Wetlands are protected by both state and federal
agencies due to their functions and values to humans and the natural
environment. Wetlands are identified by the presence of hdyrophytic
plants, hydric soils and indications of surface or subsurface water.
The proper identification and delineation of wetlands is vital at
the beginning of project planning. Aqua-Terra is fully experienced
in all aspects of wetland identification, delineation, impact minimization,
permitting, design, mitigation construction and monitoring. Aqua-Terra
is also recognized by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
and the PA Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) as qualified to conduct
surveys for the wetland dependent bog turtle.
WETLAND REGULATORY AUTHORITY & DEFINITIONS
Wetlands fall under the regulatory authority of both Federal and State agencies. Federal laws governing wetland areas are found in Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. These acts are administered, implemented and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s wetland regulations are included in Title 25 - Environmental Protection, Chapter 105 - Dam Safety and Waterway Management and are under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (PADEP) jurisdiction, with assistance from County Conservation Districts.
For regulatory purposes, wetlands are identified by the criteria established by the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (1987 Manual). Both USACE and PADEP define wetlands as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal conditions do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, bogs, marshes, and similar areas.
The interaction of hydrology, vegetation and soil
results in the development of characteristics unique to wetland environments.
Wetlands possess, under normal conditions, all three of the following
characteristics: hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils, and wetland
hydrology. Positive wetland indicators of all three parameters are
usually present in wetlands. Although vegetation is often the most
readily observed parameter, sole reliance on vegetation or either
of the other two parameters as the determinant of wetlands can sometimes
be misleading. Many plant species grow successfully in both wetland
and non-wetland areas. Hydrophytic vegetation and hydric soils may
persist for decades following alteration of hydrology that will render
an area a non-wetland. The presence of hydric soils and wetland hydrology
indicators in addition to vegetation indicators provides a logical,
easily defensible and technical basis for determining the presence
TYPES OF WETLANDS