Conflicting political priorities can impede wetland restoration efforts. Decision-makers must raise wetland protection and restoration as a priority that can address multiple environmental and social ills, including poor water quality, reduced wildlife habitat, increased flooding and climate change.
Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement
Increasing and incentivizing the willingness of landowners to restore and enhance wetlands is critical to this outcome’s success. We must better understand the obstacles to landowner participation, which include the economic implications of wetland restoration, the existing interest and eligibility to enroll in existing programs, the effectiveness of current outreach efforts and other social and political factors.
Funding must be dedicated to wetland restoration, wetland enhancement and the technical staff who will manage this work.
We are not confident that all wetland restoration projects are being reported or that all reported projects are being accurately categorized.
There is not always funding for technical training or for the technical staff to complete wetland restoration work. A series of technical publications or workshops could train practitioners on design criteria, pollution removal rates or methods of integrating multiple programs to provide multiple benefits.
Changing weather patterns and storm intensity will increase the flow of water over land, which wetlands must absorb. Sea level rise also threatens to inundate many coastal wetlands with saltwater. The loss of wetlands will be greater if natural corridors along which wetlands might move inland are removed by development or other factors.
Factors Influencing Progress
Several factors could impact our ability to create or reestablish 85,000 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands and enhance the function of an additional 150,000 acres of degraded wetlands across the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These factors have directly informed the management actions our partners will take to achieve the Wetlands outcome.