Criteria Development Guidance: Wetlands

The Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands gives state and tribal water quality managers guidance for the first time on how to set nutrient criteria for wetlands. It does not contain specific nutrient criteria for any wetlands in the US, but it does present EPA's scientific recommendations on defensible approaches for developing regional nutrient criteria. The wetlands document provides background information on classifying wetlands, selecting criteria variables, designing monitoring programs, building a database analyzing nutrient and algal data, deriving regional criteria, and implementing management practices.

The wetlands modules are a starting point to help states and tribes establish biological and nutrient water quality criteria specifically refined for wetlands.


Guidance Manual: Wetlands; EPA-822-B-08-001

  • Cover and Front Matter
    • Table of Contents
    • List of Figures
    • List of URLs/References
  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1 & 2—Introduction and Overview
    • Chapter 1: Introduction
      • Water Quality Standards and Criteria
      • Nutrient Enrichment Problems
      • Overview of the Criteria Development Process
      • Roadmap to the Document
    • Chapter 2: Overview of Wetland Science
      • Introduction
      • Components of Wetlands
      • Wetland Nutrient Components
  • Chapter 3 & 4: Classifications and Sampling Design
    • Chapter 3: Classifications of Wetlands
      • Introduction
      • Existing Wetland Classification Schemes
      • Sources of Information for Mapping Wetland Classes
      • Differences in Nutrient Reference Condition or Sensitivity to Nutrients among Wetland Classes
      • Recommendations
    • Chapter 4: Sampling Design for Wetland Monitoring
      • Introduction
      • Considerations for Sampling Design
      • Sampling Protocol
      • Summary
  • Chapter 5 & 6: Candidate Variables and Database Development
    • Chapter 5: Candiate Variables for Establishing Nutrient Criteria
      • Introduction
      • Overview of Candidate Variables
      • Supporting Variables
      • Causal Variables
      • Response Variables
    • Chapter 6: Database Development and New Data Collection
      • Introduction
      • Databases and Database Management
      • Quality of Historical and Collected Data
      • Collecting New Data
      • Quality Assurance/Quality Control
  • Chapter 7 & 8: Data Analysis and Criteria Development
    • Chapter 7: Data Analysis
      • Introduction
      • Factors Affecting Analysis Approach
      • Distribution-based Approaches
      • Reponse-based Approaches
      • Partitioning Effects Among Multiple Stressors
      • Statistical Techniques
      • Linking Nutrient Availability to Primary Producer Response
    • Chapter 8: Criteria Development
      • Introduction
      • Methods for Developing Nutrients Criteria
      • Evaluation of Proposed Criteria
      • Interpreting and Applying Criteria
  • References
  • Appendices
    • Acronyms and Glossary
    • Case Study: Deriving a Phosphorus Criterion for the Florida Everglades
    • Literature Cited
  • Full Wetlands Guidance document

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Wetlands Modules

EPA prepared the following modules to give states and tribes "state-of-the-science" information that will help them develop biological assessment methods to evaluate both the overall ecological condition of wetlands and nutrient enrichment (one of the primary stressors on many wetlands).

  1. Introduction to Wetland Biological Assessment
  2. Introduction to Wetland Nutrient Assessment  1 
  3. The State of Wetland Science  1 
  4. Study Design for Monitoring Wetlands
  5. Administrative Framework for the Implementation of a Wetland Bioassessment Program  1 
  6. Developing Metrics and Indexes of Biological Integrity
  7. Wetlands Classification
  8. Volunteers and Wetland Biomonitoring
  9. Developing an Invertebrate Index of Biological Integrity for Wetlands
  10. Using Vegetation To Assess Environmental Conditions in Wetlands
  11. Using Algae To Assess Environmental Conditions in Wetlands
  12. Using Amphibians in Bioassessments of Wetlands
  13. Biological Assessment Methods for Birds
  14. Wetland Bioassessment Case Studies
  15. Bioassessment Methods for Fish  1 
  16. Vegetation-Based Indicators of Wetland Nutrient Enrichment
  17. Land-Use Characterization for Nutrient and Sediment Risk Assessment
  18. Biogeochemical Indicators
  19. Nutrient Loading
  20. Wetland Hydrology

1 These modules will no longer be produced. They have been incorporated into the Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands.

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