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Impact Story: Association of State Wetland Managers


The Association of State Wetland Managers (AWSM) is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting, conserving, and managing the nation's wetlands. Within McKnight’s support to restore and protect floodplains and wetlands in the 10-state Mississippi River corridor, ASWM received project support to foster development of state and federal policies that protect and restore wetlands and floodplains.

ASWM’s efforts are informed by the belief that wetland and floodplain resources of the Mississippi Corridor states are likely to be significantly altered over time by climate change. Human actions today can reduce these impacts or aggravate them.Adaptation planning is necessary to identify the human actions that will protect and conserve wetlands. To make available information about what states are doing around the country, ASWM queried the 50 states for information on any wetland-related climate change adaptation efforts they had under way through the end of 2010. A total of 39 states responded to ASWM's request for information, including 19 that were developing adaptation plans for the state's natural resources; 11 of these included wetlands in their plan. They learned that many states have sought ways to reduce greenhouse gases, implementing things such as emissions standards, energy portfolios, and carbon reduction targets. In addition to this type of mitigation, state agencies are also looking at adaptation. (When applied to wetlands, adaptation refers to actions related to wetland processes, wetland management practices, or wetland functions to reduce or offset potential adverse impacts of climate change.)

ASWM’s project encourages states to share information with each other, and benefit from what they learn. It also serves as a resource to states not currently undertaking adaptation planning, if they begin to do so at a future date. State summaries of activities and the full project report are available on ASWM’s website.