An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Criteria Development Guidance: Wetlands

The Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands gives state and tribal water quality managers guidance for the first time on how to set nutrient criteria for wetlands. It does not contain specific nutrient criteria for any wetlands in the US, but it does present EPA's scientific recommendations on defensible approaches for developing regional nutrient criteria. The wetlands document provides background information on classifying wetlands, selecting criteria variables, designing monitoring programs, building a database analyzing nutrient and algal data, deriving regional criteria, and implementing management practices.

Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands

  • Document: Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands
    • Chapter 1: Introduction
    • Chapter 2: Overview of Wetland Science
    • Chapter 3: Classification of Wetlands
    • Chapter 4: Sampling Design for Wetland Monitoring
    • Chapter 5: Candidate Variables for Establishing Nutrient Criteria
    • Chapter 6: Database Development and New Data Collection
    • Chapter 7: Data Analysis
    • Chapter 8: Criteria Development
    • References
    • Appendices

Wetlands Modules

EPA prepared the following modules to give states and tribes "state-of-the-science" information that will help them develop biological assessment methods to evaluate both the overall ecological condition of wetlands and nutrient enrichment (one of the primary stressors on many wetlands). The wetlands modules are a starting point to help states and tribes establish biological and nutrient water quality criteria specifically refined for wetlands.

  1. Introduction to Wetland Biological Assessment
  2. Introduction to Wetland Nutrient Assessment  1 
  3. The State of Wetland Science  1 
  4. Study Design for Monitoring Wetlands
  5. Administrative Framework for the Implementation of a Wetland Bioassessment Program  1 
  6. Developing Metrics and Indexes of Biological Integrity
  7. Wetlands Classification
  8. Volunteers and Wetland Biomonitoring
  9. Developing an Invertebrate Index of Biological Integrity for Wetlands
  10. Using Vegetation To Assess Environmental Conditions in Wetlands
  11. Using Algae To Assess Environmental Conditions in Wetlands
  12. Using Amphibians in Bioassessments of Wetlands
  13. Biological Assessment Methods for Birds
  14. Wetland Bioassessment Case Studies
  15. Bioassessment Methods for Fish  1 
  16. Vegetation-Based Indicators of Wetland Nutrient Enrichment
  17. Land-Use Characterization for Nutrient and Sediment Risk Assessment
  18. Biogeochemical Indicators
  19. Nutrient Loading
  20. Wetland Hydrology

1 These modules will no longer be produced. They have been incorporated into the Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands.

Top of Page