Wetland Assessment

More than 80% of the wetlands once found in West Virginia have been lost. They were filled in or drained to grow crops, build towns and roads, and extract minerals. With the loss of our wetlands went the many services they provide. The Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Food Security Act of 1985 aim to stop the net loss of wetlands nationwide. In West Virginia, DEP works with other agencies to protect wetlands through monitoring, assessment, restoration, and regulation.

Wetlands can improve water quality, reduce flood impacts, help streams flow, provide wildlife habitat, and contribute to a healthy environment. Wet Virginia’s wetlands perform these functions in various ways, depending on the plants, soils, hydrology, and stressors in each wetland.

Resources and Tools for Wetland Assessment and Restoration

  • WVWRAM
    • Description: The Watershed Assessment Branch of DEP has developed a standardized method for rapidly assessing some of the important natural functions of all types of wetlands present in West Virginia. It is called the West Virginia Wetland Rapid Assessment Method (WVWRAM). WVWRAM uses on-site observations and off-site spatial data. This is a regulatory assessment tool for agency staff and environmental professionals. It requires a knowledge of Geographic Information Systems as well as wetland soils, plants, hydrology, and stressors.
    • A WV Rapid Assessment Methodology Public Meeting was held on February 12th, 2020 from 1pm to 3pm at the WV DEP Charleston Headquarters Office. The meeting focused on topics discussed in the public notice. Click on the link below to view the public notice.
  • WVWRAM Training
    • Description: At this moment trainings for the 2019 season have concluded. Please stay tuned for more information about trainings in 2021.
  • Restoration Planting Tool
    • Description: Would you like to restore native plants to your wetland or upland site in West Virginia? The Restoration Planting Tool matches your site with known native plant communities in West Virginia and predicts the species that will thrive and provide great habitat for native birds, butterflies, and other species. It requires Microsoft Office Access software and an Internet connection and is available to the public.
  • Wetland Mapping
    • Description: View mapped wetlands in West Virginia, including wetland types and preliminary wetland function (WVWRAM) scores. Note that West Virginia's wetland maps are based on the National Wetland Inventory, which was mapped in the early 1980's in our area. Many wetlands are only approximately mapped. Smaller, drier, or forested wetlands are often missing from this map. WVDEP hopes to be able to update the wetland maps after LiDAR imagery becomes available for the state.
  • Wetland Program Plan
    • Description: Read West Virginia’s 5-year plan for protecting, restoring, monitoring, and regulating wetlands.
  • Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants
    • Richly illustrated field guide to the 100 most common wetland plants in West Virginia, and tips on distinguishing them from look-alikes. Two formats are available.
    • Digital
      • Description: Simple PDF for computer or tablet.
    • Print
      • Description: Print-ready PDF (for color 2-sided printing; after printing cut the sheets in half, collate and staple/bind).
  • Wetland Resource Guide
    • Description: Please visit our wetland resource guide for more information and resources on wetlands.