How to Identify a Wetland

Wetlands Delineation: What It Is And Why It Matters

One of the very important services that Applied Resource Management offers is Wetlands Delineation. Wetlands are common in all areas of the United States, but they’re especially prevalent on the North Carolina coast. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, being aware of wetlands on your property is an important part of the building and remodeling process, environmentally and legally. If you ignore wetlands and/or don’t secure the proper permits, you could damage the environment and even face a hefty fine! Luckily, our Soils Division can determine whether and where wetlands exist on a property, keeping your project on track and in line with local and national regulations.

What is a wetland?

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency, a wetland is defined as any area that is inundated or saturated by so much surface or ground water that it supports animal and vegetable life. These saturated areas known as wetlands can include swamps, marshes, and bogs.

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are unique ecosystems where certain plants and animals are able to survive and thrive. In other words, if you alter the wetland you could be damaging and possibly destroying these delicate ecosystems. Without the presence of these wetlands, we risk upsetting the natural ecosystem resulting in a degraded environment. This is bad news for plants, animals, and humans, too due to increased pollution, flooding issues, and sedimentation of our waters.

What does a wetland look like?

Wetlands are as diverse as the plants and animals they support. Here in southeastern North Carolina, where Applied Resource Management is based, wetlands often take the shape of marshes and tidal wetlands. Environmental professionals can identify a wetland by testing the soil and identifying the types of plants that are growing in the area. Wetlands plants are uniquely suited to growing in saturated soil, and their presence can be a sure sign of a wetland. This is why it’s easiest to identify a wetland during the growing season.

You’ve got a wetland. Now what? 

If there is an area on your property—residential or commercial—that seems to stay wet, then it’s important to take action before moving forward with any proposed projects, remodels, or expansions. If wetlands are present, don’t worry—your project isn’t doomed! You’ll simply have to take some extra steps, including securing the necessary permits, to move forward in a responsible manner. Permits can include wastewater, CAMA permits, Jurisdictional Determinations, nationwide permits, and local county permits. Once these permits have been granted, you can continue your project in a safe and responsible manner.

While this process can be confusing and time-consuming, the help of an experienced environmental professionals, such as Applied Resource Management, can help. Contact us today and together we’ll ensure that the path you take is the right one.