Protect Wetlands Locally
Local governments play a key role in filling the gaps in wetland protection, because they have primary responsibility for local land use management. Local action is particularly critical in states that do not have comprehensive wetland protection programs. Protect Wetlands Using Regulatory or Voluntary Measures provides a review of regulatory and non-regulatory options for local governments. Ideally, a combination of approaches will be used.
Managing wetlands at the watershed scale can help minimize indirect impacts to wetlands. Direct impacts to wetlands include the removal or addition of material such as dredging, filling, or draining that are largely regulated through the federal and state wetland permitting process. Indirect impacts such as altered hydrology, increased pollutant loadings, and buffer encroachment caused by urbanization are summarized in Wetlands & Watersheds Article 1. Using a watershed approach allows communities to make better choices about preserving the highest quality wetlands, protecting the most vulnerable wetlands, and finding the best sites for wetland restoration. Wetlands & Watersheds Article 2 provides detailed information on using local watershed plans to protect wetlands.