VSP Wetland Resources
Regulatory exemptions and protections for farmed wetlands
In some cases, wetlands have long been used for agricultural production. Ongoing agriculture in these areas is exempt under state and federal wetland protection statutes. We recognize that these wetland areas may continue to be farmed under state wetland protection statutes.
Even though they are in production, farmed wetlands can continue to provide important wetland functions, such as waterfowl migration or overwintering areas. Use of best management practices and conservation practices can help enhance these functions while complementing ongoing farming operations.
Wetlands in agricultural areas are subject to state and federal regulations when:
While the evaluation of wetland protection is at the watershed scale under the Voluntary Stewardship Program, restoring and enhancing wetlands in one part of a watershed do not compensate for new wetland impacts in other areas of the watershed.
Protection and enhancement activities under VSP are intended to reduce impacts and enhance critical areas in agricultural areas through voluntary measures, not to offset new impacts.
We assist local governments in their efforts to adopt local critical areas wetland regulations that protect wetlands and their functions based on best available science.
To create a baseline map of wetlands for VSP planning and implementation, we recommend the following, depending on your location and what data are available in your area. In some areas we recommend using multiple datasets which you can download in a digital form.
The Washington Department of Agriculture maybe able to assist with creating GIS maps displaying the intersection of wetland and agriculture. For assistance please contact Perry Beale at the Washington Department of Agriculture at PBeale@agr.wa.gov or 360-951-9098.
Wetland Change Analysis and the Modeled Wetlands Inventory
Our Wetland Change Analysis project project partnered with NOAA's Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) to develop a method to create a Modeled Wetlands Inventory to more accurately map wetlands in the state. The inventory is based on a land cover classification which utilized Landsat scenes which were analyzed according to C-CAP protocol to determine land cover. This involved extracting the wetlands land cover classifications from the overall land cover layer.
NOAA applied the improved wetland layer to previous C-CAP analyses, including 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1992. C-CAP will use the improved wetland layer for land cover mapping and analyses every 5 years. For detailed information, see the C-CAP Wetland Assessment Report.
The Modeled Wetland Inventory:
National Wetlands Inventory
The National Wetlands Inventory is the only statewide map of wetlands. It was created by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for the entire country over time using interpretation of aerial photographs at various scales.
In much of eastern Washington it is the only wetlands map available. However, the USFWS policy was to exclude certain types of "farmed wetlands" from the inventory. There is no record of the types or locations of farmed wetlands that were excluded from the NWI covering Washington State.
National Hydrography Dataset
The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is used to portray surface water on The National Map at a 1:24,000 scale. These data are designed to be used in general mapping and in the analysis of surface water systems such as rivers, streams, canals, lakes, ponds, coastline, dams, and stream gages. The NHD is produced by the United States Geological Survey, and we manage the data for Washington.
This data set can be used to supplement the wetland inventories to portray how mapped wetlands relate spatially to other surface water bodies.
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