||National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD.; Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC.; Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds.
In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report documenting wetland trends in the coastal watersheds of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes (Stedman and Dahl 2008). That study did not include the wetlands in the coastal watersheds along the Pacific coast. Findings from that study indicated that there was a net loss of an estimated 361,000 acres of wetland in the coastal watersheds of the eastern U.S. between 1998 and 2004. There was considerable variation in trends among the three coastal regions studied. Watersheds of the Great Lakes experienced net gains in wetlands, whereas watersheds along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts experienced an overall net loss of an estimated 60,180 acres annually. Attribution of these losses pointed to development and other human activities as the principle cause of loss in the Gulf of Mexico and salt water intrusion or inundation as the primary cause of the losses observed in the mid-Atlantic region. The release of that information stimulated discussion at the Federal level centering on the need for increased wetland protection and restoration measures in the coastal watersheds and the role of federal, state or local mechanisms in protecting these coastal resources. Working in conjunction with principal Federal agencies the USFWS and NOAA have produced updated data on more recent trends of wetlands in the coastal watersheds to help prioritize conservation planning efforts and contribute additional information on coastal wetland trends. This report updates and expands previous information on coastal wetland loss by incorporating new data for the coastal watersheds of the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes and in addition, providing information for the Pacific coast along the States of Washington, Oregon and California. It presents the latest status information on coastal wetland resources and provides estimates of losses or gains that occurred in the coastal watersheds in the conterminous U.S. between 2004 and 2009. The information presented provides data on the areal extent of wetlands but does not assess wetland condition or other qualitative changes to wetlands in coastal watersheds.