Wetland program plan

See what we hope to accomplish in our strategic plan for protecting the state's wetlands. We're working across the state with Washington Tribes and agencies. This includes the state departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, and Transportation, as well as the Washington State Conservation Commission, Washington State Parks, and Puget Sound Partnership.

The plan articulates what the state seeks to accomplish with the wetland program over time. An effective strategy is necessary to protect wetlands and meet the state’s goal of no net loss and an overall net gain in wetland resources.

Core elements of the wetland program plan

The plan is organized around six core elements (based on EPA’s Core Element Framework):

  • Regulation
  • Monitoring and assessment
  • Voluntary restoration and protection
  • Water quality standards
  • Education and outreach
  • Sustainable financing

These elements are critical to the program's success. The plan outlines work for six-year time frames and sets a longer-term vision for future actions.

Download the plan

Past planning efforts informed the plan

There were a few planning efforts in the past that provided direction and context for developing this plan:

These guiding documents have shaped the state’s wetland program and demonstrate the importance and value of long-term planning and agency coordination.


The overall goal for wetland resource management in the state is found in Governor Executive Order 89-10:

“...to achieve no overall net loss in acreage and function of Washington's remaining wetlands base. It is further the long-term goal to increase the quantity and quality of Washington's wetlands resource base.”

This goal is designed to avoid the loss of overall wetland habitat, function, and condition, and improve these features over time through restoration and mitigation. Each core element in the Wetland Program Plan has a goal and objectives as well as actions and activities to achieve them.

The state's goals for each core element are:

  • Regulation: To increase protection at the landscape and site scale by avoiding, minimizing, and where there are unavoidable adverse impacts, ensuring compensation for wetland loss.
  • Voluntary restoration and protection: Using a watershed perspective, increase the quantity, condition, and function of wetlands and their ecosystems through voluntary restoration and protection.
  • Monitoring and assessment:
    • Goal 1: Establish the extent and types of wetlands, their level of function or condition, to detect changes and stressors, and to characterize trends over time to inform better decision making.
    • Goal 2: Evaluate the effectiveness of each of the six core elements and the overall effectiveness of the Wetland Program Plan.
  • Outreach and education: Identify and directly engage with key stakeholders so citizens understand the role that wetlands play in the landscape, and value and seek to protect wetlands.
  • Sustainable financing: To provide stable, consistent funding for implementing the wetland plan.

Project outcomes

  • A more strategic approach to manage, protect, and restore Washington's wetland resources.
  • Increase coordination among state resource agencies to protect wetlands.
  • Develop a six-year planning and visioning document outlining goals, and the actions and activities to achieve them.

State interagency work group

Many agencies play a role in the protecting and managing wetland resources in Washington, in coordination with local governments and federal partners. Current state partners include:

Program matrix

During the development of the draft wetland plan, the work group identified aspects of their existing programs that fell within each of the EPA core elements. This information was compiled into a wetland program matrix which served as the baseline for the 2015 plan.

If you have questions about an agency program, please contact the individual state agency. Please contact Ecology if you have questions about the matrix or general questions about the Washington Wetland Program Plan.