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Water Quality Standards for Wetlands

Water quality is an important factor in managing wetlands. Water quality in wetlands is affected by the type of soil, vegetation, position on the landscape, topography, water quantity (amount of flow), climate, groundwater and surface water chemistry, and hydrology. States are increasingly interested in developing water quality standards for wetlands (which may differ in criteria from water quality standards for streams or lakes).

A water quality standard is a legally established state regulation consisting of three main parts: (1) designated uses, (2) criteria and (3) anti-degradation policy, and often a fourth part, general policies addressing implementation.To date, 15 states have adopted wetland-specific water quality standards. ASWM has provided resources for states and tribes that are developing criteria for adoption of water quality standards, as well as other information related to wetlands and water quality, on this page.

In 2011 and 2012 ASWM conducted a project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wetlands Division to support the development of water quality standards for wetlands by states and tribes.  The principle product of the project is the report: "Wetland Water Quality Standards for States" which provides information on the formulation and adoption of water quality standards for wetlands and provides examples of draft narrative standards  To access the report click here.


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1 Wetland Water Quality Standards for States 1006
2 How Wetlands Differ From Traditional Waters; What this Means to Wetland Water Quality Standards 3403
3 Implications and Management Options for Wetlands that Fail to Meet "Designated Use" Criteria 3467
4 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) and Wetlands 2025
5 A Discussion Paper on Developing State Water Quality Standards for Wetlands 3812
6 Wetland Water Quality Standards Webinars 813
7 States With Wetlands and Water Quality Standards 770
8 EPA National Guidance on Water Quality Standards for Wetlands 583
9 Technical Aspects of Wetlands Wetland Hydrology, Water Quality, and Associated Functions 1635
10 Water Quality and Wetlands 1390
11 Prescribed Fire’s Impact on Water Quality of Depressional Wetlands in Southwestern Georgia 1582
12 Wetlands and Water Quality 1376
13 Additional Resources 1078