You may be doing research on wetland ecology or trying to determine the rules of wetland compliance on your farm. Either way, NRCS's technical experts have you covered. Please see below for general information about wetlands, or visit our national website. For more information on compliance, please visit our wetlands compliance page.
What is a Wetland?
Wetlands do so many things — not only for us, but also for plants, animals, and the land.
We need to understand the functions and values of wetlands. We need to work hard to ensure that wetlands are maintained so that they can continue to help us live in harmony with the land and our natural resources. What makes this harmony so important? Let's find out by discovering...
Established definition and criteria used by government and scientists
Corps Delineation Manual most widely used guidance
Wetland Definition was reviewed and confirmed by National Academy of Sciences in mid 1990s
Water -flooded or saturated during growing season
Soils -soils that indicate wet conditions
Plants -plants that typically grow in wetlands
Flooded, ponded or saturated
Extended period during the growing season
Biological growing season, not agronomic
Soils can still be saturated with a water table 1 foot or more below the surface
Must show signs of being a wetland (hydric) soil
deep organic layer
Very specific criteria must be used to determine if soil is hydric
Must be plants typically found in wetlands
All plants have been assigned an indicator status
Look to see if majority are wetland plants
Make wetland determinations more difficult
May have to rely on just one or two of the wetland criteria, usually soils
May end up with a larger area determined as wetland
NRCS can provide this service to USDA program participants
Use specific criteria to determine if an area is wetland
Does not have to have standing water to be a wetland
Always best to have determinations conducted prior to manipulating