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Call for Nominations: National Wetlands Awards

January 22

Download the 2018 nomination guidelines here  and join our mailing list for updates on the National Wetlands Awards!

The National Wetlands Awards are presented annually to individuals who have excelled in wetlands protection, restoration, and education. Through coordinated media outreach, educational events, and an awards ceremony on Capitol Hill, awardees receive national recognition and attention for their outstanding efforts. The program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Federal Highway Administration. ELI coordinates the awards program, while our federal agency supporters provide financial support, serve on the selection committee, and/or participate in the ceremony.

Questions about the nomination process and requests to join our mailing list can be emailed to wetlands@eli.org.


Only individuals, not organizations, are eligible to be nominated for an award.  Federal employees are not eligible. Retired federal employees are not eligible for any work or volunteer efforts done during the time they were employed by a federal agency. Self-nominations are not allowed. Projects not currently in compliance with the Clean Water Act or similar state or local statutes, as well as projects compelled by enforcement actions under those statutes, are not eligible.


A short-form nomination consists of three parts:

  1. Contact Information: Nominators should provide contact information for both the nominator and nominee; this includes (a) full name; (b) affiliation; (c) mailing address (including city, state, and zip code); (d) telephone number; and (e) email address.
  2. Nomination Category: Nominators may suggest one or more nomination categories (with a maximum of three categories) for their nominee. The categories are described more fully below. The Selection Committee will make the final decision on the nomination category for each nominee. Awards may not be given in every category.
  3. Summary of Accomplishments: Nominators should provide a summary of the nominee’s accomplishments and why those accomplishments are significant. Nominators may wish to include the following in their summary of accomplishments:
      • A description of the projects and/or activities in which the nominee has been involved, including a description of where the projects and/or activities took place, what types of wetlands were affected, whether the projects and/or activities are complete or are in process, and the nominee’s contribution to the projects and/or activities
      • A description of the significance of the projects and/or activities at the local, state, or national level.
      • An explanation of why the nominee merits recognition (e.g., did the nominee exceed expectations? Did the nominee devote personal time? Has the nominee achieved extraordinary results?).

The summary should be a maximum of 800 words

The short-form nominations are due January 22nd, 2018. 


The Selection Committee will review the short-form nominations and choose finalists. Nominators of finalists will be informed and will be given time to complete a full nomination. Details regarding the full nomination will be provided to nominators at the time they are informed their nominees are finalists.


You may suggest one or more of the following nomination categories (with a maximum of three categories) for your nominee. For examples of previous recipients, please visit www.nationalwetlandsawards.org/awardees.htm.

  1. Conservation and Restoration: This award is given to an individual who has accomplished the conservation and/or restoration of significant wetland resources through the use of on-the-ground restoration, management, or conservation methods on public or private lands. For example, this may be an individual who has used an innovative approach to restore a wetland ecosystem, or someone who has contributed to the protection of a regionally significant wetland area through the use of tried-and-true conservation methods.
  2. Education and Outreach: This award is presented to a teacher, nonprofit organization staffer, state/local government employee, artist/film maker, reporter, or other individual involved in hands-on wetland education. For example, this may be an inspirational educator who has developed a wetland course that brings children into the field to learn about wetland ecology.
  3. Landowner Stewardship: This award is presented to a private landowner who, while using his or her private land for farming, forestry activities, ranching, or development, voluntarily helps restore, protect, or minimize impacts to wetlands. For example, this may be a farmer involved in wetland restoration or conservation on his or her land or enlisting nearby landowners in such efforts, or a residential developer who provides significant protection or restoration of wetlands associated with a subdivision.

Please note that this Award is presented to a private landowner who is using at least part of his or her land for farming, ranching, development, etc. (i.e. entire parcel is not enrolled in a conservation program such as WRP).

  1. Science Research: This award is presented to an academic, consultant, or individual leading scientific research on wetland values and functions, restoration, or enhancement. For example, this may be an individual who has spearheaded groundbreaking or influential research on wetland restoration.
  2. State, Tribal, and Local Program Development:This award is given to a state, tribal, or local government employee, who has developed and administered an outstanding wetland program. For example, this may be a state government employee who has developed a streamlined wetland regulatory program, or a local government employee who has developed a wetland registry.
  3. NEW! Wetland Busniess Leader:This award is given to an individual who, through the course of their work in the private sector, has made a substantial contribution to wetland programs, sustainable wetland practices, or in other ways advance wetlands protection through their business. For example, this may be an environmental consultant or mitigation provider who has inspired positive change in the industry or developed innovate restoration programs/techniques, or a person who has provided significant resources to support wetland programs or restoration efforts.


Short-form and full nominations should be emailed as a single PDF or Word document to wetlands@eli.org.


Awardees will be chosen by a committee of wetland experts representing the conservation and business communities, as well as federal, state, and local governments. ELI strives to assemble a selection committee that represents all geographic regions of the United States.

Suggestions from previous Selection Committee members:

    • Be very clear about the specific accomplishments of the nominee. Differentiate between being part of a team or group effort, and leading an effort or accomplishing something single-handedly.
    • Provide a clear statement of the intended audience of the nominee’s work.
    • To the extent possible, quantify the nominee’s successes (e.g. in years worked, acres restored, students reached, etc.)
    • In the full nomination (for finalists only), Selection Committee members have found additional materials (letters of support, resumes, news articles, etc.) detailing a nominee’s accomplishments to be helpful additions.


Have questions? Please email wetlands@eli.org.


January 22