Reporting Status: normal
Wet bulb heat category: White as of 8/1/2014 11:03 AM
Fire danger rating: Green as of 5/12/2014 07:27 AM

Wetlands Management Program


 

 

Environmental
Natural Resources


Wetlands Management Program

Wetlands Management Program

(315) 772-4729

Fort Drum Wetlands Management Program personnel assess installation property for the presence of wetlands by performing delineations, monitor projects which impact wetlands, and ensure that proper permitting and mitigation take place.

Wetlands are of any size and under normal conditions meet all of the following criteria:

Vegetation present is predominantly hydrophytic

    * Vegetation is inventoried at sites to determine the dominant vegetation types and their wetland indicator status.

Hydric soils are present (hydric indicators present)

    * Soils are studied down to a depth of approximately 18" to determine color, texture and the presence or absence of hydric indicators, such as mottling, oxidized root zones, etc.

Wetland hydrology present

    * The area is surveyed for any signs of hydrology - standing water, silt deposits, soil characterization, etc.

 

 

Definition of Wetlands:

Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, or similar areas.
trees in wetland area

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The following list contains answers to questions that the Wetlands Management Program has received. You may click on any of the questions listed below to find the answer. If you do not find an answer to your question please call the Wetlands Program Manager at (315) 772-4729.

    * What are wetlands?
    * Who regulates wetlands?
    * Why does the Army regulate wetlands? Aren't wetlands strictly a concern of the environmental community?
    * Why isn't there any water in some of the areas delineated as wetlands?
    * Are ponds and lakes considered wetlands?
    * Shouldn't we be eliminating wetlands, not saving them-because of West Nile Virus?
    * Why shouldn't I build in a wetland or floodplain?
    * Why does Fort Drum have a Wetlands Management Program?
    * What is a mitigation bank and why does Fort Drum have one?


Q: What are wetlands?

A: The US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency jointly define wetlands as “areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances, do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas”.
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Q: Who regulates wetlands?

A: The answer to this question depends on where you live. There are federal entities [US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)] that all have some jurisdiction over wetlands. The first two are primarily regulatory, while the latter two can assist in managing wetlands through various cooperative programs and tax relief. Each State also has regulatory and management responsibilities depending on the degree to which USACE's and EPA's responsibilities have been turned over to them. In some communities, local governments may also play a role in regulation and management of wetlands.
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Q: Why does the Army regulate wetlands? Aren't wetlands strictly a concern of the environmental community?

A: The original intent behind wetland protection was for military/strategic reasons. The military wanted to maintain and protect America's harbors and shipping lanes from sabotage, blockage, and other obstacles to their management. Since those times, flood protection and ecological considerations have expanded USACE's expertise and jurisdiction with respect to wetlands. The Clean Water Act regulates filling of wetlands, which can have negative impacts on the ecology and flood handling capacity of waterways.
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Q: Why isn't there any water in some of the areas delineated as wetlands?

A: Wetlands need not be wet all year. They only need to be wet for a long enough period to affect soil chemistry enough to foster growth of the wetland plants unique to wetland ecosystems. The soil may be still be wet in the root zones of these plants, and not on the surface.
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Q: Are ponds and lakes considered wetlands?

A: Deepwater and open water habitats that do not grow emergent plants are not considered wetlands, but are typically still regulated as “waters of the United States.” Shallow shoreline areas in these bodies of water that do support wetland plants are considered "lacustrine" or lake-associated wetlands. Some open water habitats that support aquatic vegetation may qualify as "special aquatic sites" and may be subject to regulation.
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Q: Shouldn't we be eliminating wetlands, not saving them-because of West Nile Virus?

A: No, we should not be eliminating wetlands. West Nile virus is carried by mosquitoes that breed, hatch and originate in water-filled cavities such as old tires, discarded coffee cans, and other small pockets of water. Furthermore, open water wetlands have predatory insects (some have fish and amphibians) that eliminate many mosquito larvae. Many wetlands that are saturated but do not have standing water do not support mosquito larvae.
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Q: Why shouldn't I build in a wetland or floodplain?

A: Wetlands and floodplains help to handle flood flows. The displacement of waters occupied by communities built in floodplains either raises flood waters locally or passes them downstream to others to deal with. Lawsuits between the downstream residents that get flooded out and those upstream residents who caused the floods are commonplace. Additionally, building in areas that historically flood will likely continue to flood, and you will more likely have continued problems with localized flooding.
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Q: Why does Fort Drum have a Wetlands Management Program?

A: Wetlands may occupy as much as 20% of Fort Drum's land base. Fort Drum manages existing facilities and training ranges and also builds new ones. Where and when it is not possible to avoid wetlands, Fort Drum must obtain permits from USACE and other agencies. Often, Fort Drum must build wetlands to compensate for those lost to construction. This process is called mitigation. Mitigation wetlands must be properly designed and approved by USACE, and Fort Drum's Wetland Program oversees the design, construction, monitoring, and management of these wetlands. Fort Drum developed a wetlands management program due to the substantial workload and amount of time required for wetland permitting.
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Q: What is a mitigation bank and why does Fort Drum have one?

A: A mitigation bank is an assemblage of wetlands, built before construction projects, to offset (as mitigation) the impacts of these future projects. Acres of these banked wetlands are placed as "credits" into an "account" and "withdrawn" as "debits" as impacts mount from subsequent projects. Fort Drum developed a mitigation bank to shorten the permitting process for projects. Whereas the usual "individual permit" can take months or years to obtain, withdrawals from a mitigation bank are expected to take weeks, at most months.
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