By Jon Kusler, Esq., Ph.D. and Jeanne Christie – Association of State Wetland Managers – August 2012

The report on Wetland Water Quality Standards for States was prepared by the Association of State Wetland Managers as part of a broader project to help states adopt water quality standards for wetland ecosystems.  It addresses the formulation and adoption of such standards. It provides the states with some examples of draft narrative standards in Appendices A and B.

This report was developed from the following materials:

  • A literature search; web search; and legal statutory and regulatory search of the terms “state water quality standards”; “state wetland water quality standards; “state water quality; tribal water quality; “tribal wetland water quality standards” and variety of other relevant terms;
  • An examination of existing state and tribal water quality standards for wetlands. We have examined the standards adopted by all of the states and tribes which have approved water quality standards;
  • A series of conference calls and Webinars with the states conducted by ASWM in cooperation with many states in 2011 and 2012.  Three one day wetland water quality meetings were conducted in the spring of 2012.  A session was also included in the joint EPA/ASWM annual coordination meeting in the spring of 2012.
  • Discussions with state staff concerning the content, strengths, and weaknesses of existing wetland water quality standards.


In developing the materials in Appendices A and B, ASWM staff first prepared an outline of draft standards based upon the sources listed above. States and other interested parties were then asked to review the outline. Draft language for the standards were prepared based upon the outline. Much of this language has been taken from existing state and tribal statutes and regulations.

The overall  report was drafted and states and other interested parties were asked to review and comment on the report.  These comments were incorporated into the final report.

Water quality standards for wetlands is an area of public policy that will continue to evolve as additional states and tribes adopt wetland-specific water quality standards.  This report may be expanded and revised as more examples, best practices and references become available.  Therefore, the Association of State Wetland Managers retains the discretion to revise and add to this document in the future.  States and tribes and other interested parties that would like to provide information and recommendations for improving this document may contact Jon Kusler () or Jeanne Christie ().

To access the report click here.