Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

2011 Environmental Excellence Awards

For Excellence in Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife

Agencies Awarded:

Atkins North America, Inc.

Axiom Environmental

Federal Highway Administration

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), Division of Water Quality

N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Natural Environment Unit

N.C. Division of Coastal Management

N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program

N.C. Natural Heritage Program

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Project Contributors:

Atkins North America, Inc.
Thomas B. Allen and Matt Cusack

Axiom Environmental
Alexander P. (Sandy) Smith

Federal Highway Administration
Donnie Brew and Clarence Coleman

NCDENR, Division of Water Quality
John Dorney

NCDOT, Natural Environment Unit
Leilani Paugh

N.C. Division of Coastal Management
Melissa Carle and Kelly Williams

N.C. Ecosystem Enhancement Program
Jim Stanfill

N.C. Natural Heritage Program
Mike Schafale

N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
David Cox

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District
Amanda Jones
David Lekson
Scott McLendon

U.S. EPA, Region 4
Becky Fox and Kathy Matthews

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Howard Hall and Gary Jordan

For Excellence in Ecosystems, Habitat, and Wildlife

North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method

In 2003, Federal and State agencies partnered to form the North Carolina Wetland Functional Assessment Team (WFAT). WFAT's goal was to develop an accurate, consistent, rapid, observational, and scientifically based field method to identify and rate the functionality of a wetland during project-related wetland delineation. The resulting North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method (NC WAM) takes no more than 15 minutes to apply, and has been field tested at more than 200 sites across the State. The NC WAM uses 22 field metrics to evaluate 10 defined subfunctions of wetland hydrology, water quality, and habitat. Field data are entered into a computer program that compares them to reference conditions for each of the 16 wetland types present in North Carolina and assigns high, medium, and low ratings. The WFAT, with the superlative assistance of the consulting team, created a user manual, a GIS-based toolbox, and multi-day office and field training classes to educate private- and public-sector users. The NC WAM is intended to facilitate project planning, alternatives analysis, compliance and enforcement, mitigation planning, and tracking functional replacement. An interagency implementation team is currently developing guidelines to assist users in applying the NC WAM. This project demonstrates how technology can be effectively leveraged to reduce project time and cost while restoring and preserving ecosystem integrity and function.

A photograph of ten assessment team memebers, clipboards in hand, at a wetlands location
Updated: 12/03/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000