Wetland Delineation Survey

Wetland Delineation Survey

Understanding water delineation

Wetland Delineation Survey simply is a survey to show the horizontal limits and size of wetland regions as evaluated by an environmental specialist in the field.

Wetland “delineation” is a phrase used to describe the process of conducting field surveys in order to establish the exact borders of a wetland.

The regulation definition of a wetland, as well as any additional criteria, are used by a wetland delineator. Wetlands are defined, mapped, and delineated by their vegetation.

Delineation is the act of locating the wetland or watercourse’s boundary or border Delineation also entails describing the wetland or watercourse’s functions and values in terms of its physical location in the landscape.

Regulations at all levels of government use wetland delineation to determine a wetland’s presence (location) and physical boundaries (size).

It is also necessary to determine the boundaries of wetland areas before making a final decision about who has jurisdiction over the area. This procedure determines which bodies of water within a project’s limits fit the definition of “Waters of the United States.”

Fish and Wildlife Service, the body responsible for assessing the impact on fish and wildlife of projects subject to Section 404, defines a wetland as having three characteristics:

  • Hydrophytes, a type of plant that thrives only in or near water, can be found on the land at least occasionally.
  • Hydric soil is the dominating subsoil, or layer, beneath the surface.
  • For each year, a different non-soil substrate is used that is soaked or partially submerged in water at some point throughout its growing season.

For the most part, wetland habitats are areas of land where specific types of vegetation and animal life can thrive due to the soil type and long-term presence of water in or on the soil.

What is involved in a wetland delineation?

For a “simple” delineation, a trained specialist gathers and documents the wetland boundaries based on land-use maps, aerial photographs, topographic maps, soil surveys, and other information.

Additional information about the potential impact of the project may be needed for certain levels of federal or state approval.

Other types of delineations are more complex and require more work.

For those types of delineations, a qualified wetlands specialist must first survey the land, estimate the wetland area (often called “buffer”) using local knowledge and existing maps, and determine which wetland’s boundaries encompass all or most of the area being considered for a project.

The number of different types of wetland delineation varies, as do their specific requirements and standards.

When is a wetland delineation survey required?

The Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires that all federal agencies obtain a permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) before carrying out any work or permitting any project, that could affect or cause an impact to federally protected wetlands.

The USACE authority to regulate “waters of the United States” includes jurisdiction over wetlands as well as non-tidal rivers and streams.

An acceptable wetland delineation survey will make information available to help assess the impacts of a project on federally regulated wetlands.

When a wetland has been identified through delineation, the federal agency must document the boundary of its permit area.

The delineation of wetlands can be complex and requires expertise to ensure that data are accurate, complete, and unbiased.

Wetland delineation survey is also needed when a proposed project could cause an impact to a wetland.

It also required when a proposed project could cause an impact to a wetland and the federal agency cannot determine if it has jurisdiction over the wetland, such as in cases where the wetland borders are not completely defined.

Furthermore, it is also required when a proposed project would result in soil disturbance or pollution.

Wetland delineation survey advantages

Several advantages are to be gained from conducting a wetland delineation survey. Some of those advantages are as follows:

Delineating jurisdictional wetlands will save time and money.

By conducting a wetland delineation survey, the proposed project may be able to proceed without an EAD (Environmental Assessment and Determination) if the water bodies were delineated accurately on the permit.

This will help speed up the process by eliminating delays caused by preparing and obtaining EADs for projects that don’t require them.

Federal agencies are more likely to approve a project if a valid wetland delineation survey was performed.

The wetland delineation survey will provide information about the hydrology of the wetland before and after the construction, so that there is no disturbance to the water body.

It will also provide information about nearby downstream waterways.

This will be useful when any pollution or contamination is discovered during construction, especially if it’s from nearby water bodies.

Wetland delineation survey ensures that there are no violations of the Clean Water Act or a state’s water quality standards.

The wetland delineation survey is a legal document that describes the water body and any activities that would affect that jurisdictional wetland.

This documentation helps to ensure that the information required by EPDs, FONSI, and other government agencies is provided properly to avoid delays in getting permits and approvals for proposed projects.

Wetland delineation survey disadvantages

Several disadvantages are to be noted when conducting a wetlands delineation survey. Some of those disadvantages are as follows:

Specialized knowledge and experience are needed to properly delineate jurisdictional wetlands.

Wetland delineation surveying is normally left to the professionals who have special training in the field, such as wetland delineators or hydrological engineers.

Many of these professionals are employed by government agencies, private firms, consulting firms and universities.

Wetland delineation survey is time consuming, and to remain accurate, it requires continued supervision.

It usually takes longer to conduct a wetland delineation survey than any other type of survey.

The time between fieldwork and the final report is normally from two to five months.

A wetland delineation survey can be expensive and difficult for some non-profit organizations with limited funds.

However, it may still be worth the cost if proper information is needed for a proposed project that affects a jurisdictional wetland.

Post-delineation survey

After performing a wetland delineation survey, a non-federal federal agency must also perform a post-delineation survey to make sure that the boundary has been determined correctly.

If the boundary was not properly determined and the EAD is not ready, then construction of the proposed project could be delayed or even cancelled.

In addition, if the boundary was determined properly, construction may proceed without any further delays.

Why wetland delineation survey matters

The following outline why wetland delineation matters.

  1. Land developers and engineers rely heavily on wetland delineations surveys to help them avoid any potential snags that could slow or halt the progress of their plans.

The degradation of wetland habitat can be avoided if the borders of a parcel of land are precisely identified.

  1. Wetland delineations surveys also help ensure that local and state government regulations are followed, since development outside of the delineated boundaries is unlawful.

For example, water development projects that require approval by federal agencies (Clean Water Act, Section 404) may contain limits to the size of a project that can occur without approval.

Wetland delineations are a key piece of documentation to determine the exact boundaries of wetlands that need approval from the government, which in turn sets the legal limit for the amount and type of wetland impacts that can occur.

  1. In some cases, wetland delineation surveys are used as a route-clearance criterion for certain types of federally funded projects.

For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) often requires that wetlands be delineated and photographed prior to a project’s approval, to prove that the land is navigable, meaning that it is not a wetland.

  1. Wetland’s delineation surveys also provide the basis for identifying mitigation opportunities for mitigation banks – accounts of credits for restoring and protecting wetlands – as well as determining the boundaries of compensatory mitigation areas required by Section 404 permits.
  2. Compensatory mitigation areas help ensure that any project’s wetland impacts can be mitigated by reducing or removing the impact elsewhere in the watershed.

For example, if a project causes significant wetland impacts, these areas help ensure that other projects within the watershed are not negatively impacted in the same way.

  1. Wetland delineation surveys also provide a legal and practical basis for individual landowners to sue developers over potential environmental issues resulting from development within their property.
  2. In some cases, companies with pre-existing water rights to a wetland may want to develop that land themselves, in order to increase their water supply and maintain or increase their value.

It is often necessary to hire a wetland delineation surveyor to determine the location of legally owned wetlands on an individual’s property.

  1. Wetland delineation surveys also provide a legal basis in most states for placing limits on the amount of development that can occur within certain watersheds.

In many cases, if a wetland is not delineated, then private landowners are not legally obligated to reduce impacts to their property from development.

  1. Wetland’s delineation surveys may be used to determine which wetlands are part of federally protected areas, such as national parks and wildlife refuges.


In summary, a wetland delineation survey is a survey used to define the water bodies (hydrological features) within a jurisdictional wetland. The use of delineations is required by both state and federal agencies in order to determine who has jurisdiction over each water body.

Wetland Delineation Survey is an important part of any wetland map. It involves a professional person or company to determine the exact boundaries of the wetlands based on geography, topography and other factors.

Wetland delineations are done in order to determine whether a project is located within a wetland or not.

If it is found out that the project is situated within a wetland, then further approvals are required before starting that project. The wetland delineation surveyor is the person or company who conducts wetland delineation surveys.

Wetland Delineation Report is an important report that contains all the information regarding the boundaries of wetlands.

When you hire a professional company or person to do the delineation survey it is important to ask for a copy of that report.

It will give you a clear idea about what there are in your property and if there are any wetlands present or not. This report will also give you the detailed information about the wetland and its placement. Such professional company or person is fully conversant with the relevant law and procedure in place.

They will make sure that they do their work properly and accurately. They will make sure that they document everything regarding that project on paper. This way you can easily rely on the work done by this professional company or person.


What is a wetland delineation survey?

A wetland delineation survey is a process used to locate or find the wetlands present in the area by carrying out a specific survey over the area.

Can we develop in wetlands?

The answer to this question is: no. We cannot develop on wetlands if there are any present in your property. We can however apply to develop on them and get approval of that proposal from authorities. It’s all a matter of taking permission and obtaining the permit.

If there are any wetlands present, we cannot develop on them. We can however apply to develop on them and get approval of that proposal from authorities. It’s all a matter of taking permission and obtaining the permit.

We have certain limits related to the amount of water we can use for our projects in many states and other countries.

How to check whether there are any wetlands present in your property?

To check whether there are any wetlands present in your property, we can take the help of a wetland delineation survey.

That involves a professional person or company to determine the exact boundaries of the wetlands based on geography, topography and other factors.

Wetland delineation surveys also help ensure that local and state government regulations are followed, since development outside of the delineated boundaries is unlawful.

There are also various laws related to how we can use wetlands.

What are the benefits of getting a wetland delineation survey done?

The benefits of getting a wetland delineation survey done include:

  1. It helps in determining the exact boundaries or location of wetlands in your property.
  2. It helps in determining whether there are any wetlands present within the area where you want to develop. This can help you get an idea about what types of mitigation (environmental) practices are required for the wetlands on your property.
  3. It helps in providing a clear idea about what is present in your property.
  4. It helps in taking care of the legal and environmental requirements related to development within the area.
  5. It helps in reducing or eliminating any damage caused by development to the local aquatic environment in your property.
  6. In some cases, companies with pre-existing water rights to a wetland may want to develop that land themselves, in order to increase their water supply and maintain or increase their value.

What is required for a wetland delineation?

A wetland delineation requires a fee to determine who has jurisdiction over certain jurisdictional water bodies. The contractor should provide you with a written statement of work that defines what will be included in your project (i.e., field work, on-site inspections and adjoining property).

How much does wetland delineation cost?

A wetland delineation generally costs between $100 and $300. The fee depends on the size of the property and the duration of the project.

What are some examples of wetlands that I may encounter while building?

Wetlands that may be encountered while building include: ponds, swamps, marshes, bogs, fens, and floodplains. These types of wetlands can be found in lowlands near streams or rivers or on higher land with good drainage characteristics.

What should I do if the delineation I receive from my contractor is different from what I expected?

If the delineation is different from what you expected, you can request a refund of up to 50% of your money back.

You may also contact your local soil and water conservation district for additional information about the process for requesting a refund

How do you get wetland delineation experience?

Students are tested in a nearby marsh while their teacher is on the other side of the world. A passing grade of at least 80 percent is required to become a Certified Wetland Delineator after completing the course. The course normally consists of 160 hours.

What is the difference between wetland delineation and mapping?

Mapping wetland boundaries involves creating a map that shows the location of all constructions, roads, and other structure that are located near wetlands.

The delineation is a document that shows the different jurisdictions over a wetland, who the landowner is, and what the values are of the wetland.

Wetland hydroperiod definition?

It is the balance between inflows and outflows of water, soil contours, and subsurface conditions that constitutes a wetland’s hydrologic signature.

Characteristics of wetland soil?

Soggy soils, water-loving plants, and water are three of the most common characteristics of wetlands.

Hydric soils, hydrophytic vegetation, and wetland hydrology are all terms used by scientists. The delayed decomposition of organic material in certain soils can lead to large levels of organic matter.

What does delineate mean?

Delineate means to show the exact location of a border or boundary.

How long is a wetland delineation good for?

According to the regulations, the Corps letter must provide an explanation of why the wetlands delineation is only effective for a three-year period from the date of the letter.

What should I do if my wetland delineation has expired?

You should reapply as soon as possible so that your wetland delineation can be extended.

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