Environmental assessments, including wetland jurisdictional determinations/wetland delineations, are critical to development plans for any size project. Environmental Assessments determine the presence, location, and physical limits of wetlands and surface waters according to federal and state definitions and delineations methods. Our ecologists routinely conduct wetland mapping and wetland flagging on project sites utilizing criteria defined by federal and state rules. As part of federal and state permitting processes, we prepare and submit requests for wetland jurisdictional determinations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies. For projects that result in unavoidable wetland impacts, a wetland assessment is necessary as part of the permitting process. Our staff is trained to conducted wetland assessments using various accepted methodologies.
Our wetland mapping services range from approximate locations of wetlands based on available data to comprehensive field surveys. We utilize the most up to date aerial photography available and create wetland maps using existing wetland data and digital overlays available from government sources, including the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) and state wetland databases. For preliminary environmental assessments, our ecologists conduct fieldwork to map approximate wetland locations based on interpretation of vegetation signatures on aerial photography and groundtruthing. Wetland flagging is conducted for more comprehensive and accurate wetland mapping of a project site.
Wetland flagging is a critical part of wetland jurisdictional determinations and site planning. In order to accurately identify the location of wetlands on a project site, our ecologists’ flag the wetland limits in the field based on the federal and state wetland delineation methodologies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual, Regional Supplements to the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual, and Chapter 62-340 of the Florida Administrative Code. We are trained in these methodologies which utilize vegetation, hydrology, and hydric soils to determine the extent of a wetland. Once the wetland lines are flagged in the field, we coordinate with the project’s surveyor to locate the wetland flags and produce an accurate map of the wetland limits.
For a project that results in unavoidable wetland impacts, a wetland functional assessment is required by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state agencies to determine the functional loss of the wetlands impacted and the compensatory mitigation that will be required to offset the loss. Our ecologists stay up to date on existing and developing wetland assessments, including the Hydrogeomorphic Approach (HGM), Florida’s Uniform Mitigation Assessment Methodology (UMAM), the Wetland Rapid Assessment Method (WRAP), South Carolina’s wetland mitigation calculation sheets, and the North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method (NC WAM). Each of these methodologies evaluates wetlands based on criteria which include geographic location, landscape support, upland buffers, vegetation, hydrology, and wildlife utilization.