The Association of State Wetland Managers is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1983 to promote and enhance protection and management of wetland resources, to promote application of sound science to wetland management efforts and to provide training and education for our members and the public. Membership is open to anyone who is involved with wetland resources.

2017 Hot Topics Webinars

Wetland Link International Americas Webinar:
Evaluation of environmental awareness-raising activities at wetland sites

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 – 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. EDT


We spend a lot of time in our professional and voluntary capacities working with local communities, wetland practitioners and private sector partners to increase awareness through environmental education and other activities. But do we know how effective these activities are in leading to positive environmental changes in both individual behavior and conservation action at the site? Just as importantly, can we demonstrate this to participants, funders and project partners so they can see how our activities are influencing behavior and resulting in improvements in wetland protection or other environmental outcomes. Evaluation often is forgotten at the end of a project, but it is an essential part of improving our future work, for better outcomes for our own organizations and networks.

This webinar used practical, easy to use examples of how to evaluate, based on tried and tested techniques from partners across the Americas. The webinar was available in both English and Spanish, and will include time for discussion after the presentations.


Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


Introductory Remarks

Presenter: Chris Rostron, Wetland Link International, UK. Chris manages the WLI global project, a support network for those delivering education, engagement and awareness-raising activities at wetland education centers. [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

Ethel Wilkerson, Manomet. (USA)
Building practical evaluation techniques into your project. [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]
Ethel works with program managers to establish developmental evaluation across the varied programs of Manomet including wetland conservation, climate smart forest management, and grocery stewardship. With metrics that measure incremental progress towards outcomes, development evaluation allows for real-time feedback and program adjustment during implementation.

Susan Bonfield, Environment for the Americas. (USA)
Evaluating the needs or minority ethnic communities to encourage access to protected natural areas. [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]
In the US, minority ethnic groups are often under-represented in the visitors to protected natural areas. Susan has worked on looking at interviews with these groups to establish perceptions towards wild areas and what the barriers to visitation might be.

Sebastián Saiter / Ricardo Matus, Patagonian Ecological Association. (Punta Arenas, CHILE)
"Tres Puentes wetland, valuation of a natural classroom for conservation".  [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]
The Association is composed of people from different professions, students and children, who share the purpose of preserving and understanding species that inhabit the urban natural reserves of Patagonia. This interdisciplinary and trans-generations team has been evaluated on their working lines looking the community involvement to wetland conservation. Born in 2007, it has focused its work with neighbours and local schools. It is part of the Patagonia Natural Reserves Network.

Interactive Discussion
The last segment of the webinar will host an interactive discussion where you are invited to share your experiences in evaluation of projects.

Based on Demand - Option for Real Time Spanish-English Translation
Based on the amount of demand, we have the option to hold the webinar with consecutive translation between Spanish and English. This translation service must be arranged well in advance of the presentation date, so if you are interested in participating while listening to Spanish translation, please contact .


Sebastián Saiter is a Punta Arenas-born naturalist and birder. Since childhood he showed a passion for discovering Nature and exploring the landscapes of Chilean Patagonia. He studied Adventure Tourism, and is an active member of NGO Agrupacion Ecologica Patagonica, involved in projects to protect wetlands, urban parks and reserves: he works on environmental education projects with children, in both private and public schools in the area.

Ricardo Matus is a naturalist who participates in research and conservation projects in the extreme south of Patagonia. During last ten years he has been working in the reproductive biology and conservation actions of the Ruddy-headed goose and also developing a study in the Magellanic plover in his breeding area. 

Partnering with Beaver to Benefit Sage Grouse and Working Lands: Restoring Emerald Islands in the Sagebrush Sea

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern


Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


  • Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center,
    Portland, OR
  • Dr. Joe Wheaton, Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT


In the arid sagebrush ecosystem of the American West, wetlands and other mesic habitats—such as riparian areas and wet meadows—comprise less than 2% of the landscape yet they are disproportionately important to people and wildlife. As summer heat dries out soils in sagebrush uplands, species like sage grouse—along with livestock and many other wildlife species—follow the green line seeking out wetter, more productive areas. These mesic habitats serve as grocery stores providing nutritious forage, including the protein-rich forb and insect foods that help newly hatched sage grouse chicks grow and thrive. With roughly three quarters of mesic areas in private ownership, western ranchers play an integral role in conserving these vital resources. Recently, the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative launched a campaign across 11 western states to accelerate protection, restoration, and enhancement of mesic habitats. Restoration opportunities abound but techniques that are relatively simple, low cost, and effective are needed to engage more landowners and partners in conservation at ecologically meaningful scales. Increasingly, ranchers and agencies in the west are learning to partner with beaver as a ‘cheap and cheerful’ alternative for achieving a myriad of desired outcomes. This webinar will discuss recent partner efforts to scale up riparian and wet meadow restoration with private landowners in sage grouse habitats, and in particular, how Beaver Dam Analogues (BDAs) and other beaver-assisted techniques are being employed as a low-cost restoration tool to boost habitat resilience for wildlife and working lands. 


Jeremy Maestas is the national NRCS Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist responsible for helping NRCS staff and partners put science into practice through strategic habitat conservation delivery in sagebrush ecosystems across the western U.S. He grew up in Nevada and went on to earn B.S. and M.S. degrees in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. Much of his career has focused on sustaining working landscapes in desert ecosystems, where his contributions have included implementation of large-scale strategic approaches to reducing conifer encroachment, wildfire and invasive species threats, and scaling-up mesic habitat conservation.

Joe Wheaton is an Associate Professor at Utah State University and a fluvial geomorphologist with over a decade of experience in river restoration, including working with beaver in restoration. Joe runs the Ecogeomorphology & Topographic Analysis Lab at Utah State U. and is a leader in the monitoring and modeling of riverine habitats and watersheds. He is the co-director of the Intermountain Center for River Rehabilitation & Restoration. He worked four years in consulting engineering before completing his B.S. in Hydrology (2003, UC Davis), M.S. and Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences (2003, UC Davis; 2008, U. of Southampton, UK). He has worked as a lecturer (U. of Wales 2006-08), Research Assistant Professor (Idaho State U. 2008-09) and is an Assistant Professor at Utah State U. (2009-present) where he teaches GIS, Fluvial Hydraulics and Ecohydraulics.   


Part 1: Introduction: Brenda Zollitsch, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers
Presenter: Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR


Part 2: Presenters: Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR and Dr. Joe Wheaton, Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT


Part 3: Presenters: Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR and Dr. Joe Wheaton, Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT


Part 4: Presenters: Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR and Dr. Joe Wheaton, Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT


Part 5: Presenters: Jeremy Maestas, Sagebrush Ecosystem Specialist, USDA-NRCS West National Technology Support Center, Portland, OR and Dr. Joe Wheaton, Professor, Watershed Sciences Department, Utah State University, Logan, UT; Questions/Answers


Part 6: Questions/Answers

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What's Next for Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern


Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]


  • Jan Goldman-Carter, National Wildlife Federation
  • Virginia Albrecht, Hunton and Williams, LLP
  • Royal C. Gardner, Stetson University, College of Law [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Army (Army) are carrying out a two-step process to revise Clean Water Act Jurisdiction. The first step is to repeal the Clean Water Rule regulation finalized by EPA and the Army in the spring of 2015 and replace it with the 1986 rule previously in place in conjunction with the Rapanos guidance. Essentially this step formally adopts the current status quo which remains in place because the Clean Water Rule is stayed by the Sixth Circuit Court pending action by the court. The next step following the repeal and replace rulemaking will be a new rule based in part on the Scalia Opinion in the Rapanos decision.

As states, tribes, and others review the proposed rule and think about the rulemaking that is planned to follow it, there are many issues to consider. ASWM has invited legal experts representing diverse perspectives to share their insights to help webinar participants to understand the current process, issues of importance, and potential outcomes as these rulemaking efforts are carried out and later challenged in the courts.


Virginia S. Albrecht is Special Counsel for Hunton and Williams.  Her practice focuses exclusively on environmental law and administrative law --- in particular, the Clean Water Act (CWA) wetlands program, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal regulatory programs that affect the use of land. She has experience in permit negotiation, litigation of policy issues, lobbying Congress and the Administration, enforcement defense, and compliance counseling. Representative clients include development companies, agricultural and mining companies, state and local agencies, and trade associations. She has extensive experience with federal environmental agencies both in Washington and in district and regional offices. Virginia is a member of the assumable waters subcommittee which EPA established in 2015 to obtain advice on the scope of waters that can be assumed and Administered by states under section 404 of the clean water act.  She is also an adjunct professor for the University of Miami School of Law Program in Real Property Development.  She received her JD from Vanderbilt University Law School, was Articles Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review in1981, and received her MA in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and her BS from the University of Wisconsin in 1964.  She has bar admissions in the District of Columbia.

Jan Goldman-Carter is Director, Wetlands and Water Resources for the National Wildlife Federation. She manages the NWF campaign to restore Clean Water Act protections and works to strengthen wetland and watershed protections regionally and nationally. Jan has lectured and written extensively on Clean Water Act and wetlands laws and programs since 1987. She received the EPA-ELI National Wetlands Award in 1993. Jan served as a wetlands specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She grew up on the edge of the "River of Grass" - the Everglades - and enjoys canoeing, kayaking, birding and otherwise being in and on the water. She received her B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Williams College, Massachusetts, her M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, and her law degree from the University of Minnesota.

Royal C. Gardner is Professor of Law and Director of the Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. He is an internationally recognized expert in wetland law and policy. Recent projects include advising the Government of Oman regarding wetland policy, coauthoring a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of environmental scientists, and creating an interdisciplinary course that facilitates discourse among experienced scientists, policymakers, and students.

His research and scholarship focus on U.S. and international wetland legal and policy issues, with an emphasis on biodiversity offsets. He has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.

Professor Gardner is the current chair of the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) for the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental wetland treaty with 168 countries. He also served on the Ramsar STRP as North American representative (2006–2008) and invited expert (2009–2012). He was chair of the U.S. National Ramsar Committee (2005–2008) and participated in the Ramsar Convention Conferences of the Parties held in Spain (2002), Uganda (2005), Korea (2008), and Romania (2012). In 2006, he won the National Wetlands Award for Education and Outreach. In 1999–2001, Professor Gardner was appointed to the National Research Council’s Committee on Mitigating Wetland Losses.

An executive editor of the Boston College Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif, he graduated magna cum laude from Boston College Law School. He then clerked for Chief Judge Francis J. Boyle of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. From 1989 to 1993, he served in the Army General Counsel’s office as the Department of the Army’s principal wetland attorney, advising the assistant secretary of the Army (civil works) on legal and policy issues related to the Corps of Engineers’ administration of the Clean Water Act section 404 program. From 1993 until he joined the Stetson faculty in 1994, Professor Gardner worked for the Department of Defense, where he participated in negotiating international agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus to facilitate the dismantlement of the former Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons.

Since joining the Stetson faculty, Professor Gardner has twice received Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship and has been voted the Outstanding Professor by the Stetson student body. He has taught at Stetson’s summer programs in Spain, Germany, Argentina, and Estonia, and has been a visiting professor at the Universidad de Málaga (Spain) and Concordia International University-Estonia, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award. At Stetson, Professor Gardner has served as director of graduate and international programs, associate dean, vice dean, and interim dean. 


Part 1: Introduction: Jeanne Christie, Executive Director, Association of State Wetland Managers
Presenter: Royal C. Gardner, Stetson University, College of Law


Part 2: Presenter: Royal C. Gardner, Stetson University, College of Law

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The presentations  for Jan Goldman-Carter and Virginia Albrecht are not available for viewing.


How to Connect with the Public to Protect Wetlands: Findings from ASWM’s Wetland Communications Case Study Project

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern


Marla Stelk, Policy Analyst, Association of State Wetland Managers [POWERPOINT PRESENTATION]



This webinar will share the findings from ASWM’s new report on Wetland Communications Case Studies.  ASWM’s Communications Project was designed to inform communications planning and future research on wetland messaging and opportunities to initiate behavior change through targeted communication strategies and products. The report is designed first to provide information that will inform future federal, state and tribal wetland communication efforts.  Secondly, the report identifies and documents a range of existing successful communication practices by states, tribes and nonprofits working on wetland issues.  This webinar will present a summary of the case studies and focus on useful findings that help guide those considering or working on developing communications projects related to wetlands. Participants will come away with knowledge about several new resources and lots of great advice from case study organizations.


Brenda Zollitsch is a Policy Analyst at the Association of State Wetland Managers.  Brenda conducts research and policy analysis on wetland and stream issues; manages projects; develops communications guidance; and writes articles and blogs for ASWM. Brenda currently leads a project focused on improving linear oil and gas pipeline energy permitting to protect wetlands.  Brenda recently completed a national status and trends/state summaries project for ASWM analyzing 50 state wetland programs across the United States, a project focused on increasing access to high quality wetland training and a national stream identification, delineation and mitigation study.  Brenda has 25 years of organizational leadership experience and a strong background in academic and action research, facilitation, training and communications.  Brenda received her PhD in Public Policy from the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service in 2012, focusing on environmental policy and collaborative environmental management.  She has her Master’s degree from Boston University.

Marla Stelk is a Policy Analyst at the Association of State Wetland Managers. For the past four years, she has focused her research on how to improve wetland restoration success. Currently, she leads the Association’s new project on healthy wetlands and healthy watersheds. Marla coordinates the Wetland Mapping Consortium and the Natural Floodplain Functions Alliance. She is the Association’s Communications Team leader, Editor of Wetland Breaking News and author of the blog, For Peat’s Sake. Marla’s areas of expertise include environmental science and policy, stakeholder engagement, facilitation and communications. At ASWM she has continued her work on climate change issues and represents ASWM on the national Advisory Committee on the Water Information Water Resources Adaptation to Climate Change Workgroup. Marla earned her MA in Community Planning and Development with a focus on Land Use and the Environment in 2013, and her BA in Environmental Issues from Colorado College in 1992.

Ted LaGrange is an Iowa native, Ted moved to Nebraska in 1993 to work as the Wetland Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. As Wetland Program Manager he works on a wide variety of wetland issues throughout the state including private land restoration programs, public lands management, resource advocacy and outreach. Prior to moving to Nebraska, he worked for 8 years as a Waterfowl Research Technician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Clear Lake. Stationed in northern Iowa, he worked with the prairie pothole restoration program, especially evaluation of plant and waterfowl response to wetland restoration. Ted received B.S. and M.S. degrees in wildlife biology from Iowa State University. During his college years he spent summers working on refuges in Oregon and New York for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, working on a muskrat ecology study on the Upper Mississippi River, and working on the Marsh Ecology Research Project for Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Station in Manitoba. His professional interests are in prairie wetlands and waterfowl/waterbird ecology.