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Evaluating an improved systems approach to wetland crediting: Consideration of wetland ecosystem services

April 29, 2024

The Chesapeake Bay Agreement (CBA) has numerous direct goals for improving habitat, living resources, and water quality, conserving lands, engaging communities and addressing a changing climate. To date, the progress toward the wetlands outcome (creation/ restoration of 85,000 acres and enhancement of 150,000 acres) has been very slow and the outcome is projected to be off course for 2025. Two specific confounding issues arise in efforts to achieve the Bay wetlands goal: 1) the idea that restoration is driven, and incentivized and accounted for, in order to meet the TMDL’s water quality (WQ) benefits, leaving habitat benefits undervalued; and 2) there is often tension between competing restoration priorities and financial resources among different Best Management Practice (BMP) types that include wetlands, such as wetland restoration/creation/rehabilitation, stream restoration, and the creation or restoration of forest buffers.

The collaborative workshop “Evaluating an Improved Systems Approach to Wetland Crediting: Consideration of Wetland Ecosystem Services” was held March 22-23, 2022 to explore the wetland accounting system and provide insight on improved approaches to promote wetland projects toward the wetlands outcome. Four sessions were organized around topics of 1) Accounting, 2) Landscape Systems Approach, 3) Wetlands Projects and Co-Benefits, and 4) Management Implications and Recommendation Development with 21 presentations, Q and A and facilitated discussions.

Acknowledgement of the limitations of the current management framework to achieve significant gains in wetland area supports the conclusion that absent significant adaptive management of wetlands efforts, any outcome for net wetlands gains beyond 2025 will be similarly confounded. Workshop findings included suggestions for how to approach restoration projects at a systems level (e.g., creek, shoreline reach, watershed) in order to maximize synergies for multiple ecological outcomes and ecosystem services. Recommendations for improvement on existing efforts, as well as new processes, tools and partnerships are suggested from the workshop’s analysis of the state of the science as considerations to increase implementation of wetlands projects.

Publication Year 2024
Title Evaluating an improved systems approach to wetland crediting: Consideration of wetland ecosystem services
Authors Pamela Mason, Gregory B. Noe, Alicia Berlin, Denise Clearwater, Sally Claggett, Dave Goerman, Brooke J. Landry, Alison Santoro
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70253232
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Florence Bascom Geoscience Center