Conflicts Between Science and Public Policy in Wetlands Will Be Topic of Next Brown-bag Lunch on Water Restoration

Jon Kusler, lawyer, writer, educator, and executive director and founder of the Association of State Wetland Managers, will be the next speaker in the semester-long series “The Restoration Agenda: Water!” at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (F&ES). His talk, titled “Wetland Assessment: Conflicts Between Science and Public Policy,” will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium of Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. Attendees are invited to bring a brown-bag lunch.

Loss of wetlands in the United States continues at an estimated rate of 200,000 to 300,000 acres each year. However, the debate over an appropriate federal regulatory definition of wetlands has become very politicized. In fact, criteria may be adopted that are not only scientifically unsound and provide substantially reduced protection for the remaining wetland resources, but also are more confusing and costly to landowners and developers, Kusler says.

“In our nation’s effort to protect our remaining wetlands, various assessment techniques have been used or are being developed to aid in this vital process,” he says. “It is essential that a workable and reliable set of assessment techniques be available to permit both landscape and site-specific analyses. Assessment of functions is basic, but assessment of cultural, historic, aesthetic, recreational and other values is equally important.”

Kusler has 28 years of experience working with legal, scientific and policy issues in water resources management He has published many articles, books and reports specializing in mitigation of natural hazards, wetland management and water resources planning, and has worked extensively as a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and to state and federal agencies. He has served on the staffs of the University of Wisconsin and the University of Massachusetts. His education includes a Ph.D. degree in land and water use management, a M.S. degree in water resources management, a J.D. degree in law, and a B.S. degree in English and geology.

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