The Swamp School

The Swamp School

Wetland Delineation Training



The new Army Corps of Engineers Wetland Regional Supplements are published and many of them are being used for permit decisions. Even if you are an experienced wetland delineator, you need this class. Each Regional Supplement presents unique challenges that warrant training to fully understand.

The Swamp School has developed a customized learning program for each of these regions. The classes are offered in local provinces based on socio-economic as well as ecological characteristics. Each province has unique features that include several wetland manuals. Most states require the use of more than one regional supplement.

The Swamp School’s method of teaching includes using all of the required regional supplements that are associated with the province. Students benefit by gaining an understanding of the subtle differences between the manuals. Geographic divides do not always represent the intricacies of the ecoregions identified in the various Regional Supplements. This class highlights where which manual should be used and why.

The training includes a 4-day field and classroom workshop. In the classroom, we will present the specific refinements to the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. Both manuals present changes to the analysis of soils, vegetation, and hydrology. The focus of the discussion will be to highlight the changes as well as discuss potential ramifications of adding new wetland indicators. Many of the public comments focused on the implication that sites might be called wetlands under the new Manuals that may not have been identified using just the 1987 Manual.

During the field portion of the class, we will complete several data points using the new Regional Supplement data forms. Sites have been selected to focus on the appropriate Regional Supplements and the local environmental conditions. On all sites, the 1987 Manual will also be utilized to compare and highlight any changes in the analysis. We will also identify strategies to present to the Corps if a site meets the Regional Supplement wetland criteria, but not the 1987 Manual criteria.

All New for 2019 – Point Intercept Method

Each student will receive as part of this class our all-new custom wetland densitometer.  In addition, we will also include a custom automated vegetation inventory worksheet specifically designed to be used with the USACOE Point Intercept Sampling Method.

Key Objectives for the Course:

At the end of this course, students should be able to.

  • Distinguish key manuals and their usage in wetland determination
  • Recognize important historical milestones in wetland delineation
  • Know key case law which affects wetland delineation
  • Pinpoint key agencies and their role in wetland determination
  • Understand the nature of the classification of Waters of the United States
  • Demonstrate knowledge of who can issue a Jurisdictional Determination and which agencies oversee the 404 program
  • Identify hydrophytes and their use in wetland delineation
  • Map plant communities and their respective data points
  • Demonstrate basic competency in basic hydrology and recognition of key hydrology indicators
  • Determine hydric soils and usage of Munsell Soil Chart
  • Understand problem areas and local differences in wetland delineation
  • Recognize atypical wetland areas and how to account for these in wetland delineation
  • Use various data collected to write reports used for wetland determination by USACE
  • Capture and understand offsite data usage in wetland delineation
  • Distinguish between the two approaches of onsite wetland delineation
  • Proper placement of flags demarking wetland areas

Materials Needed for Class:

You will need to provide the following items for this class:

  • Munsell Soil Color Chart
  • Soil auger or spade
  • Local plant field guides
  • Digital camera


The class is taught by Mark LaRue.  Mark has over 30 years of expertise in the Corporate and Federal Government (EPA) sectors working with Clean Water Act Permitting, State Water Regulations, Protected Species, Ecosystem Evaluation and Restoration, and Conservation Easements.

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