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Water: Wetlands

National Management Measures to Protect and Restore Wetlands and Riparian Areas for the Abatement of Nonpoint Source Pollution

EPA 841-B-05-003, July 2005

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What YOU can do!
   What's the problem?    Wetlands and riparian areas typically occur as natural buffers between uplands and adjacent water bodies. They act as natural filters of nonpoint source pollutants, including sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and metals, to waterbodies, such as rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters. It is important to preserve and restore damage to wetlands and riparian areas because these areas can play a significant role in managing adverse water quality impacts. Wetlands and riparian areas help decrease the need for costly stormwater and flood protection facilities.
   What kind of pollution is impairing our Nation's waterbodies?    Leading causes of impairment to our Nation's waterbodies include nutrients, pathogens, siltation, oxygen-depleting substances, metals, and suspended solids.
   What is EPA doing about it today?    Part of our job is to keep streams and other waterbodies from becoming polluted. We are publishing this free guide to help with this task.

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   Is this a regulatory action?    No. Use of the information in the guidance is voluntary, though many states have requirements for protecting wetlands and riparian areas from nonpoint source pollution. Check with your state for additional information.
   Why should I protect water quality?    Sediment decreases water quality for fish and other stream animals and plants. Even if the water appears clear, some sediment remains. Oxygen-depleting substances and excess nutrients can be harmful to aquatic life and plants, sometimes causing algal blooms or fish kills. Pathogens and metals can also be harmful to aquatic life and human health, causing health problems and sometimes death.
   What are other organizations doing about it?    Many states have published similar guides. State wetlands managers and local wetlands associations can provide assistance on wetlands issues.

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   What YOU Can Do!
   What can I do about it?    First, use the guidance and the techniques it describes. You can also learn more at the following sites.

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   How do I know whether the state I live in requires me to do the types of things that are in the guidance?    Contact EPA or your state wetland manager. See the links above.
   How do I know whether the guidance will be helpful to me?    Check the table of contents and the overview, and skim a few chapters. Because the guidance is free, there's no cost to you to look at it. If you are interested in protecting and/or restoring wetlands and riparian areas, or have wetlands and riparian areas on or near your property, the guidance can help you better protect water quality.
   Where can I get a copy of the guidance?    You can receive a free copy of this guidance by contacting the National Service Center for Environmental Publications via phone at 1-800-490-9198 or via the Web site and requesting Publication # EPA 841-B-05-003. You can also download the document using the links below or contact Chris Solloway at 202-566-1202 or by e-mail.

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You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

The full Guidance document is a very large file that may take a long time to download. The individual parts (chapters and other divisions) of the full document are much smaller files that will open quicker. Opening the smaller files is the recommended viewing method.

The Guidance


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