Differential assessment of designations of wetland status using two delineation methods

Meiyin Wu, Dennis Kalma, Carol Treadwell-Steitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Two different methods are commonly used to delineate and characterize wetlands. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) delineation method uses field observation of hydrology, soils, and vegetation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wetland Inventory Program (NWI) relies on remote sensing and photointerpretation. This study compared designations of wetland status at selected study sites using both methods. Twenty wetlands from the Wetland Boundaries Map of the Ausable-Boquet River Basin (created using the revised NWI method) in the Ausable River watershed in Essex and Clinton Counties, NY, were selected for this study. Sampling sites within and beyond the NWI wetland boundaries were selected. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, wetland hydrology, soils, and vegetation were examined for wetland indicators following the methods described in the ACOE delineation manual. The study shows that the two methods agree at 78 % of the sampling sites and disagree at 22 % of the sites. Ninety percent of the sampling locations within the wetland boundaries on the NWI maps were categorized as ACOE wetlands with all three ACOE wetland indicators present. A binary linear logistic regression model analyzed the relationship between the designations of the two methods. The outcome of the model indicates that 83 % of the time, the two wetland designation methods agree. When discrepancies are found, it is the presence or absence of wetland hydrology and vegetation that causes the differences in delineation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • NWI
  • National Wetlands Inventory
  • Wetland delineation
  • Wetlands


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