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Wetland Delineation

"The boundary between a wetland and an upland shall be delineated by the methodology set forth in the 1987 edition of the Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands (pdf, 507 KB). This methodology employs three parameters: vegetation, soils and hydrology."

What is a wetland?

Because the term wetland can mean different things to different people, it is necessary to have a technical definition to standardize the concept.  Wetlands are defined as: those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or ground water at a frequency and a duration sufficient to support, and under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soils.  Soils present in wetlands generally are classified as hydric or alluvial, or possess characteristics that are associated with reducing soil conditions.  The prevalent vegetation in wetlands generally consists of facultative or obligate hydrophytic macrophytes that are typically adapted to areas having soil conditions described above.  These species, due to morphological, physiological, or reproductive adaptations, have the ability to grow, reproduce or persist in aquatic environments or anaerobic soil conditions.  Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bayheads, bogs, cypress domes and strands, sloughs, wet prairies, riverine swamps and marshes, hydric seepage slopes, tidal marshes, mangrove swamps and other similar areas.  Wetlands generally do not include longleaf or slash pine flatwoods with an understory dominated by saw palmetto.

Components:  Phase I, II & III environmental assessments, FCC/NEPA screens, Wetland Determinations, Environmental Assessments, Wetland Permits and Geotechnical Investigations.  Phase I environmental assessments are conducted in accordance with either the Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process (American Society for Testing and Materials, Designations E 1527) or the 40 CFR 312 Standards and Practices for All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI).

Wetlands Delineation under the Clean Water Act

Wetland delineation is simply the act of establishing the boundary between wetlands and uplands (or non-wetlands). There are two delineation procedures developed at the federal level and several states have their own wetland delineation procedures.

The most important document is the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual which can be used for wetland delineations associated with both the Clean Water Act and the Food Security Act. The regulatory program developed under the Food Security Act is administered by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and you will need to refer to their current guidance on this matter.

For reference purposes we have included a copy of the 1989 Federal Manual which Congress withdrew in 1991.
Wetlands Delineation Policy Documents

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