Despite a national focus on saving wetland systems in the U.S., evaluations of wetland resources and management outcomes have been limited. A fifty-state survey of wetland managers was conducted in order to collect information on (1) wetland resources, (2) management actions taken, and (3) management impact on the resources (wetlands). An overview of the general status of state knowledge of the quantity and quality of their wetland resources is presented. Results indicate that most states have a rough estimate of the resources and most have wetland conservation plans and intend to develop better databases of wetland resources. However, few states track management actions relevant to wetlands and fewer have any idea of the success or impact of past management actions. The ability to assess program effectiveness is key to implementing adaptive management frameworks. A number of lessons learned suggest a basic framework for future wetland management that includes state planning, better quantification (mapping) of wetlands, development of methods to measure wetland quality, and tracking of wetland management actions and outcomes. This framework could also be used as an outline for the development of a more adaptive approach to wetland management.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1