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.