Jackie Sartoris and Don Witherill
Maine State Planning Office and Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Augusta, Maine

Jackie Sartoris and Donald Witherill have worked diligently to increase protection of Maine’s wetlands. In mid-1994, the Maine State Planning Office hired Sartoris to prepare a Wetland Conservation Plan for Maine. A task force of state and federal agencies and environmental and development interests was formed to assist in this effort. Before this, the state legislature commissioned the Department of Environmental Protection to study possibilities for streamlining the state’s wetlands regulatory program. The regulatory work group, headed by Witherill, was a subgroup of the larger task force, which began a 13-month process to study various methods to accomplish streamlining.

Sartoris and Witherill shepherded this work group through months of meetings analyzing numerous alternatives. These deliberations often were complicated by the competing interests of environmental and development groups, and included continuous debate with the state legislature. Witherill and Sartoris’s tenacity resulted in issuance of a comprehensive Programmatic General Permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and changes that vastly improved the state’s wetlands program. Witherill has been involved in wetlands permitting in Maine for 17 years, and was one of the architects of the original wetland permit program. He is the Director of the Watershed Management Division, which covers wetland policy and program development. In her capacity at Maine’s State Planning Office, Sartoris has been directing the efforts of the task force and various work groups. The projected date for the completion of the wetland conservation plan is late 1996.

— Christine Godfrey, New England Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers