Contact

Burd Run Interdisciplinary
Watershed Research Laboratory

Shearer Hall
1871 Old Main Dr.
Shippensburg, PA 17257

Email: cjwolt@ship.edu

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Wetland Delineation Project

GEO 528 Geography of Economic and Environmental Systems

Wetlands today are valuable environmental systems that have very significant economic impacts in regions where they are located. Wetlands are valuable to local governments and industry because they: 

· Improve water quality
· Control floodwaters
· Control erosion
· Provide natural resource products
· Support fish and wildlife
· Provide a setting for outdoor recreation
· Provide educational opportunities
· Help preserve the natural beauty of the community 

The research assignment will require you to identify wetland areas in a plot adjacent to Shippensburg University along Fogelsonger Road (Figure 1). The plot of land assigned for study is owned by Shippensburg Township and class members have permission to perform a field investigation of the plot. Your assignment requires you to perform the following tasks on the assigned plot:

1. Identify wetland areas by hydrophytic plants - plants adapted to life in saturated soil conditions.

 

2. Identify wetland areas by hydric soils - soils that are characterized by their wetness. The federal delineation manual classifies soils as hydric if they meet the criteria set by the                             National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils.

3. Identify wetland areas by wetlands hydrology - the presence of water at or near the surface at some time during the growing season. 

4. After walking and studying the assigned plot and analyzing the three criteria in (1) hydrophytic plants, (2) hydric soils, and (3) wetlands hydrology, draw a rough wetland - nonwetland boundary on a sketch map of the plot. 

5. On the sketch map, note any environmental (for example, a spring) or economic activities (for example, agricultural activities) that are present on the assigned plot. 

6. What unique environmental subsystems are present on the plot? 

7. What economic functions are occurring on the plot? 

8. What effect does the wetland area have on the local region? 

9. What effect does the wetland area have on the larger region and the Chesapeake Bay area? 

10. As part of your on-site inspection, be sure to review topographic maps, National Wetland Inventory Maps, soil surveys and site plans. 

11. What economic-environmental functions are the wetlands serving on the plot?

12. Assess how your study plot relates to why wetlands are valuable to local government and 
industry as noted on page one of assignment. 

13. The ideal field working model is for class members to divide into working teams or groups to perform field work. 

14. How have the new soccer fields impacted the wetlands and environmental quality of the stream and floodplain? 

15. What remediation techniques should be used to improve the floodplain, stream, stream banks, and wetlands? 

The following sources are on reserve in the main library to assist you in your research. 

1. Wetland Protection: A Handbook for Local Officials. Environmental Planning Information Series, Report #7, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, May, 1990. 

2. Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands. An Interagency Publication - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S.D.A., 1989. 

3. Benhart, John E. and Alex Margin. Wetlands: Science, Politics and Geographic Relationships. National Council for Geographic Education, Indiana, PA, Pathway Series, 1994. (Your assigned textbook). 

4. Saving Wetlands: A Citizen's Guide for Action in the Mid-Atlantic Region. National Audubon Society, 1993. 

5. Benhart, John E. and Benhart, John E., Jr. "Wetlands in Pennsylvania: Spatial Patterns and Remediation Techniques," Ecology of Wetlands and Associated Systems, (Eds. S.K. Mujumdar, et al.), The Pennsylvania Academy of Science, 1998. 

Your assignment is to write a ten-page paper answering the assigned questions and in developing any economic and environmental relationships on the assigned plot. The economic-environmental relationships should be developed with the geographic concepts of where, why, and the consequences of the wetland locations as part of the locational process. Explain how spatial patterns and physical processes are at work on the assigned wetland plot. 

Attached are four handouts: (1) Steps for on-site investigation; (2) Common Wetland Indicator and Vegetation, (3) a study site map to help you in your research, and (4) Photos and stream restoration ideas. Use any of the material that you think can be of assistance to you in completing your assignment. Review your assigned textbooks for background information on wetlands and environmental quality. 

ASSIGNMENT: 

TEN-PAGE WRITTEN PAPER PLUS SKETCH MAP - October 4, 2000 

ORAL PRESENTATION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS (5 minutes) - October 4, 2000 

TOTAL POINTS: 75 POINTS 

DUE DATE: OCTOBER 4, 2000 

NOTE: ALL MATERIAL MUST BE TURNED IN BY OCTOBER 4, 2000