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Section 2.  Establishing a Wetland and Watershed Management Program


Wetland and watershed management is an approach that integrates wetland ecosystem management with traditional water and watershed management goals and techniques. It manages water resources, taking into account the functions and values of wetlands, and it manages wetlands in broader water regime and ecosystem contexts. It can be called watershed management, river basin planning, greenway planning, water planning, advanced identification of wetlands, wetland planning, multi-objective floodplain management, or by another name.

An individual, organization, agency, academic institution, or other party can initiate the establishment of a wetland and watershed planning and management effort. Leaders of the effort require the ability to draw other individuals, groups and organizations together to form and implement a common vision for wetlands and water resources. The essential steps of establishing a wetland and watershed plan vary somewhat and are listed in the Common Questions brochure enclosed.

Local governments often begin a wetland and watershed management planning effort in response to current water resource related issues and problems, land use planning goals, etc. Many local governments have found it useful to begin efforts by inventorying flood impacts, reduced water quality, loss of habitat, and other water problems. Such a survey may provide the basis and incentive for more detailed mapping of wetlands and more detailed watershed assessment and planning to remedy problems and meet future needs. Section 7 provides additional information about technical resources and funding available.

The publications included here discuss in some detail the characteristics of watersheds, the importance of wetlands to watersheds, and how to develop and implement a watershed management effort.




  • Primer:  New York Watersheds NYS DEC, May 1995.  For additional copies call 518-485-8743 
  • Wetlands: A Key Link in Watershed Management (A Guide for Watershed Partnerships). Conservation Technology Information Center. For additional copies call 765-494-9555 
  • Common Questions: Establishing Local Government Wetlands and Watershed Management Programs.  Association of State Wetland Managers, 2001.  For additional copies call 518-872-1804
  • Cooperative Watershed Protection: What Makes It Work? Cornell Cooperative Extension Local Government Program, 1996. For additional copies call 607-255-2080 or visit
  • Watershed Conflict Resolution: Some Guiding Principles. Cornell Cooperative Extension Local Government Program, 1996. For copies call 607-255-2080 or visit
  • Building Watershed Partnerships: Case Studies in Watershed Alliances. NYSDEC Water Week publication, 1997. For additional copies call 518-485-8743

Relevant Websites:

Conservation Technology Information Center “Know Your Watershed”
EPA Office of Water – Watershed Protection
EPA Office of Water – Watershed Academy
NYSDEC – Division of Water
EPA – Why Watersheds?
EPA – Surf Your Watershed
EPA – Watershed Information Network
Center for Watershed Protection
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
NYSDEC Division of Water
Top Ten Watershed Lessons Learned
Federal Clean Water Action Plan
NYSDEC “Take Credit” Watershed Recognition program