Association of State Wetland Managers - Protecting the Nation's Wetlands.

The Compleat Wetlander: The National Wetland Plant List Is Open for Public Comment and Every Vote Counts

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with EPA, FWS, and NRCS has formally published a proposed revised and updated wetland plant list, which is posted and open for public comment through March 7.  This is an opportunity to recommend changes in wetland plant classifications for any plant on the list.  The Corps National Wetland Plant List website is located at: https://rsgis.crrel.usace.army.mil/apex/f?p=703:1:21774510
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Some users outside of the Corps are having difficulty accessing the NWPL with Internet Explorer due to the DoD root certificates used on the secure website that the list is loaded on. Mozilla and Safari users are able to access after simply accepting the certificate.  A screen is being added prior to entering the website (http://wetland_plants.usace.army.mil) that will provide additional information. Any users that continue to have difficulty can contact nwpl@usace.army.mil.

Individuals who want to comment will be directed to establish an individual login account which enables them to vote. The login will require discreet e-mail, name and affiliation information.  Once in the database, it is necessary to select the region of the country where the individual wants to comment to view the local plant list.  There are around 8500 wetland plants on the national wetland plant list.  Any particular region or state can have a couple thousand wetland plants.  It is likely that most commenters will be interested in requesting a change in status for only those plants that in their experience deserve a different classification.  Wetland plants are classified—obligate wetland (OBL), facultative wetlands (FACW), facultative (FAC) and facultative upland (FACU) going from wettest (found in wetlands 99% of the time) to driest (found in wetlands 1%-33% of the time).  Obligate upland (UPL) plants occur in nonwetlands 99% of the time.  Commenters can view current classifications for individual plants and vote to keep them in the same classification or move them to another one.

This opportunity to comment is only the tip of the iceberg.  The wetland database is so much more.  Revisions to the plant list were badly needed. Anyone who visits a local nursery regularly has noticed that familiar plants bear unfamiliar names.  The same is true for wetland plants.  Plant names have been changing as new research right down to the molecular level have changed the classifications such as moving individual plants to different genuses or families.  Millions of datapoints have been collected better defining the distribution of plants across the landscape.   The wetland plant database is an incredible resource with comprehensive information on current and past nomenclature, distribution, photos and the ability to sort by region, state, or zip code.  In a few months the plant list will be expanded to include nonwetland plants expanding the list to include all 30,000 of the plants in the United States.  It is an incredible achievement.

Related Links

Press Release on Public Comment Period
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/updated-draft-national-wetland-plant-list-available-for-review-and-comment-113015579.html
U.S. Army Corps Plant list website
https://rsgis.crrel.usace.army.mil/apex/f?p=703:1:3483782433499316
2006 MOA moving the list from Fish and Wildlife Service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/_documents/gOrg/MOAWetlandPlants.pdf
1996 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wetland plant list. https://rsgis.crrel.usace.army.mil/NWPL_CRREL/docs/fws_lists/l96_intro.html
USDA Wetland Plants Database
http://plants.usda.gov/wetland.html
USDA Plants Database
http://plants.usda.gov/java/
The Hydroperiod Podcast
http://www.shannonwilson.com/services/natural-resources/podcast

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