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Water: Wetlands

Enhancing State and Tribal Wetlands Programs Initiative

Please check this page periodically for information on technical assistance to state and tribal wetland programs.

What is the Enhancing State and Tribal Programs Initiative?

The goal of the Enhancing State and Tribal Programs (ESTP) Initiative is to enhance EPA's delivery of technical and financial support for state and tribal wetlands programs, with the overall objective of accelerating program development on a national scale.

Key components of the ESTP include:

  • increased dialogue between EPA and states/tribes on wetland program development,
  • providing a clear articulation of program building goals and activities - the Core Elements Framework
  • aligning the Wetland Program Development Grants with program development activities in the CEF
  • providing targeted technical assistance for states and tribes

The ESTP and Core Elements Framework were designed for state and tribal wetland programs that are in the developing stages but can be useful to all states/tribes including those that are refining more mature wetland programs.

What are the Core Elements of a State or Tribal Wetland Program?

The core elements are basic program functions that form the foundation of wetlands management and protection in a state or tribe.
These include:

  1. Monitoring and Assessment;
  2. Regulatory activities including 401 certification;
  3. Voluntary Restoration and Protection;
  4. Water Quality Standards for Wetlands.

In the past, EPA has endorsed six core elements of state and tribal wetlands programs: Regulation, Monitoring and Assessment, Restoration, Waters Quality Standards, Public-Private Partnerships, and Coordination among State and Federal Agencies. EPA has also referred to Outreach and Education as an overarching element. EPA streamlined this list to focus on the basic program functions. Partnerships, interagency coordination, and outreach are approaches that, among others, support these basic program functions.

What is the Core Elements Framework?

A foundation of the ESTP is the document Core Elements of Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Programs, also called the Core Elements Framework (CEF). Drafted in 2008 with state and tribal input, this document describes each core program element and provides a more comprehensive menu of program building activities than EPA has summarized in the past. The CEF is intended to be fairly comprehensive so that states and tribes can choose from an array of actions that are best suited to their goals and resources. EPA recognizes that program development activities will continue to be incremental and bounded by the goals and resources within a state or tribe; the Agency does not expect simultaneous development of all core elements by every state and tribe.

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