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.
Since most local governments and watershed groups have limited resources, it may not be possible for them to protect all their wetlands. The WARPT process allows communities to target resources towards protecting the most sensitive or vulnerable wetlands, or the ones that provide the most benefit to the community, while still allowing for growth. The WARPT process can bring to light the important functions performed by wetlands, the loss of which would contribute to environmental and/or economic problems for the community. This can be an important selling point to elected officials when weighing the costs and benefits of resources protection versus growth.
Every community operates under a unique set of environmental issues, politics, history, and resources and is subject to differing state and local regulations. Therefore, the WARPT is not a one-size-fits-all process. It is scalable and flexible. It is not necessary for every community using the WARPT to complete the entire process.
An important note is that although the WARPT process assigns values to individual wetlands or wetland types and identifies priority wetlands in a community, this designation does not replace the need for jurisdictional determinations under the Clean Water Act Section 404. In addition to implementing local protection for at-risk wetlands, communities can provide their results to the local Army Corps district office to aid in making these decisions based on wetland functions.