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Wetlands: Preserving Our Future

 

An American Alligator basks in the Everglades of Florida

 

Wetlands

Steve Wamback

Wetlands ecosystems and habitats are protected as "Waters of The United States" under The Clean Water Act just the same as lakes, rivers, and ocean shores. Wetlands serve as important resources, not only to the plants and creatures which inhabit them, but to humans as well. For in addition to their aesthetic, ecologic, and recreational functions to our communities, they also serve as flood water retention basins and pollution filters for our cities. Wetlands have been shown to absorb toxins and pollutants (actually metabolizing them in many cases!) where open water ecosystems have been shown to be more severely and adversely affected by similar quantities of the same contaminants.

Federal Protection of Wetlands

          Wetlands ecosystems and habitats are protected as "Waters of The United States" under The Clean Water Act just the same as lakes, rivers, and ocean shores. Wetlands serve as important resources, not only to the plants and creatures which inhabit them, but to humans as well. For in addition to their aesthetic, ecologic, and recreational functions to our communities, they also serve as flood water retention basins and pollution filters for our cities. Wetlands have been shown to absorb toxins and pollutants (actually metabolizing them in many cases!) where open water ecosystems have been shown to be more severely and adversely affected by similar quantities of the same contaminants.

          Wetlands habitats are transitional between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and may possess some of the characteristics of either or both.  Section 404 of the Clean Water Act declares wetlands to be considered as "the Waters of the < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">United States" and as such affords them the same protection provided to lakes, rivers, and other aquatic ecosystems.  Wetlands include marshes, swamps, bogs, stream banks, beaches, and floodplains.

          According to the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1344), Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual  (1987), The Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands (1989, currently under moratorium), and other Federal publications, wetlands are defined as “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 soil conditions."

          The protection of wetlands has been instituted because of the numerous ecological and human values that they afford.  These values include, but are not necessarily limited to, fish and wildlife habitat, retention of floodwaters, erosion control, recreational activities, groundwater aquifer recharge, aesthetics, and pollution control by assimilating, chemically degrading, and biologically metabolizing pollutants and toxins released by humans into the natural environment.  Wetlands rival tropical rain forests in their ability to remove carbon dioxide from and liberate oxygen into the atmosphere by shear virtue of their productivity and biomass.  Hence, numerous State and Federal regulations have been instituted to protect these valuable wetlands resources.

          Identification of wetlands is based upon three general criteria... vegetation, soils, and hydrology.  Hydrophytic (water-loving) vegetation includes those species that are uniquely adapted to withstand saturated soil conditions.  The National List of Plant Species That Occur in Wetlands (Reed, 1988) lists all of the plant species known to occur in wetlands and gives their indicator status, which is a measure of the probability of finding them in wetland or upland habitats.

          The U.S.D.A. Soil Conservation Service's Hydric Soils of The United States (1987) defines hydric soils as those soils that are saturated or inundated for sufficient frequency and duration (at least a week or more during the growing season) to develop anaerobic conditions (little or no oxygen) in the surface soil layer.  Evidence of anaerobic conditions includes gleying (shift from reddish to grayish colors due to lack of oxygen), mottling (blotchy bright and dark color patterns due to intermittent saturation), and the accumulation of dark organic material humus, muck, peat) which is retained in the soil due to the lack of aerobic (oxygenated) soil conditions.

          Hydrology is the ultimate driving force that gives rise to wetland conditions.  Generally, the wetlands hydrology criterion has been met when permanent or periodic saturation or inundation occurs at or near the ground surface for a week or more during the growing season.  Evidence of wetlands hydrology includes visual observations of saturation or inundation, oxidized root zones of plants, water-marks, drift or debris lines, sediment deposition, scoured soil surfaces, water-stained leaf litter, drainage patterns, special plant adaptations, evidence of hydrophytic vegetation ecosystem ecology, and hydric soils.

          Wetlands are identified and their boundaries are delineated on the basis of the three criteria discussed above.  Generally, all three of these criteria must be met in order for an area to beidentified as a wetland.  The Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (1987) provides specific detailed methodologies to be used for making jurisdictional wetlands determinations and for preparing wetlands delineation reports.

          Some activities that may take place in Jurisdictional Wetlands are allowed without prior notification to the Army Corps of Engineers.  These activities fall under the Nationwide Permit Program which allows for the filling of up to one acre of isolated wetlands, carrying out certain construction and maintenance activities, minor road crossings, etc. (provided that other regulations such as those for stream alteration, headwaters, coastal waters, floodplains, and other State and Local Regulations are observed).

          If Jurisdictional Wetlands are present, the Army Corps of Engineers recommends that a Wetlands Delineation Report (as defined by the Corps Manual) be prepared by a competent consultant and maintained by the developer/landowner in case of the event that site work is called into question or that a demonstration of "due diligence" is necessary.

It is NOT necessary to notify the Corps when:

1.  The activity will not affect Jurisdictional Wetlands if present.

2.  The activity falls under a Nationwide Permit except for those instances where Predischarge Notification (PDN) may be required.

3.  The project site does not contain Jurisdictional Wetlands.

It IS necessary to notify the Corps when:

1.  The activity is not covered by or exceeds coverage afforded by a Nationwide Permit or where PDN is required.

2.  The activity falls under other Federal, State, or Local regulations for which permits may be required such as stream alteration, coastal waters, floodplains, headwaters protection, unique ecology, etc.

          Observing these recommendations for Corps notification will relieve the Corps, the developer, and the local government of burdensome and unnecessary expense, paperwork, and project delays. Obtaining Letters of Jurisdiction or Non-Jurisdiction from the Corps per local Zoning and/or Planning Board request (especially when no wetlands are present, when the activity falls under a Nationwide permit, or when the activity will not affect a wetland) can take as long as six months, involves financial losses including the loss of potential tax revenues, costs for project delays, consultant fees, as well as the burden and expense of extra paperwork... none of which are even necessary or required by Federal Regulations.

          When requesting individual permits for regulated activities above and beyond those afforded by the Nationwide Permit Program and in those instances where an activity is covered by a Nationwide permit but Predischarge Notification (PDN) is required anyway, wetlands reports are submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along with any required permit applications for subsequent review and approval.  When permits are requested for any regulated activities, joint approval is generally required from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  In such cases, NYSDEC Water Quality Certification/Protection of Waters Certification may also be necessary.

          Some wetlands (generally of 12.4+ acres or of unique ecologic, biologic, geologic, historical, or cultural value) as well as those which contain New York State Classified Streams fall under New York State regulations and may require additional measures to protect these ecologically sensitive habitats such as buffer zones, Water Quality/Protection of Waters Certification, Environmental Assessment, Public Review under SEQR (full Environmental Impact Statement), etc. prior to issuance of permits and/or Water Quality Certification.

          In every instance where a project may affect The Waters of The United states or where Jurisdictional Wetlands are present, Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences advises and assists its clients in avoiding the disturbance of such areas by planning developments around these ecologically sensitive areas.  When wetlands disturbance is unavoidable, the client is advised to minimize disturbance as much as possible under the conditions of the Nationwide Permit Program which has been designed to allow development activities where Jurisdictional Waters are present but with minimal environmental impacts to the Waters of the United States, including valuable wetlands ecosystems.  This policy of avoidance over minimization over mitigation (only as a last resort) is also recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Wetlands Delineation Methodology

           The methodology employed during this investigation follows that given in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual (1987) and incorporates the Routine Onsite determination Method as outlined in Part IV-A&B of that document.  This method employs nine preliminary data-gathering procedures that were conducted prior to visiting the site followed by twenty-two site-characterization procedures that were conducted in the field.

           Baselines and transects were established and mapped in the field along which changes in plant community type were identified and noted.  Sampling points were established along each transect to further characterize vegetation community ecology including distribution and abundance of dominant species.  Soil samples were collected and hydrologic observations were made at each sampling point in each plant community or vegetation unit encountered.

             The Transect/Sampling Point Map below shows the vegetation units encountered during the present investigation.  Vegetation and soil data as well as hydrologic observations were recorded on the data sheets (1987 Dataform-1) in Appendix A.  Visual estimations of dominant plant species distribution and abundance were made and recorded.  Dominant species were ranked according to the probability of finding them in wetland or upland habitats. Wetland indicator status rankings were obtained from the National List of Plant Species That Occur in Wetlands National Summary as well as regional and State lists (Reed, 1988; U.S. Government Printing Office).  A master list of all plant species encountered along with their indicator status rankings has also been provided.

           Calculations of plant species dominance performed during the investigation are given on the data sheets in Appendix A.  Soil samples were collected in all vegetation units detected during the study.  Appendix A also lists the soils encountered along with brief descriptions. Complete soils descriptions are given in Appendix B.  Hydrologic descriptions for each of the vegetation units are included on the data sheets in Appendix A.  A step-by-step description of the field determination methods is given below.

          The field portions of the investigation consisted of traverses along the site boundaries as well as multiple transects across the study site with the specific goal of detecting and identifying any potential wetland habitats and/or upland vegetation units.  Plant and soil samples were collected for subsequent laboratory examination and more precise identification.  Visual estimates of the percent aerial extent of major plant species were made and recorded.  Observations on both surficial and downhole hydrologic conditions were made and recorded.  Dominant plant species in each stratum of each vegetation unit were determined according to the Methods described herein.

          Soil samples were collected by means of a manually driven soil probe capable of extracting 1-inch cylindrical soil core samples.  Samples were taken from the ground surface to depths of 12 to 24 inches below grade.  Soil sampling was also conducted by shovel-test borehole construction.  These samples were subjected to both field and laboratory analyses and were compared with the descriptions given in the Soil Survey of Erie County, New York (Soil Conservation Service, 1986).  The samples collected were subjected to visual, olfactory, and colorimetric examination for indications of hydric conditions. 

         The Standard Munsell Soil Color Charts were used for colorimetric determinations in an effort to detect signs of gleying, mottling, and other wetlands soil indicators. The Hydric Soils of the United States  (USDA Soil Conservation Service, 1987) was consulted for determining hydric soils as well as for identifying those soils with the potential for having hydric inclusions.   Hydrologic observations were made on the boreholes and test pits from which soil samples were collected.  Previously-published State and Federal wetlands maps were also reviewed for the presence of any wetlands detected during earlier studies in the vicinity.

           The Transect/Sampling Point Map below shows the locations where soil samples were collected.  Munsell colors for the collected samples are given on the data sheets in Appendix A.  See the photographic documentation of the investigation methods in the Appendix also.

           In addition to hydrologic field observations, topographic and geologic maps were consulted in order to ascertain influent, effluent, stationary, and subsurface hydrologic conditions affecting the study area.  Additional soil sampling took place in any vegetation unit where the hydrophytic vegetation criterion was met to further refine delineated wetland boundaries.  Soil sampling was also conducted in all other vegetation units for comparative purposes.

           Vegetation Units (distinct biological communities) were identified on the basis of dominant plant species.  (Example: Beech/Maple Upland Forest or Cattail/Bulrush Marsh.)  Sharp vegetational changes and topographically defined boundaries were identified first.   This was followed by careful examination and/or transect sampling of transitional or gradational vegetation unit boundaries.  Outlines showing the vegetation unit boundaries for the entire site (wetland and upland) were drawn on a site map. 

          Visual estimates were made of the percent aerial extent of each major species in each stratum of each vegetation unit (see Dilworth & Bell, 1978 and Avery & Buckhart, 1983).  The four vegetation strata described are:  Tree, Sapling/Shrub,  Vine, and Herb.  All dominant species and their wetlands indicator status rankings were recorded on data sheets for each stratum and then again for all strata at each sampling point within each vegetation unit.

The Hydrophytic Vegetation Criterion           

          When 50% of all dominant species from all strata in a vegetation unit were OBL, FACW, or FAC, the hydrophytic vegetation requirement was considered to have been met.  If 50% of all of the dominant plant species did not fall within the OBL/FACW/FAC group, the vegetation unit was not considered a wetland because the hydrophytic vegetation criterion was not met.  (Caution was exercised to determine whether or not vegetation units lacking hydrophytic vegetation were "Special Case" wetlands or "Atypical Situations" as outlined in the Manual.)

           If all dominant plant species in a vegetation unit were OBL and/or FACW with an abrupt boundary, hydric soils were assumed to be present... such units are wetlands.  If any dominant species was ranked FAC or lower, soils were examined in greater detail for hydric characteristics.  If the hydrophytic vegetation criterion is not met and none of the "Special Case" situations described in the Manual apply, the vegetation unit is not a jurisdictional wetland and no further action may be necessary.  (It should be noted, however, that State and Federal regulations make provisions for special cases where one or more criteria may be lacking but particular ecological, historic, scientific, cultural, or social value may necessitate conservation and preservation measures.)

The Hydric Soils Criterion          

          In order to determine whether or not the hydric soils criterion was met, previously-published information such as the Soil Survey and Hydric Soils of the United States were consulted.  Additionally, field sampling was conducted and soils were examined for hydric indicators such as gleying, mottling, iron concretions, unoxidized organic materials, etc.  Vegetation units meeting the hydric soils and the hydrophytic vegetation criteria were delineated as wetlands.  In vegetation units where these criteria were lacking, upland status was assigned.  However, caution was exercised to determine whether "Special Case" wetland status was applicable.

The Hydrology Criterion

          The presence of wetlands hydrology was determined by looking for evidence of saturation, inundation, or evidence of shallow depth to the water table for a week or more during the growing season (April through October).  Field indicators included: water marks, plant adaptations, channels, "piping", black-stained leaves, standing water, hydrogen sulfide odor (rotten egg smell), debris lines, etc.  Although certain hydrologic indicators are very subtle, it should be noted that hydrology is the ultimate driving force in wetland development. Vegetation units exhibiting overwhelming evidence of wetlands hydrology were delineated as wetlands.  Units, where one or two of the three wetlands criteria were lacking, were examined carefully for "Special Case" conditions.  Vegetation units not meeting any or all of the three wetlands criteria were assigned upland status.

          Wetland boundaries as determined by the methods described above were flagged, surveyed, and mapped.  These methods culminated in the preparation of the wetlands delineation map given below.

Local Geology Hydrology And Wetlands

            The soils in the Town of Hamburg, New York were deposited during glacial and post glacial time (over the past 12,000 years) upon much older Middle and Upper Devonian shale bedrock which is approximately 350 million years old.  This bedrock ranges from Middle Devonian in age to the north and west of the town to Upper Devonian in age in the south and east portions of the town. Layers of soft gray fossiliferous shale are interbanded and interbedded with black petroliferous layers of black shale in the area and all-black shale begins to dominate bedrock strata  further to the south.

         Because of the conditions under which these black shales were deposited, natural radioactivity was retained in the rocks.  Hence, the emission of potentially dangerous radon gas is very high in areas underlain by these black shales… particularly in the “Southtowns” of Western New York State including: Hamburg, Eden, Evans, and Orchard Park.  Thus, extra caution is advised during building design and construction to prevent the entry and accumulation of radon.  Under-slab gravel-embedded perforated PVC pipe collection and ventilation systems as well as dedicated basement fan and chimney exhaust systems have been used successfully to reduce natural radon concentrations (AND builder's liability for radon) in homes and buildings in Western New York.  Because of the importance of preventing dangerous radon concentrations and the potential liability (to builders and local governments) for such, Professional Engineers should be consulted regarding radon testing, its presence, abatement, mitigation and venting in buildings and homes constructed in areas underlain by black shales as is the case of  much of Western New York.

          Depth to bedrock in the Hamburg-Eden area ranges from as deep as 20 or more feet to as shallow as 2 or fewer feet.  The overburden soils (everything above bedrock) were largely deposited in a beach/ glacial lake environment during post-glacial time (the past 12,000-15,000 years).  Due to differing wave energies as these ancient lake levels rose and fell, sediments ranging from coarse to fine were deposited in varying proportions (separately and mixed) in overlapping layers.  Thus, clays (the finest sediments) were deposited in deep water/low wave energy environments while sands and gravels (coarse sediments) were deposited in shallow water high wave energy environments such as on the beach and at the shoreline during and between storms. As these ancient lake levels rose, clays were deposited over sands and gravels. 

          As lake levels fell, sands and gravels were deposited over clays. (Silts fall in the middle of the sediment Size/depositional environment continuum.)   The Silty Loamy Soils which dominate the site were deposited in that ancient glacial lake environment and were subsequently reworked by the ancestral Eighteen Mile Creek stream and floodplain (just north of the site) and the nearby Eden Valley stream and floodplain complex over the past 12,000 to 15,000 years.

          Due to its natural properties, clay has the tendency to preclude or greatly slow down the movement of water through itself or through sedimentary deposits containing large proportions of clay.  This is known as low permeability (water moves through slowly).  Coarser sediments like sand and gravel have the tendency to transmit water faster (have high permeability) due to the larger size of the pore spaces between the sediment grains.  If these pore spaces become filled with silt or clay particles, as is the case with loams and tills, permeability is decreased.  Poorly sorted (mixed grain size) soils with high clay contents, such as some glacial till deposits, are less permeable than well sorted (uniform grain size) soils such as beech sands and gravels, from which clay was washed out into deeper waters during storms.

          Hydric soils form in areas where water accumulates for any significant amount of time during the year.  Standing water has the tendency to seal out oxygen such that only plant species uniquely adapted to survive in anoxic (low oxygen) soil environments can flourish.  Low oxygen environments are acidic/reducing (as opposed to basic/oxidizing) and tend to favor the accumulation of organic materials (humus, muck, peat) and the leaching (dissolution and migration) of nutrients such as iron, manganese, and calcium carbonate (limestone) from the soil.  These nutrients percolate downward very slowly and precipitate (crystallize out of solution) in soil layers where the acidity is lower.  This explains the presence of iron/manganese nodules and the absence of calcium carbonate that were encountered in some of the wetland soils during the Site Wetlands Investigation.

          When water fills the pore spaces between soil particles and covers the soil surface, the rate that oxygen diffuses through the soil is drastically reduced.  Diffusion of oxygen through water-logged soils (wetlands) has been shown to be 10,000 times slower than oxygen diffusion through porous media such as well drained soils (Gambrel & Patrick, 1978).  Oxygen depletion in saturated soils takes place within several hours to several days after inundation begins, depending on the oxygen demands of the organisms and chemical compounds in the soil.

          The resulting lack of oxygen prevents plants from carrying out normal aerobic (oxygenated) root respiration and also affects the availability and abundance of both nutrients and metabolic toxins in the soil.  Thus, ferric iron (+3) which normally imparts a reddish-brown color to oxidized soils, becomes reduced (gives up oxygen).  The reduced sediments, dominated by ferrous iron (+2) sulfide (FeS) are often bluish gray to black in color (gleyed) and emit the odor of rotten eggs (hydrogen sulfide) when disturbed.  In addition to the other hydric soil indicators and parameters discussed in the Methodology Section above, gleying and sulfurous odors were used as field indicators to aid in distinguishing between wetland and upland soils during the Site Wetlands Investigation.

          Wetlands which are lower than their surroundings, as is usually the case and is the case at the Project Site, are subjected to surface water inflows of several types. Overland flow is a non-channelized sheet flow that usually occurs during and immediately following a rainfall or spring thaw.  This type of flow is classically exemplified over much of the site where surface waters flow down gradient (westward) across the site and from the site into streams which exit to the west of the site along the Gas Pipeline which marks the west site boundary.

          If a wetland is influenced by a drainage basin, channelized streamflow may enter and exit the wetland during most or all of the year (Mitsch & Gosselink, 1986). This portion of Hamburg and Eden is influenced greatly by the Eighteen Mile Creek Drainage Basin… into which surface water from much of the area flows.  In addition to serving as a receiving system for surface water inflow from the site, the wetlands at the site serve to drain other properties adjacent to the site.  Thus, in addition to the legality of keeping these wetlands intact, it serves as a means of removing storm water runoff for a large area both including and surrounding the site.

          Once established, wetland vegetation influences hydrologic conditions by binding sediments to reduce erosion, by trapping sediment, by interrupting water flows, and by building up peat deposits (Mitsch & Gosselink, 1986 and Gosselink, 1984). Hence, even artificially-induced wetland conditions can become enhanced and perpetuated.  Such artificially created wetlands habitats have been encountered in tire ruts and along utility easements at other nearby sites in the Town of Evans (Bennett Road and Kellogg Lakefront) during previous wetlands investigations.  This is also the case along the gas pipelines at the site.   The disturbance caused by these pipelines has reduced drainage at the site and is responsible for actually enhancing wetland conditions and areas.

          The preservation of the herein delineated wetlands will favor the drainage of developed portions of the site.   All wetlands are protected by Section 404 of The Clean Water Act and are considered to be "Waters of The United States" no matter how they are formed.

          Hydrogeologic conditions are important factors in determining the structure and function of wetland systems.  Hydrology affects many abiotic (non-living) factors including oxygen and nutrient levels in the soil and water.  These in turn determine the flora and fauna that can inhabit wetland areas.  Finally, completing the cycle, biotic components are active in altering wetlands hydrology (Mitsch & Gosselink, 1986).  The Biological data collected during this study (see Appendix A) reflect the underlying geologic and hydrogeologic conditions and serve to further substantiate this analysis of the site geology and hydrology.

Wetlands Identification, Delineation, & Mapping Projects Completed

WAMBACK, S.J. 1990. Preliminary Wetlands Investigation at the Proposed Lake Point Mobile Home Community, Batavia, New York. Prepared for: The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1990. Preliminary Wetlands Investigation at the Proposed Parwood Estates Subdivision, Cheektowaga, New York.  Prepared for: The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

FREEMAN, D.F. and S.J. WAMBACK. 1990. Preliminary Wetlands Investigation at the Proposed Saddlebrook Pointe Townhouses Subdivision, Hamburg, New York Prepared for: E.F. Burke Realty & Construction Company and Nussbaumer & Clarke, Inc. Prepared by: D.F. Freeman and 5.1. Wamback, Wetlands Scientists.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1990. Wetlands Delineation at the Proposed Sonwil Drive (South) Light Industrial Park, Cheektowaga, New York. Prepared for: the Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

FREEMAN, D.F. and S.J. WAMBACK. 1991. Preliminary Wetlands Investigation at the Proposed Club at Kingbrook (Former Bluemont Ski Area) In the Town of Yorkshire, New York Prepared for: The Kingbrook Development Corporation. Prepared by: D.F. Freeman and S.J. Wamback, Wetlands Scientists.

FREEMAN, D.F. and S.J. WAMBACK. 1991. Wetlands Delineation Report For the Proposed Bennett Road Residential Development In The Town of Evans, New York.  Prepared for: Rysen Properties, Inc. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Prepared By: D.F. Freeman and S.J. Wamback, Wetlands Scientists.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1991. Wetlands Delineation Report for the Proposed Eastgate Plaza Site at Transit and Greiner Roads in the Town of Clarence, New York.  Prepared for: The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared By: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1991. Wetlands Investigation at the Proposed Tasseff Terrace Subdivision in The Town of Hamburg, New York.  Prepared for: Mr. Thomas Tasseff. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. and D.F. FREEMAN. 1991. Environmental Impact Statement For The Proposed Club at Kingbrook Development (Former Bluemont Ski Area) in The Town of Yorkshire, New York [Geological, Hydrological, Biological, Natural History and Wetlands sections]. Prepared for: Kingbrook Development Corporation and D.R. Matthews & Associates. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences and Deborah A. Freeman, Consulting Biologist and Hydrologist.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1991. Wetlands Investigation of the Proposed Highland Heights Subdivision in The Town of Hamburg, New York.  Prepared for: Mr. Thomas Mosey. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1991. Wetlands Delineation of a Proposed Bird Sanctuary and Nature Preserve at The Pine Rest Pet Cemetery in The Town of West Seneca, New York.   Prepared for: Mr. Edward Jordan and The Pine Rest Pet Cemetery. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1991. Wetlands Investigation and Delineation For the Proposed New Construction at The Resurrection Life Fellowship in the Town of Cheektowaga, New York.  Prepared for: Rev. John Tonelli, Mr. Greg Glovins, and Resurrection Life Fellowship. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. and T.M. PIECZYNSKI. 1991. Wetlands Delineation of The Kellogg Lakefront Estate in the Town of Evans, New York Prepared for: Mr. Frederick Pierce, II and Mr. Peter F. Hunt. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Groundwater Exploration and Aqujfer Characterization Program for The Kingbrook Resort Development in Yorkshire (Cattaraugus County), New York.  Prepared for: the Kingbrook Development Corporation. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program for the Proposed Transit/Rehm Roads Development in the Town of Lancaster, New York.  Prepared for: The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program for the Proposed Evans Lake Street Subdivision in the Town of Evans, New York.   Prepared for Mr. Ralph S. Hogg, Jr. and Melody Meadows Estates, Developer. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Evans Lake Street Subdivision Stream Disturbance Permit Application Package To The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Prepared for Mr. Ralph S. Hogg and Hogg Builders, Inc. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program for the Transit Road at Losson Road (NW) Development in The Town of Cheektowaga, New York. Prepared for The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Wetlands Reconnaissance Survey at the Proposed Transit-French Subdivision Site In The Town Of Lancaster, New York.  Prepared for: Transit-French Associates. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1992. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the Proposed New Corporate Offices and Regional Warehouse / Distribution Center in the Town of Henrietta, New York.  Prepared for: Mr. Richard Tocha of Delaware Marketing, Inc. and Mr. Frank Wailand of F.J. Wailand Associates. Prepared By: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at Transit and Hamm Roads in the Town of Lockport, New York.  Prepared for The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the Losson-Green Estates Subdivision in the Town of Cheektowaga, New York Prepared for Losson Green Estates. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the McKinley Parkway / Big Tree Road Site (Future Walmart Plaza) in the Town of Hamburg, New York.  Prepared for: The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared By: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program for the Proposed Grand Park Vue Estates Subdivision in the Town of Grand Island, New York.  Prepared for: Mr. Joseph Calvano of Calvano Builders and Real Estate, Grand Island. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program for the Trans it Road at Aero Drive Development in the Town of Lancaster, New York.  Prepared for The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1993. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the Transit Road at Genesee Street Site (SW) in the Town of Cheektowaga, New York.  Prepared for The Bella Vista Group, Inc. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 1996. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the Proposed Old Mill Run Townhouses Development in the Town of Evans, New York  Prepared for Mr. Albert Damerau and Associates. Prepared by Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

WAMBACK, S.J. 2004. Wetlands Identification, Delineation, and Mapping Program at the Proposed Ridgefield Terrace Subdivision (Phase III)  in The Town of Hamburg, New York.  Prepared for: Mr. Thomas Tasseff and Tasseff Terrace Homes, Inc. Prepared by: Great Lakes Geological & Environmental Sciences.

 

 Wetlands Bibliography & References

(The entries that appear in this bibliography were either referred to directly in the text or were used as background information for the study and are recommended for further reading.)

Archer, R.J., LaSala, A.M., Jr. and Kammerer, J.C. 1968. Chemical Quality of Streams in the Erie-Niagara Basin, New York. State of New York Conservation Department Water Resources Commission, Basin Planning Report ENB-4, 104 pg.

Baird, G.C., C.E. Brett, and S.J. Wamback. 1988. Regional, Late Diagenetic, Color  Hardness Gradient in Paleozoic Marine Mudstone Deposits, Lake Ontario Region: A Potential Measure of Basin Thermal History. Presented at SEPM Midyear Meeting, Columbus, Ohio. August 24,1988.

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STEP BY STEP

Wetlands Delineation Methodology

1987 WETLANDS DELINEATION MANUAL * ROUTINE ONSITE INVESTIGATION

STEP 1.  LOCATE PROJECT AREA.

STEP 2.  DETERMINE WHETHER ATYPICAL SITUATION EXISTS.

STEP 3.  DETERMINE FIELD CHARACTERIZATION APPROACH.

(FOLLOW STEPS 4-17 FOR HOMOGENEOUS AREAS OF 5 OR FEWER ACRES)

(PROCEED TO STEP 18 FOR DIVERSE AREAS LARGER THAN 5 ACRES)

STEP 4.  IDENTIFY PLANT COMMUNITY TYPES.                                             

STEP 5.  DETERMINE WHETHER NORMAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT.

STEP 6.  SELECT REPRESENTATIVE OBSERVATION POINTS.

STEP 7.  CHARACTERIZE EACH PLANT COMMUNITY TYPE.

STEP 8.  RECORD THE INDICATOR STATUS OF DOMINANT VEGETATION SPECIES.

STEP 9.  DETERMINE WHETHER HYDROPHYTIC VEGETATION IS PRESENT.

STEP 10. APPLY WETLAND HYDROLOGIC INDICATORS.

STEP 11. DETERMINE WHETHER WETLANDS HYDROLOGY IS PRESENT.

STEP 12. DETERMINE WHETHER SOILS MUST BE CHARACTERIZED.

STEP 13. DIG SOIL TEST PITS.

STEP 14. APPLY HYDRIC SOIL INDICATORS.

STEP 15. DETERMINE WHETHER HYDRIC SOILS ARE PRESENT.

(SEE MAPS AND DATA SHEETS ATTACHED TO THIS REPORT)

STEP 16. MAKE WETLAND DETERMINATION (ALL THREE PARAMETERS PRESENT).

STEP 17. DETERMINE WETLAND-NONWETLAND BOUNDARY.

(FOLLOW STEPS 18 THROUGH 22 FOR DIVERSE AREAS LARGER THAN 5 ACRES)

STEP 18. ESTABLISH BASELINE PARALLEL TO THE MAIN WATERCOURSE OR PERPENDICULAR TO THE HYDROLOGIC GRADIENT.

STEP 19. DETERMINE REQUIRED NUMBER AND POSITIONS OF TRANSECTS.                                                                

STEP 20. SAMPLE OBSERVATION POINTS ALONG EACH TRANSECT.

STEP 20-A. DETERMINE WHETHER NORMAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT

STEP 20-B. ESTABLISH OBSERVATION POINTS IN EACH PLANT COMMUNITY TYPE

ENCOUNTERED ALONG EACH TRANSECT.

STEP 20-C. CHARACTERIZE PARAMETERS OF 1. VEGETATION, 2. SOILS, AND

3. HYDROLOGY AT EACH OBSERVATION POINT ALONG EACH TRANSECT.

STEP 20-D. MAKE WETLAND-NONWETLAND DETERMINATION ON BASIS OF

VEGETATION, SOILS, AND HYDROLOGY AT EACH OBSERVATION POINT.

STEP 20-E. SAMPLE OTHER OBSERVATION POINTS (AT LEAST ONE FOR EACH

PLANT COMMUNITY) ALONG EACH TRANSECT.

STEP 20-F. DETERMINE WETLAND-NONWETLAND BOUNDARY. (ESTABLISH

OBSERVATION POINTS AND FILL OUT DATA FORMS FOR BOTH WETLAND AND

UPLAND VEGETATION COMMUNITIES AND FOR WETLAND©UPLAND BOUNDARY.)  

STEP 21. SAMPLE ALL OTHER TRANSECTS AS IN STEP 20 A-F ABOVE.

STEP 22. SYNTHESIZE DATA. (PREPARE MAP OF WETLAND BOUNDARIES BY CONNECTING  BOUNDARY OBSERVATION POINTS.

REFINE BOUNDARIES BY DIRECT FIELD OBSERVATION AND/OR ADDITIONAL TRANSECTS AND OBSERVATION POINTS.

 

 

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