State launches wetland mapping project, invites public to participate

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State launches wetland mapping project, invites public to participate

Fri, 05/14/2021 - 11:20am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invites people to take part in a new statewide community mapping project to improve state maps of where wetlands occur. People can submit observations of the wetland species they find by using the free iNaturalist website or phone app and upload these observations to the iNaturalist Vermont Wetland Mapping Project.

“By using this crowd-sourcing approach, community members can help us add to and update our existing information,” said Brock Freyer, DEC District Wetlands Ecologist. “This will allow us to offer high quality wetland maps to the public. These maps will help Vermonters plan and develop projects to avoid wetlands and assist in wetland preservation and restoration efforts.”

Managing wetlands properly is integral to achieving water quality protection goals through their natural filtration of sediments and nutrients from water. The mapping project is part of a larger effort to improve the state’s wetlands maps, some of which are more than 50 years old.

DEC scientists received funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update the publicly accessible wetland advisory layer on the ANRAtlas and the National Wetlands Inventory. The University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, in combination with VHB, Ducks Unlimited and Bear Creek Environmental, and DEC created innovative spatial modeling to identify wetlands in the Otter Creek Tactical Basin, the Winooski River Basin, and Pike River Watershed. DEC scientists and the contractors are now reviewing the draft mapping products in the field and iNaturalist data can help identify areas for the team to assess.

DEC is offering an online training at 7:00 pm on May 18, 2021 for anyone interested in helping map wetlands. People who are able to identify common wetland plants, such as cattails, marsh-marigold, and cinnamon fern, are highly encouraged to join. This training will offer a quick overview of how to use the iNaturalist app and how specifically to collect data to help map wetlands. 

For more information, please explore these resources:

The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit dec.vermont.gov and follow The Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.

Montpelier – Vermont Agency of Natural Resources 5.14.2021