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The Wetlands-At-Risk Protection Tool, or WARPT, is a process for local governments and watershed groups that acknowledges the role of wetlands as an important part of their community infrastructure, and is used to develop a plan for protecting at-risk wetlands and their functions. The basic steps of the process include quantifying the extent of at-risk wetlands, documenting the benefits they provide at various scales, and using the results to select the most effective protection mechanisms. Click here to download a short brochure about the WARPT.

A free webcast was conducted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 to provide an overview of the WARPT. Click on the links below to access the archived version of the webcast and resources sheet.

To begin using the WARPT, complete this quick characterization of wetlands in your community. Not a wetland expert? Don't worry, the characterization is simple to complete, and should help determine which portions of the WARPT are right for your community or watershed. Most of the WARPT steps require some expertise in mapping and/or wetland science, and these may be completed in-house if the expertise is available or by contracting with a wetland expert. The Washington State Department of Ecology provide some excellent tips for hiring a qualified wetland professional, as do the Association of State Wetland Managers in their document How to Hire the Right Wetlands Consultant, and the EPA provides information on federal and state funding sources for wetlands protection and restoration that may be used to fund implementation of the WARPT in your community. For more information on when, where and why to use the WARPT, click on the links below.  To learn how to use the WARPT, click on the steps in the graphic to learn more.

Wetland Diagram wetlanddiagram.2 1 wetlanddiagram.2 2 wetlanddiagram.2 3 wetlanddiagram.2 4 wetlanddiagram.2 5 wetlanddiagram.2 6 wetlanddiagram.2 7 wetlanddiagram.2 8

wetlandprotection.org

What are Wetlands at Risk?

Wetlands-at-risk are those that are vulnerable to impacts from development or other land use activities and that have little protection from these impacts through federal, state or local measures.

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Who Should Use the WARPT?

The WARPT is recommended for all local governments (counties, cities, towns, boroughs, townships) because these entities have control over land use practices that ultimately determine the extent of indirect impacts to wetlands. The WARPT can also be used by watershed groups as a tool to help identify, protect, and restore wetlands in their watershed.                                                     

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What Scale is Appropriate for the WARPT?

The WARPT can be completed at three different scales, depending on community needs, interest and available resources, as described below.

 

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Why do the WARPT?

Each step of the WARPT process provides a unique result that addresses one aspect of a comprehensive wetland protection strategy and may also help to meet other community objectives.

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Digitize
The process of converting features on a paper map into digital format using a trace methodology, which results in the creation of a spatial dataset.
Ecotone

A transition area between two adjacent, but different plant communities.

Indirect Wetland Impacts
Impact to wetlands caused by inputs of stormwater and pollutants generated by land development or other activities within the wetland CDA.
Direct Wetland Impacts
Wetland loss or degradation resulting from activities that occur within wetlands, such as dredging, filling and draining.  Activities that cause direct impacts are largely regulated through the federal and state wetland permitting process.
Stormwater Treatment Practices

A structural or non-structural practice designed to temporarily store or treat stormwater runoff in order to mitigate flooding, reduce pollution, and provide other amenities (also called a Best Management Practice – BMP).

Hydrogeomorphic
Factors that influence how wetlands function, including geomorphic setting, water source, and hydrodynamics.
Hydrogeomorphic
Factors that influence how wetlands function, including geomorphic setting, water source, and hydrodynamics.
Sinks
A cell or set of spatially connected cells that cannot be assigned flow direction in a raster elevation dataset. This can occur when all neighboring cells are higher than the processing cell or when two cells flow into one another. Sinks can indicate areas where water is likely to pond, but can also be an error in the dataset.
Facultative Wetland Plants
Species that usually occur in wetlands (approximately 67% - 99% probability), but also occur in non-wetland areas (approximately 1% - 33% probability).
Obligate Wetland Plants
Species that occur almost always in wetlands under natural conditions (greater than 99% probability), but which may also occur rarely in non-wetlands (less than 1% probability).
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR)
A radar technique that uses two or more synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to generate surface elevation using differences in the phase of waves returning to the satellite or aircraft.
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR)
A radar technique that uses two or more synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to generate surface elevation using differences in the phase of waves returning to the satellite or aircraft.
Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

A remote sensing technique that measures properties of pulsed laser light reflected from objects to determine their position, velocity, and other information.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

A remote sensing technique that measures properties of pulsed laser light reflected from objects to determine their position, velocity, and other information.

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

A remote sensing technique that measures properties of pulsed laser light reflected from objects to determine their position, velocity, and other information.

Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
A digital file consisting of terrain elevations for ground positions at regularly spaced horizontal intervals.
Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
A digital file consisting of terrain elevations for ground positions at regularly spaced horizontal intervals.
Hyperspectral Data

Information collected and processed from across the electromagnetic spectrum. Spectral signatures (unique “fingerprint” left by specific objects) enable identification of materials that make up a scanned object.

Remote Sensing
Gathering and recording information about objects without actual contact through the use of such techniques as photography, infra-red imagery, and radar.
Hydrophytes
A plant that grows wholly or partially submerged in water.
Blackspots
Areas on aerial photos that show up as dark blue, dark grey, or black and are indicative of saturated soil conditions.
Stereoscopic
The ability to see three dimensionally by using two views of a single object from slightly different positions typically through the use of an optical aid known as a stereoscope.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Hydric Soils
Soils that are saturated, flooded, or ponded for a long enough period during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper soil horizons.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A system that integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A system that integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

Digitize
The process of converting features on a paper map into digital format using a trace methodology, which results in the creation of a spatial dataset.
Minimum Mapping Unit

The minimum size or dimensions for features to be mapped as lines or areas for a given map scale.