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The National Association of Wetland Managers (NAWM) was founded by Jon A. Kusler, Esq., Ph.D., and Scott Hausmann in 1983 with two goals — to support state wetland programs and to support national wetland policy reflecting sound wetland science. NAWM has tried to stay true to these goals throughout the years, during the ups and downs of funding and politics.

Jon and Scott created the Association with no staff and no budget. NAWM’s first national meeting in 1983 was hosted by Richard Haman and the University of Florida College of Law. To their surprise and delight, over 120 wetland managers and scientists attended. The quality and enthusiasm of the attendees was striking. Most did not know each other prior to the meeting but many emerged friends. Many who attended that first meeting in Florida also continue as wetland advocates and mentors.

This was the first of many workshops NAWM conducted with a broad range of federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other partners have included the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Society of Wetland Scientists, Association of Clean Water Administrators, Coastal States Organization, National Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and the Environmental Law Institute.

Hundreds of symposia, workshops, publications, webpages, and webinars later, NAWM has established a national presence and is looked to by states, tribes, and other organizations for leadership in matters of national wetland policy, applying sound science, interpreting and implementing the Clean Water Act and related programs, restoring aquatic systems, and facilitating transfer of knowledge among peers and government agencies.