Wetland Program Plan (WPP)

Background Information

The Department of Ecology received a 2013 Wetland Program Development Grant (WPDG) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a statewide plan for wetland resources of the state. This plan reflected on what has been accomplished in past statewide planning efforts (State Wetland Integration Strategy (1994), Mitigation that Works Forum report (2008), Puget Sound Action Agenda (2008 and 2012-2013)), and identifies continuing and new strategies to help restore and protect wetland resources.

This effort is part of the EPA’s “Enhancing State and Tribal Programs” Effort. This initiative has 5 main parts:

  1. Clearly define the core elements of a State/Tribal wetlands program
  2. Increase the dialogue between States/Tribes and EPA Regional offices
  3. Provide targeted technical assistance to States and Tribes
  4. Align the WPDGs with a framework that incorporates more clearly defined core elements
  5. Track programmatic progress.

The wetland program plan is a strategic tool to articulate what the state strives to accomplish in the near to midterm. The plan is organized using EPA’s Core Element Framework. The framework outlines four areas of focus:

  • Monitoring and assessment
  • Regulation
  • Voluntary restoration and protection
  • Water quality standards for wetlands.

Washington’s plan does not address water quality standards for wetlands at this time. But it does address outreach and education and sustainable financing as approaches to overall wetland resource management and protection.

Goals

The overall goal for wetland resource management in the state is “...to achieve no overall net loss in acreage and function of Washington's remaining wetlands base. It is further the long-term goal to increase the quantity and quality of Washington's wetlands resource base” (Executive Order 89-10). This goal is designed to avoid loss of overall wetland habitat, function and condition, and to improve these features over time through restoration and mitigation efforts.

Each core element in the WPP has a goal, objectives; and actions and activities to achieve those objectives and goal.  The state's goals for each core element are:

  • Regulation: To increase protection at the landscape and site scale by avoiding, minimizing, and where there are unavoidable adverse impacts, ensuring compensation for wetland loss.
  • Voluntary Restoration and Protection: Using a watershed perspective, increase the quantity, condition, and function of wetlands and their ecosystems through voluntary restoration and protection.
  • Monitoring and Assessment:
    • Goal 1 - To establish the extent and types of wetlands, their level of function or condition, to detect changes and stressors, and to characterize trends over time to inform better decision making.
    • Goal 2 - To evaluate the effectiveness of each of the six core elements and the effectiveness of the Wetland Program Plan as a whole.
  • Outreach and Education: Directly engage with identified key stakeholders to foster Washington State citizens who understand the role that wetlands play in the landscape, and as a result, value and protect wetlands.
  • Sustainable Financing: To provide stable and consistent funding for implementation of the wetland plan.

Project Outcomes

  • A more strategic approach to managing, protecting, and restoring wetland resources in Washington State.
  • Increased coordination amongst state resource agencies on wetland protection.
  • A 6-year planning and visioning document outlining goals; and actions and activities to achieve those goals.

Plan Development Timeline

  • March 2013 to February 2014: Convened state interagency committee and developed draft plan.
  • March to June 2014: Sent draft plan for input to Washington tribal nations and tribal nations outside the state who have usual and accustomed areas in the state.
  • July to October 2014: Sent draft plan for review to state and federal agencies, local governments, and conservations districts. Revised plan based on feedback and submitted the draft plan to EPA for preliminary approval.
  • December 2014: Released draft plan for public review and comment.
  • January to March 2015 : Revised plan based on feedback and submitted the plan to EPA for final approval. 
  • March 2015: Received final approval of the plan by the EPA.

Contact

Lauren Driscoll
(360) 407-7045
lauren.driscoll@ecy.wa.gov

 

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