January 18 , 2005

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If a wetland exists on property slated for development, the developer will need to mark, or delineate, the boundaries of the wetland. To find out if a wetland has already been surveyed and designated as wetlands, a developer would contact the district office of the Corps. If the area is not yet surveyed, the developer must hire wetlands experts. They might begin by looking at aerial photographs or soil maps of the area. Then they visit the site one or more times to evaluate the soils, plants, and hydrology.

The timing of those inspections can be critical. In agricultural areas, many evaluators visit during the growing season because that's when farmers would be most likely to disrupt a wetland. However, many wetlands, such as the bottomlands of southeastern forests, are wettest during the winter.

The delineation process should produce:

  • Maps showing the size, location, shape, names of features.
  • Data sheets listing soil, vegetation, and hydrology indicators.
  • Vicinity map that identifies the study area.
  • Narrative report describing the above information.

Check out Idaho's Digital Soil Survey from the National Resource Conservation Service.

Now you know how scientists mark wetlands -
Learn about the all the different types of Wetlands!

Identifying Wetlands |
Marking Wetlands |
What Lives in Wetlands |
Why Do We Need Wetlands?

Types of Wetlands |

Common Names of Wetlands |
Five Subsystems of Wetlands |

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