Although there has been recent talk of changes to the floodplain and wetland laws, most states still have wetland management programs. Because of their unique ecosystems, wetlands are home to many plants and animals not found elsewhere. It is important that we take care of these resources for our future. Pennsylvania has an active program to not only maintain but increase their wetlands – this program has added almost 4,000 acres of wetland since 1990. Virginia has several natural area preserves set aside for wetland habitats.
It is not always easy to recognize a wetland. Most people imagine something like a swamp, with water and marsh grasses, but this is not always the case. It generally takes a professional to make a final determination. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA both have specialists they can call on for this. If you suspect you may be planning a project on or near a wetland, you must comply with Executive Order 11990 and must also follow a special eight-step process including public notification. Debris cannot be stored in a wetland, even temporarily. To remove debris from a wetland or conduct any other demolition, repair or construction activity in or near a wetland contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or your state Department of Environmental Protection.