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A Wetland Primer for Design Professionals

Patrick C. Garner, PLS, Wetland Scientist

Course Outline

This one hour online course examines both the historical attitudes toward and contemporary uses of wetlands in American, as well as the scientific understanding of the values and functions of wetlands, particularly the ability of wetlands to mitigate flooding and supply water quality functions, while providing extensive wildlife habitat. In the last two decades extensive federal and state legislation has been enacted that recognizes these values and functions, and protects wetlands from certain defined impacts. In the same period, the science of wetlands has grown exponentially, further lending strength to state and local wetland protection. Design professionals must have a working knowledge of both the protective regulations for wetlands, as well as their values to contemporary society.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of the course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for professional architects, engineers, land surveyors and landscape architects.

Benefit to Attendees

Attendee of this course will be able to avoid design situations where otherwise unrecognized wetlands may be protected by federal, state and/or local regulations. The professional will be cognizant of potential values of wetlands for drinking water, flood protection and stormwater mitigation.

Course Introduction

An understanding of wetlands is increasingly important for design professionals, including architects, engineers, land surveyors and landscape architects. This course will acquaint you with the changed perception of wetlands in North America, contemporary definitions of wetlands, and types of wetlands found on this continent. Upon completion of this course, you will be familiar with key federal legislation and publications that have led to increasing protection of wetlands. In addition, you will understand the broad characteristics of wetlands and their value to society.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (96 KB) A Wetland Primer for Design Professionals. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

Scientists, working internationally, have agreed on universally accepted definitions for various wetland communities. Although misunderstood in the past, wetlands -- because of their numerous values and function -- are now commonly protected by federal, and often local and state, legislation. This legislation has been driven by the federal 1977 Clean Water Act.

There are many types of wetlands, defined primarily by whether they are found in coastal or inland regimes. Types of wetlands are further influenced by their hydroperiod. Wetlands provide numerous values for humans, including flood and stormwater mitigation, water supply and prevention of pollution.

[A highly recommended followup PDH course, by the same author, is called ADVANCED WETLANDS PRIMER: FIELD EVALUATION & PERMITTING CONSIDERATIONS FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS. The two-hour course examines wetland delineation methods, survey methodology and strategies for avoiding regulatory liability during project design.]

Related Links

US Corps of Engineers

US Environmental Protection Agency--Wetlands


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.