Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

First Advisor

Robert H. Chabreck

Second Advisor

Elvin T. Choong


Wetland delineation is important because federal and local government regulations limit permissible uses of wetlands. Federal delineation regulations are based upon the use of a manual jointly agreed upon by EPA, USACOE, and NRCS. The manual provides for classification of land as either wetland or non-wetland based upon the 3 criteria of soil, vegetation, and hydrology. No provision is made for gradation between categorical wetland and categorical non-wetland. Controversy has sometimes developed between landowners and environmentalists as to proper wetland classification; some delineations have been considered arbitrary. The analytical method of wetland appraisal provides a means of assigning continuous numerical values to each of the 3 criteria, for the purpose of minimizing occasion for controversy over categorical distinctions. Twenty sites were studied; each site was appraised as potential wetland or non-wetland based upon the methodology in the federal manual; results were compared with the evaluations provided by the analytical system. These evaluations suggested that all sites with average relative wetness values greater than 30 be considered wetland candidates; they call for the following minimum values for each of the 3 relevant criteria: soil (30), vegetation (60), and hydrology (14).