  and other assurance in place before any of its credits can be
  used to offset impacts, this rule establishes a preference for
  the use of mitigation bank credits, which reduces  some of
  the risks and uncertainties associated with compensatory

  Mitigation Bank: Mitigation banking involves off-site
  compensation activities generally conducted by a third-
  party mitigation bank sponsor. A mitigation bank is a site,
  or suite of sites, where aquatic resources (e.g., wetlands,
  streams, riparian areas) are restored, established, enhanced,
  and/or preserved for the purpose of providing compensa-
  tory mitigation for impacts authorized by Department
  of the Army permits. In general, a mitigation bank sells
  compensatory mitigation credits to permittees to meet
  their requirements for compensatory mitigation. The value
  of these "credits" is determined by quantifying the aquatic
  resource functions  or acres restored or created. The bank
  sponsor is ultimately responsible for the success of the

  In-lieu Fee Mitigation: In-lieu fee mitigation involves off-
  site compensation activities generally conducted by a third
  party in-lieu fee program sponsor. Through an in-lieu fee
  program, a governmental or non-profit natural resources
  management entity collects funds from multiple permittees
  in order to pool the financial resources necessary to build

Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review
  and maintain the mitigation site or suite of sites. The in-lieu
  fee sponsor is responsible for the success of the mitigation.
  In-lieu fee mitigation typically occurs after the permitted

  Permittee-Responsible Mitigation: Permittee-responsible
  mitigation is the restoration, establishment, enhancement,
  or preservation of aquatic resources undertaken by a per-
  mittee in order to compensate for impacts resulting from
  a specific project. The permittee performs the mitigation
  after the permit is issued and is ultimately responsible for
  implementation  and success of the mitigation. Permittee-
  responsible mitigation may occur at the site of the per-
  mitted impacts or at an off-site location within the same

Roles & Responsibilities:

  Federal Agencies: The roles and responsibilities of the
  federal resource agencies differ in scope. The Army Corps
  administers the day-to-day aspects of the program, makes
  individual and general permit decisions, and makes deter-
  minations regarding the extent and location of jurisdic-
  tional waters of the United States. The Army Corps and
  EPA jointly develop policy and guidance, such as the
  environmental criteria used in evaluating permit applica-
  tions. EPA determines the scope of geographic jurisdiction
  and applicability of exemptions; approves and oversees state
  and tribal assumption; reviews and comments on individual
  permit applications; has authority to prohibit, deny, or
  restrict the use of any defined area as a disposal site; and can
  elevate specific cases under Section 404(q). In addition to
  jointly implementing the Section 404 program, EPA and
  the Army Corps  share Section 404 enforcement authority,
  which is delineated in a 1989 Memorandum of Agreement.
  The Army Corps acts as the lead enforcement agency for all
  violations of Corps-issued permits. The Army Corps also
  acts as the lead enforcement agency for unpermitted dis-
  charge violations that do not meet the criteria for forward-
  ing to EPA. EPA acts as the lead enforcement agency when
  an unpermitted activity involves repeat violator(s), flagrant
  violation(s), where EPA requests a class of cases or a par-
  ticular case, or the Army Corps recommends that an EPA
  administrative penalty action  may be warranted.

  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and NOAA's
  National Marine Fisheries Service evaluate impacts on fish
  and wildlife of all new federal projects and federally permit-
  ted projects, including projects subject to the requirements
  of Section 404 (pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Coordi-
  nation Act), and can elevate specific cases or policy issues
  pursuant to Section 404(q).

Appendix C: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
  States and Tribes: States and tribes also have a role in Sec-
  tion 404 decisions, through state program general permits,
  water quality certification, or program assumption. Under
  Section 401  of the Clean Water Act, a federal agency may
  not issue a permit or license for an activity that may  result
  in a discharge to waters of the United States until the state
  or tribe where the discharge would originate has granted or
  waived Section 401  certification. Pursuant to Section 401,
  a state or tribe may grant, grant with conditions, deny or
  waive 401 certification. States and tribes make their deci-
  sions to deny, certify, or condition permits or licenses based
  in part on the proposed project's  compliance with EPA-
  approved water quality standards. Through 401 certifica-
  tions, states and tribes can limit dredge and fill activities or
  require additional protective requirements.

  State programmatic general permits  (SPGPs) may be issued
  by the Army Corps in coordination with states or tribes to
  allow a state or tribe to review Section 404 permit applica-
  tions and verify activities without additional Army Corps
  review, provided the activities have no more than minimal
  adverse effects individually and cumulatively. SPGPs are
  often limited to specific activities, geographic areas, resource
  types, and/or sizes of impacts and can provide a more
  streamlined permitting process for these activities.

  In addition,  the Clean Water Act gives states and tribes the
  option of assuming administration of the federal Section
  404 permit program in certain waters within state or tribal
  jurisdiction. State/tribal assumed programs must be at least
  as comprehensive as the federal program.

  Furthermore, more than a dozen  states have developed their
  own permit programs, which they operate in coordination
  with the federal program. In some cases, state programs may
  protect a greater number of aquatic resources than fall under
  federal jurisdiction as waters of the United States. States
  may also have their own wetland  mitigation, enforcement,
  and monitoring programs.
Data & Information:

  Public Notice: The Army Corps issues public notices to alert
  the public to new applications for Section 404 permits.
  Contained in this notice is a project description including
  the location, the activity, the estimated impacted acres, and
  details on the conceptual mitigation plan. Subsequent to
  the release of a public notice, the Army Corps initiates a
  comment period, usually lasting about 30 days, where the
  public can submit written comments or request a public
  hearing. Public notices are posted on the website of the issu-
  ing Army Corps District.

  Permits: Permit records can be used to summarize and track
  wetland losses and gains in an area of interest, and to con-
  firm the compliance of a particular dredge and fill project.
  For this reason, final Section 404 permit information is
  stored in  a database operated by the Army Corps ("Opera-
  tion and Maintenance Information Business Link Regula-
  tory Module 2," or ORM2). ORM2 has been in operation
  since 2007- Some states with permit programs operate
  similar databases which can supplement federal  permit

  Mitigation: The "Regulatory In-lieu fee and Bank Infor-
  mation Tracking System" (RIBITS) is an online database
  developed by the Army Corps with support from  EPA and
  USFWS to provide better information on mitigation and
  conservation banking and in-lieu fee programs across the
  country. RIBITS allows users to access information on the
  types and numbers of mitigation and conservation bank
  and in-lieu fee program sites, associated documents, mitiga-
  tion credit availability, service areas, as well as information
  on national and local policies and procedures that affect
  mitigation and conservation bank and in-lieu fee program
  development and operation. For access, see: http://geo.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix D: NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Program
The Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) produces
a nationally standardized database of land cover and land
change information for the coastal regions of the United
States. C-CAP products provide inventories of coastal inter-
tidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands, with the goal of
monitoring  these habitats by updating the land cover maps
every five years.

C-CAP products are developed using multiple dates of Land-
sat  (30-meter resolution) imagery and consist of raster based
land cover maps for each date of analysis, as well as a file that
highlights what changes have occurred between these dates
and where the changes were located. C-CAP land cover is
produced through documented, repeatable procedures using
standard data sources, and includes extensive field sampling,
validation, and standard quality control review procedures. It
provides the "coastal expression" of the National Land Cover
Database, a  contribution to  the Earth Cover layer of the
National Spatial Data Infrastructure.

C-CAP data sets are not jurisdictional or intended for use in
litigation. While efforts have been made to ensure that these
data are accurate and reliable within the limits of current
technology,  NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages
or misrepresentations caused by inaccuracies in the data, or as
a result of the data to be used on a particular system. NOAA
makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of
distribution constitute such a warranty.

The intended use is in identifying regional landscape patterns
and major functional niches (habitat), and for environmental
impact assessment, urban planning, and zoning applica-
tions. C-CAP data will not identify individual species. This
is a national and regional data set that should be used only
as a screening tool for very local or site specific management
decisions. Small features and changes should be verified with a
higher resolution data source.

C-CAP Wetland Classifications
Wetlands are areas dominated by saturated soils and often
standing water. Their vegetation is adapted to withstand
long-term immersion and saturated, oxygen-depleted soils.
Wetlands are divided into two salinity regimes: palustrine for
freshwater wetlands and estuarine for saltwater wetlands; they
are  further divided into forested, shrub/scrub, and emer-
gent wetlands. Unconsolidated  shores are also included as
Palustrine forested wetland: Includes all tidal and non-tidal
wetlands dominated by woody vegetation at least 5 meters
in height, as well as all such wetlands in tidal areas in which
salinity due to ocean-derived salts is below 0.5 percent. Total
vegetation coverage is greater than 20 percent.

Characteristic species: Tupelo (Nyssa), cottonwood (Populus
deltoides), bald cypress (Taxodium distichum), American elm
(Ulmus americana), ash (Fraxinus), and tamarack.

Palustrine scrub/shrub wetland: Includes all tidal and non-
tidal wetlands dominated by woody vegetation less than 5
meters in height, as well as all such wetlands in tidal areas in
which salinity due to ocean-derived salts is below 0.5 per-
cent. Total vegetation coverage is greater than 20 percent.
The species present could be true shrubs, young trees and
shrubs, or trees that are small or stunted due to environmental

Characteristic species: Alders (Alnus spp.), willows  (Salix spp.),
buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentals),  red osier dogwood
(Cornus stolonifera), honeycup (Zenobia pulverenta), spirea
(Spiraea douglassii), bog birch (Betulapumila), and young
trees such as red maple (Acer rubrum) and black spruce (Picea

Palustrine emergent wetland (persistent): Includes all tidal
and non-tidal wetlands dominated by persistent emergent
vascular plants, emergent mosses, or lichens, as well as all such
wetlands in tidal areas in which salinity due to ocean-derived
salts is below 0.5 percent. Plants generally remain standing
until the next growing season. Total vegetation cover is greater
than 80 percent.

Characteristic species: Cattails (Typha spp.),  sedges (Carex spp.),
bulrushes (Scirpus spp.), rushes (Juncus spp.), saw grass (Cla-
     jamaicaense), and reed (Phragmites australis).
Estuarine forested wetland: Includes all tidal wetlands domi-
nated by woody vegetation at least 5 meters in height, and all
such wetlands that occur in tidal areas in which salinity due
to ocean-derived salts is equal to or greater than 0.5 percent.
Total vegetation coverage is greater than 20 percent.

Characteristic species: red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black
mangrove (Avicennia germinans), and white mangrove (Lan-
guncularia racemosa).
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review
                                                             1   Reference: Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, E C. Golet, and E. T. Laroe. 1979.
                                                             Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States. FWS/OBS-
                                                             79/31. U. S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.

Appendix D: NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Program
Estuarine scrub/shrub wetland: Includes all tidal wetlands
dominated by woody vegetation less than 5 meters in height,
and all such wetlands that occur in tidal areas in which salin-
ity due to ocean-derived salts is equal to or greater than 0.5
percent. Total vegetation coverage is greater than 20 percent.

Characteristic species: Sea-myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia) and
marsh elder (Ivafrutescens).

Estuarine emergent wetland: Includes all tidal wetlands
dominated by erect, rooted, herbaceous hydrophytes (exclud-
ing mosses and lichens), and all such wetlands that occur in
tidal areas in which salinity due to ocean-derived salts is at
least 0.5 percent and that are present for most of the growing
season in most years. Perennial plants usually dominate these
wetlands. Total vegetation cover is greater than 80 percent.

Characteristic species: Cordgrass (Spartina spp.),  needlerush
(Juncus roemerianus), narrow-leaved cattail (Typha angus-
tifolia), southern wild rice (Zizaniopsis miliacea), common
pickleweed (Salicornia  virginica), sea blite (Suaeda californica),
and arrow grass (Triglochin martimum).

Unconsolidated shore: Unconsolidated material such as silt,
sand, or gravel that is subject to inundation and redistribu-
tion  due to the action of water. Characterized by substrates
lacking vegetation except for pioneering plants  that become
established during brief periods when growing conditions
are favorable. Erosion and deposition by waves and currents
produce a number of landforms representing this  class.

Characteristic land cover features: Beaches, bars,  and flats.

Barren land: Barren areas of bedrock, desert pavement, scarps,
talus, slides, volcanic material, glacial debris, sand dunes, strip
mines, gravel pits, and  other accumulations of earth material.
Generally, vegetation accounts for less than 10 percent of total

Characteristic land cover features: Quarries, strip mines, gravel
pits,  dunes, beaches above the high-water line, sandy areas
other than beaches, deserts and arid riverbeds, and exposed
Open water: All areas of open water, generally with less than
25 percent cover of vegetation or soil.

Characteristic land cover features: Lakes, rivers, reservoirs,
streams, ponds, and ocean.

Palustrine aquatic bed: Includes tidal and non-tidal wetlands
and deepwater habitats in which salinity due to ocean-derived
salts is below 0.5 percent and which are dominated by plants
that grow and form a continuous cover principally on or at
the surface of the water. These include algal mats, detached
floating mats, and  rooted vascular plant assemblages. Total
vegetation cover is greater than 80 percent.

Characteristic vascular species: Pondweed, horned pondweed
(Zannichellia palustris), ditch grass (Ruppia), wild celery,
waterweed (Elodea), riverweed (Podostemum ceratophyllum),
water lilies (Nymphea, Nuphar),  floating-leaf pondweed (Pota-
mogeton natans), water shield (Brasenia schreberi), and water
smartweed (Polygonum amphibium).

Floating surface species: Duckweeds (Lemna, Spirodela), water
lettuce (Pista stratiotes), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crasspies),
water nut (Trapa natans), water fern (Salvinia spp.), and mos-
quito ferns (Azolla).

Floating below-surface species: Bladderworts (Utricularia),
coontails (Ceratophyllum), and watermeals (Wolffia).

Estuarine aquatic  bed: Includes tidal wetlands and deepwater
habitats in which salinity due to ocean-derived salts is equal
to or greater than 0.5 percent and which are dominated by
plants that grow and form a continuous cover principally on
or at the surface of the water. These include algal mats, kelp
beds,  and rooted vascular plant assemblages. Total vegetation
cover is greater than 80 percent.

Characteristic species: Kelp (Macrocystis and Laminaria), rock-
weeds (FucusandAscophyllum), red  algae (Laurencia),  green
algae  (Halimeda and Penicillus,  Caulerpa, Enteromorpha and
Ulva), stonewort (Chara), turtle grass (Thalassia  testudinum),
shoal  grass (Halodule wrightii), manatee grasses (Cymodo-
ceafiliformis),  widgeon grass (Ruppia maritime),  sea grasses
(Halophila spp.), and wild celery (Vallisneria americana).
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
Clean Water
State Revolving
CWSRF programs fund water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-
point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management via low-interest
loans. SRF fundable projects include wetland protection and restoration, as well as cre-
ation of constructed wetlands for stormwater or wastewater treatment (which can include
adequate capacity to ensure habitat values as well as treatment of effluents). ts_funding/cwf/cwsrf_index.cfm
The Ecological Research Program in EPA's Office of Research and Development is studying
ecosystem services to gain a better understanding of how to enhance, protect, and restore
the services of nature. Scientists are providing the methods, models, and tools needed by
policy decision-makers to make clear how our choices affect the type, quality, and mag-
nitude of the services we receive from ecosystems. The primary objective in the wetland
research focus area is to document the range and quantity of wetland services and deter-
mine how their position on the landscape alters the provision of ecosystem services.
Five Star
The purpose of the program is to support community-based efforts to restore wetlands,
river streams/corridors, and coastal habitat; build diverse partnerships within the commu-
nity; and foster local stewardship of resources through education, outreach, and training
This program works to restore and maintain the water quality and ecological integrity of
estuaries of national significance. EPA provides funding and technical assistance to NEPs
to create and implement a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP)
to address problems facing their estuary and surrounding watershed. NEPs involve com-
munity members and other key federal, state, and local partners/stakeholders to articulate
goals and actions to address the wide range of issues in their CCMP. Key CCMP focus
areas include protecting and restoring habitats such as wetlands. There are 28 NEPs along
the  coasts each guided by a director and staff.
(Section 319
Nonpoint source management grants support states, territories, and Indian tribes with
a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education,
training, technology transfer, demonstration projects, and monitoring to assess the success
of specific nonpoint source implementation projects, some of which include coastal wet-
land restoration projects. A state/territory/tribe's Nonpoint Source Management Program
serves as the basis for how funds are spent.

http://www.epa. gov/owow_keep/NPS/cwact.html
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
The Wetlands Program Development Grants give eligible applicants an opportunity to
conduct projects that promote the coordination and acceleration of research, investigations,
experiments, training, demonstrations, surveys, and studies relating to the causes, effects,
extent, prevention, reduction, and elimination of water pollution. While WPDGs can be
used by recipients to build and refine any element of a comprehensive wetland program,
priority will be given to funding projects that address the three priority areas identified by
EPA: developing a comprehensive monitoring and assessment program; improving the
effectiveness of compensatory mitigation; and refining the protection of vulnerable wetlands
and aquatic resources. States, tribes, local governments, interstate associations, intertribal
consortia, and national nonprofit, non-governmental organizations are eligible to apply. gran ts_funding/wetlands/grantguidelines/index.cfm
Project Funds
All federal highway projects require mitigation for unavoidable wetland impacts. FHWA
mitigation regulations require a net gain of wetland acres for new project impacts as well as
retroactive for past project impacts.
and Planning
STEP is a federally administered research program authorized in the "Safe, Accountable,
Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users"  (SAFETEA-LU). It
improves the understanding of the relationship between surface transportation, environ-
ment and planning. STEP implements a national research agenda reflecting national pri-
orities based on input and feedback from partners and stakeholders. STEP funds identify,
address, and reassess national research priorities for environment, planning and realty, and
develop tools to support these areas. STEP environmental emphasis areas include air qual-
ity and global climate change; and water/wetlands/vegetation/wildlife habitat/brownfields.
Transportation Enhancement (TE) activities offer funding opportunities to help expand
transportation choices and enhance the transportation experience through 12 eligible TE
activities related to surface transportation, including landscaping and scenic beautification
and environmental mitigation.
Coastal Barrier
Act (CBRA)/
Coastal Barrier
CBRA discourages development on 3-1 million acres of coastal barrier and associated
aquatic habitat by prohibiting most federal expenditures (e.g., flood insurance, road con-
struction, new channel dredging). These areas are designated on maps adopted by Congress
as the John H. Chafee Coastal Barrier Resources System. In addition to providing a level of
protection to 3-1 million acres, CBRA is estimated to have saved taxpayers over $1 billion.
Voluntary partnership program to protect, restore, and enhance priority coastal habitat that
benefits federal trust species on public and private lands. It provides technical and financial
assistance through partnerships with federal, state, local governments; tribes; organizations;
academic institutions; and private landowners. The program is delivered through a network
of field staff in 23 priority coastal watersheds around the country. Assistance instruments are
primarily cooperative agreements but grant agreements and wildlife extension agreements
are also used. Decisions regarding partnerships are made at the landscape level. Since 1994,
the Coastal Program has executed over 2,000 agreements to restore 295,000 acres of coastal
habitat and 1,700 stream miles, and protect close to 2 million acres of coastal habitat.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF; Section 6 of the
Endangered Species Act) is the component of the FWS Endangered Species program that
provides grant funding to states and territories for species and habitat conservation actions
on non-federal lands, including habitat acquisition, conservation planning, habitat resto-
ration, status surveys, captive propagation and reintroduction, research, and education.
Many of these grants involve coastal areas and wetland habitat.
Provides financial assistance to states and territories to implement conservation projects for
listed species and at-risk species. Funded activities include habitat restoration, species status
surveys, public education and outreach, captive propagation and reintroduction, nesting
surveys, genetic studies, and development of management plans.
HCP Land
Provides funding to states and territories to acquire land associated with approved Habi-
tat Conservation Plans (HCP). Grants do not fund the mitigation required of an HCP
permittee; instead, they support conservation actions by the state or local governments that
complement mitigation.
The Endangered Species Program conserves imperiled plant and animal species and the
ecosystems upon which they depend, while promoting the voluntary conservation of other
vulnerable wildlife and their habitat. The program strives to ensure a strong scientific
basis for decisions on threatened and endangered species, facilitate large-scale planning to
accommodate land use and wildlife habitat, and promote innovative public/private part-
nerships. Components of the program include technical assistance, outreach and educa-
tion, grant assistance, and regulatory actions. Many activities involve efforts to conserve
coastal areas and wetlands provide important habitat for threatened or endangered species,
species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered.
Recovery Land
Provides funds to states and territories for acquisition of habitat for endangered and threat-
ened species in support of draft and approved recovery plans. Acquisition of habitat to
secure long-term protection is often an essential element of a comprehensive recovery effort
for a listed species.
Migratory Bird
Provides the DOI with financing for the acquisition of migratory bird habitat, including
wetlands. Decisions regarding purchases of land and water areas by FWS are made by the
Migratory Bird Conservation Commission based on recommendations from the Service.
The Small Wetland Program allows the proceeds from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps to
be used to protect waterfowl habitat in perpetuity through fee-title acquisition or easement.
The habitat protected consists of small wetlands, and surrounding grassland habitat in the
Prairie Pothole Region. Since its creation 50 years ago, the program has protected nearly 3
million acres of habitat.

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
Grant Program
Authorized by the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act of 1990.
Co-administered by the Coastal Program and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration
Program. Annually provides grants of up to $1 million to coastal states, including Great
Lakes states, to acquire and restore coastal wetlands. Coastal states are eligible applicants.
Program requires cost share of between 50 and 75 percent of the grant request depending
on whether the state has an open-space conservation program. Ineligible activities include
planning, research, monitoring, and construction or repair of structures for recreational
purposes. A national ranking panel made up of FWS biologists recommends a list of proj-
ects for funding to the Director.
Fish Passage
Voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to fish passage barrier
removal or bypass projects. The goal of the program is to restore native fishes and other
aquatic species to self-sustaining levels by reconnecting habitat that has been fragmented
by barriers. Project applications are reviewed and prioritized on a regional basis. Finan-
cial assistance is delivered through the regional and local Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Offices. The program strives to achieve a 50 percent match overall, including in-kind
contributions. Non-federal funds are typically leveraged at a 3:1  ratio. The program uses
the National Fish Passage Decision Support System, which catalogues fish passage barri-
ers nationally. Fish passage projects are not eligible for funding if they are eligible for any
federal or state compensatory mitigation or if fish passage is a condition provided by exist-
ing federal or state regulatory programs. Since 1999, the program has worked with over
700 different partners to remove 749 barriers, and reopen 11,249 miles of river and 80,556
acres to fish  passage, benefitting over 85 federal trust fish and other aquatic species.
Provides information on the characteristics, extent, and status of U.S. wetlands and deep-
water habitats and other wildlife habitats. NWI produces periodic reports on the status and
trends of wetlands in the conterminous U.S., which is used for policymaking, assessment,
and monitoring. NWI has developed a series of topical maps to show wetlands and deep-
water habitats. This geospatial information is used by Congress; federal, state, and local
agencies; academic institutions; and the private sector to inform natural resource planning,
management, and project development. The NWI website provides a portal to the Wet-
lands Geodatabase and the Wetlands Mapper, which provide technological tools that allow
the integration of large relational databases with spatial information and map-like displays.
The Service's wetland data forms a layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
Refuge System
180 of the 552 refuges in the NWRS manage 121 million acres of marine or coastal
habitat. Approximately one-quarter of the 150 million-acre NWRS consists of wetlands.
The NWRS protects, restores, maintains, and conducts research on these wetlands. The
NWRS sustains wetlands to support healthy populations of federal trust species, including
threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, interjurisdictional fish, some marine
mammals, and many plants. Wetlands in the NWRS provide opportunities for research
and outdoor recreational pursuits for the American public.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
The NRDAR program restores wetland acres that have been harmed by the release of con-
taminants from hazardous waste sites, and oil and chemical spills. Where possible, FWS
partners with other federal agencies, other FWS programs, states, tribes, or non-govern-
mental organizations to enlarge these restoration efforts, which enhances the value of the
restoration to fish and wildlife. In FY 2009, the NRDAR program was responsible for the
restoration and enhancement of over 23,000 wetland acres and for the protection of nearly
41,000 wetland acres. In addition, the program restored or enhanced 186 riparian stream
miles and managed or protected 383 riparian stream miles. The Division of Environmental
Quality provides approximately $1.5 million in toxicology, ecology, and habitat restoration
expertise to EPA and other federal and state partners to minimize impacts to wetlands dur-
ing the cleanup of contaminated areas.
Collaborative, regionally based partnership of U.S. and Canadian agencies, nonprofit orga-
nizations, corporations, tribes, or individuals that conserves habitat for priority bird species
within a specific geographic area. Designed to achieve the regional conservation goals iden-
tified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. 18 habitat joint ventures and
three species specific joint ventures. Activities include biological planning, conservation
design, and prioritization; project development and implementation; monitoring, evalu-
ation, applied research; communications, education, and outreach; funding support for
projects. To date, joint ventures have invested $4.5 billion to conserve 15-7 million acres of
waterfowl habitat.
Supports activities under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, an interna-
tional agreement that provides a strategy for the long-term protection of wetlands and asso-
ciated upland habitats needed by waterfowl and other wetland-associated migratory birds
in North America. Provides competitive grants to non-governmental organizations, states,
local governments, tribes, and individuals to carry out wetland conservation projects in the
United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetland-associated migratory birds
and other wildlife. Projects must provide long-term protection, restoration, and enhance-
ment of wetlands and associated upland habitats. Mexican partnerships may also develop
training, educational, and management programs and conduct sustainable-use studies.
Standard grants: From FY 1990 to June 2010, some 3,850 partners in 1,518 projects have
received more than $1.03 billion in grants. They have contributed another $2.06 billion in
matching funds to affect 25-5 million acres  of habitat and $1.14 billion in  non-matching
funds to affect 230,900 acres of habitat. Small grants: From FY1990 to FY2009, some
1,160 partners in 455 projects have received more than $22.9 million in grants. They have
contributed another $101 million in matching funds to affect 172,600 acres of habitat and
$57-4 million in non-matching funds to affect 7,400 acres of habitat.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
Partners for
Fish and
Voluntary partnership program to restore and enhance priority fish and wildlife habitat on
private lands. Provides technical and financial assistance through partnerships with land-
owners. Delivered through locally based field biologists in each state. Assistance instru-
ments are primarily cooperative agreements. Decisions regarding partnerships are made at
the landscape level. Since 1987 the Program has worked with over 42,000 private landown-
ers and restored 975,000 acres of wetlands, 3,000,000 acres of uplands, and 8,700 miles of
stream habitat. Statutory authority: Partners for Fish and Wildlife Act of 2006.

http: //www. fws. gov/partners
Coastal and
Estuarine Land
CELCP, part of the Coastal Zone Management Program, was established in 2002 to pro-
tect coastal and estuarine lands considered important for their ecological, conservation, rec-
reational, historical or aesthetic values. The NOAA Ocean Service program provides state
and local governments with matching funds to purchase significant coastal and estuarine
lands, or conservation easements on such lands, from willing sellers. Lands or conservation
easements acquired with CELCP funds are protected in perpetuity so that they may be
enjoyed by future generations.
Coastal Zone
The Coastal Zone Management Program supports state planning and programs to protect
coastal resources, including wetlands. The NOAA Ocean Service program is a voluntary
partnership between the federal government and U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states that
takes a comprehensive approach to coastal resource management by balancing the often
competing and occasionally conflicting demands of coastal resources use, economic devel-
opment, and conservation.
Coastal Zone
Section 309)
The Coastal Zone Enhancement Program, a part of the NOAA Ocean Service Coastal
Zone Management Program, is designed to encourage states and territories to develop
program changes in one or more of the nine coastal zone enhancement areas of national
significance, including wetlands. Every five years, state coastal management programs
conduct self-assessments of their programs' activities within the nine enhancement areas to
help target the Section 309 funds toward program needs.
Coastal Zone
Section 6217)
The Coastal Zone Nonpoint Pollution Program, a part of the NOAA Ocean Service Coastal
Zone Management Program, establishes a set of management measures for states to use
in controlling polluted runoff from six main sources, including wetlands and vegetated
shorelines. State policies and actions to develop coastal nonpoint pollution control programs
ensure implementation of the program at the state level.
based Restora-
tion Program
The Community-based Restoration Program, a part of the NOAA Fisheries Habitat Con-
servation Program, invests funding and technical expertise in high-priority habitat restora-
tion projects that instill strong conservation values and engage citizens in hands-on activi-
ties. Through the program, NOAA, its partners, and thousands of volunteers are actively
restoring coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitat across the nation. http://www.habitat.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
The NOAA Ocean Service Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program
collaborates with other agencies, industry, and citizens to protect and restore coastal and
marine resources threatened or injured by oil spills, releases of hazardous substances, and
vessel groundings. The program provides permanent expertise within NOAA to assess and
restore natural resources injured by release of oil and hazardous substances, as well as by
physical impacts such as vessel groundings in National Marine Sanctuaries.
Essential Fish
Habitat (EFH)
provisions of
the Magnuson-
Stevens Act
Marine fish depend on healthy habitats to survive and reproduce. Throughout their lives
fish use many types of habitats including seagrass, salt marsh, coral reefs, kelp forests, and
rocky intertidal areas among others. Various activities on land and in the water constantly
threaten to alter, damage, or destroy these habitats. NOAA Fisheries, regional Fishery Man-
agement Councils, and federal and state agencies work together to address these threats
by identifying EFH for each federally managed fish species and developing conservation
measures to protect and enhance these habitats.
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Program, a part of the NOAA Fisheries Habitat
Conservation Program, plans, implements, and funds coastal habitat restoration projects
throughout the Great Lakes region. The program works to protect and restore coastal
habitats through recovery of damages from natural resource damage claims, which are used
to implement community-based restoration efforts. Much of NOAA's work in the region
is focused on supporting community-identified restoration priorities in Areas of Concern,
environmentally degraded areas within the Great Lakes basin.
The Habitat Conservation Program, composed of the Habitat Protection Division, a Res-
toration Center, and the Chesapeake Bay Office, protects, restores, and promotes steward-
ship of coastal and marine habitat to support our nation's fisheries and preserve our coastal
communities for future generations. The Program carries out various management and
research efforts to develop national and regional policies, programs, and science to conserve
Reserve System
The NERRS is a network of 28 areas representing different biogeographic regions of the
United States that are protected for long-term research, water-quality monitoring, educa-
tion, and coastal stewardship. Established by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972,
as amended, the reserve system is a partnership program between NOAA and the coastal
states. NOAA's Ocean Service provides funding, national guidance, and technical assis-
tance. Each reserve is managed on a daily basis by a lead state agency or university, with
input from local partners. Reserve staff work with local communities and regional groups
to address natural resource management issues, such as non-point source pollution, habitat
restoration and  invasive species. Through integrated research and education, the reserves
help communities develop strategies to deal successfully with these coastal resource issues.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
Pacific Coastal
Recovery Fund
The PCSRF was established by Congress in FY 2000 to protect, restore, and conserve
Pacific salmon and steelhead populations and their habitats. Under the PCSRF, NOAA
Fisheries manages a program to provide funding to states and tribes of the Pacific Coast
Clean Water
Act 404
Army Corps manages the nation's wetlands through a regulatory program requiring per-
mits for the discharge of dredged and fill material into jurisdictional water of the United
States. This important regulatory program helps maintain the wetland base so other federal
programs can achieve gains. EPA shares regulatory responsibility with Army Corps under
this program.
Standing Authorities to study/build water resource projects for specific purposes and with
specified federal spending limits and cost share requirement. CAP project funding varies by
program and purpose. There are 10 commonly referenced nationwide programs. Three of
these specifically involve ecosystem improvement: the 206 Program is for aquatic ecosys-
tem restoration, the 1135 Program is for project modifications for improvement of the
environment, and the 204 Program is for beneficial uses of dredged material. There are also
several geographically restricted Regional Programs that relate to environmental infrastruc-
ture projects.
Research and
The Wetlands Research and Technology Center (WRTC) consolidates administrative,
technological, and research skills in the area of wetland science and engineering that are
available at the ERDC. The ERDC has long been recognized as a center for wetland exper-
tise, conducting extensive environmental research in wetland systems. The WRTC provides
a single point of contact for wetland research and development, guidance, support, and
technology transfer. The WRTC provides access to an array of technical specialists and
interdisciplinary teams in research areas that emphasize the interrelationships of biologi-
cal, physical, and chemical  environments in order to provide fundamental understanding
of ecological processes and  dynamics in wetland ecosystems. The WRTC serves the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, other Department of Defense agencies, other government agen-
cies, academia, industry and the general public.

http://el.erdc.usace. html#wrtc
Studies for project authorization that are undertaken in response to either a study-specific
authority or a general authority; these are typically larger, complex projects. The reconnais-
sance phase is 100 percent federally funded, the feasibility phase is cost-shared 50/50, the
preconstruction engineering and design phase is cost-shared 75/25, and the construction/
implementation for Ecosystem Restoration Projects  is cost-shared 65/35- The maximum
cost limit per project is set for each phase. Major projects include the Florida Everglades
Restoration, the Upper Mississippi River Restoration, the Louisiana Coastal Area project,
the Missouri River Recovery, and the Lower Columbia River and Tillamook Bay Ecosys-
tem Restoration.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
CRP provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address
soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally
beneficial and cost-effective manner. The program is funded through the Commodity
Credit Corporation. CRP is administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), with NRCS
providing technical land eligibility determinations, conservation planning and practice
implementation. CRP reduces soil erosion, protects the nation's ability to produce food
and fiber, reduces sedimentation in streams and lakes, improves water quality, establishes
wildlife habitat, and enhances forest and wetland resources. It encourages farmers to
convert highly erodible cropland or other environmentally sensitive acreage to vegetative
cover, such as tame or native grasses, wildlife plantings, trees, filterstrips, or riparian buf-
fers. Farmers receive an annual rental payment for the term of the multi-year contract.  Cost
sharing is provided to establish the vegetative cover practices.

Through conservation technical assistance, NRCS and its partners help land users address
opportunities, concerns, and problems related to the use of natural resources and make
sound natural resource management decisions on private, tribal, and other non-federal
lands. This assistance may be in the form of resource assessment, practice design, resource
monitoring, or follow-up of installed practices. Although the CTA program does not
include financial or cost-share assistance, clients may develop conservation plans, which
may serve as a springboard for those interested in participating in USDA financial assis-
tance programs. CTA planning can also serve as a door to financial assistance and easement
conservation programs provided by other federal, state, and local programs.

The purpose of the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program is to undertake
emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements for runoff retardation
and soil erosion prevention to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the
products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood, or any other natural occurrence
is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.

EQIP provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers, ranchers, and owners of
private, non-industrial forest land that promotes agricultural production, forest manage-
ment, and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and
technical assistance to help eligible producers install or implement conservation practices
on eligible agricultural land. EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one
year after the implementation of the last scheduled  practice(s) and a maximum term of 10
years. Owners of land in agricultural production or persons who are engaged in livestock
or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. Pro-
gram practices and activities are carried out according to a plan of operations, developed
in conjunction with the producer, that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or
measures needed to address identified  natural resource concerns. The practices are subject
to NRCS technical standards adapted  for local conditions. EQIP may provide payments up
to 75 percent of the estimated incurred costs and income foregone of certain conservation
practices and conservation activity plans.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
Farm and
FRPP provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive
farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. Working through existing programs, USDA part-
ners with state, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire
conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners. USDA provides up
to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement. To qualify,
farmland must be part of a pending offer from a state, tribe, or local farmland protection
program; be privately owned; have a conservation plan for highly erodible land; be large
enough to sustain agricultural production; be accessible to markets for what the land pro-
duces; have adequate infrastructure and agricultural support services; and have surrounding
parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production. Depending on funding
availability, proposals must be submitted by the eligible entities to the appropriate NRCS
State Office during the application window.

GRP is a voluntary conservation program that emphasizes support for working grazing
operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland
under threat of conversion to other uses. Participants voluntarily limit future develop-
ment and cropping uses of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing
practices and operations related to the production of forage  and seeding, subject to certain
restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline or are pro-
tected under federal or state law. A grazing management plan is required for participants.

The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Compliance
provisions (Swampbuster) were introduced in the 1985 Farm Bill, with amendments in
1990, 1996, and 2002. The purpose of the provisions is to remove certain incentives to
produce agricultural commodities on converted wetlands or highly erodible land, unless
the highly erodible land is protected from excessive soil erosion. It withholds federal farm
program benefits from any person who converts a wetland by clearing, drainage, dredging,
leveling, or any other means for the purpose of making agricultural commodity production
possible, or who plants a commodity on a converted wetland.

WREP is a voluntary conservation program which is a component of WRP Under WREP,
NRCS enters into agreements with eligible partners (states and local units of govern-
ment, Indian tribes, and non-governmental organizations) to help enhance conservation
outcomes on wetlands and adjacent lands. WREP targets and leverages resources to carry
out high-priority wetland protection, restoration, and enhancement activities and improve
wildlife habitat. Once NRCS selects a partner's proposal, landowners within the selected
project area may submit an application directly to NRCS for participation in WRP.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
This voluntary program restores and protects wetlands on private lands to cost-effectively
maximize wildlife benefits and wetland functions and values that have been degraded or
impacted as a result of the production of food and fiber. Since 1992, WRP has restored
approximately 2.2 million acres on 11,758 properties. WRP enrollment options include
permanent easement, 30-year easement,  restoration agreement, 30-year contract on tribal
lands, and reserve grazing rights pilot. The perpetual easement option pays landowners 100
percent of the WRP easement value and  100 percent of the costs to restore the wetlands
and associated habitats on the land. The  30-year easement and 30-year contracts options
provide 75 percent of the easement values and restoration costs. The restoration agreement
only option provides 75 percent of the restoration costs and requires the restored habitat to
be maintained for a period of 10 years.

WHIP is a voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop
and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and
Indian land. NRCS  administers WHIP to provide both technical assistance and up to 75
percent cost-share assistance to establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat. WHIP
cost-share agreements between NRCS and the participant generally last from one year after
the last conservation practice is implemented but not more than 10 years from the date the
agreement is signed.
The National Wetlands Research Center is a source and clearinghouse of science informa-
tion about wetlands in the United States and the world for fellow agencies, private entities,
academia, and the public at large. Staff members obtain and provide this information by
performing original scientific research and developing research results  into literature and
technological tools. They then disseminate that information through a variety of means.
The Center solves wetland-related problems and conducts status and trends inventories of
wetland habitats, evaluates wetland problems, and conducts field and laboratory research
on wetland issues. Center research includes a broad array of projects on wetland ecology,
values, management, restoration and creation, plus research on the ecology of a wide vari-
ety of plant and animal species and communities that are found  in wetlands.

http: //www. nwrc. usgs. gov/
USGS also conducts scientific studies on other areas related to wetland health, includ-
ing carbon sequestration, long shore transport processes, water level fluctuations, climate
change,  and sea level rise.
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review

Appendix E: Federal Agency Programs That Support Coastal Wetland Protection,
Restoration, and Management
r Wo/




Protection and
Act (CWP

Act (ERA)

CWPPRA is funded by the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, which was established in 1990
and is authorized until 2019- The fund is created from excise taxes on fishing equipment
and on motorboat and small engine fuels. The Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation
and Restoration Task Force receives 70 percent of the funds; the North American Wet-
lands Conservation Act Program and the National Wetlands Conservation Grant Program
receive 15 percent each. Funding distributed to the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conser-
vation and Restoration Task Force is used to design and construct projects to preserve,
re-establish, and enhance Louisiana's coastal landscape.
The purpose of ERA is to promote the restoration of estuary habitat; to provide federal
assistance for estuary habitat restoration projects; to develop a national Estuary Habitat
Restoration Strategy for creating and maintaining effective partnerships within the federal
government and with the private sector; and to develop and enhance monitoring, data
sharing, and research capabilities. Under ERA, NOAA developed and maintains a res-
toration project database, the National Estuaries Restoration Inventory, and established
standards for restoration monitoring.
http : //www. era. noaa. gov/
Coastal Wetlands Initiative: Mid-Atlantic Review