Coastal Wetland Loss Analysis

Jul 28, 2017 | News & Views, What's New

Coastal Wetland Loss Analysis: Summary Findings of Pilot Studies Conducted by the Interagency Coastal Wetlands Workgroup

The Interagency Coastal Wetlands Workgroup released its findings document describing the results from its wetlands loss assessment conducted in four coastal watersheds over the past few years. In response to concerns about the rate of net wetland loss in coastal watersheds, ICWWG was convened to identify the causes as well as strategies to reduce and ultimately reverse the loss. The ICWWG is comprised of EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Federal Highway Administration.

ICWWG conducted a series of pilot studies in four coastal watersheds across the country–San Francisco, CA; Galveston, TX; Cape Fear, NC; and Tampa, FL–for the time period of approximately 1996-2010, in order to gain a deeper understanding of the factors behind coastal wetland loss. Using geospatial information from the NOAA’s Coastal Change Analysis Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory Program, and Google Earth, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permitting data, and interviews with local-area staff, the ICWWG identified the main drivers behind wetland loss in these coastal watersheds as:

intense development pressure, both urban and suburban;
some drainage practices that are associated with silvicultural activities; and
insufficient restored wetland acres to offset wetland acres lost in coastal watersheds.

The pilot studies also identified additional important issues that contributed to understanding the overall trend of coastal wetland loss. These issues include unregulated sand and gravel mining in palustrine forested wetlands and a need for continual collection of spatial data in order to improve mapping and monitoring of wetland trends over time.

The document can be accessed here: Summary Findings of Pilot Studies Conducted by the Interagency Coastal Wetlands Workgroup.

Please direct questions about the Summary Findings document to Susan-Marie Stedman (NOAA) at, Megan Lang (FWS) at, or Dominic MacCormack (EPA) at