Release no. 11-001
– The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today it is soliciting public comments on the updated draft National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) developed as part of an ongoing interagency effort to identify and assign wetland plant ratings (indicator status) to species found in the U.S and its territories. The NWPL provides a list of wetland plants by species and their wetland ratings that is used extensively by federal, state agencies, the scientific and academic communities, and the private sector in wetland delineations, the planning and monitoring of wetland mitigation and restoration sites, and serves to provide general botanical information about wetland plants. The NWPL is available for public review and comment at the following Web site http://wetland_plants.usace.army.mil/
In the early 1980s, the four primary federal agencies involved in wetland delineation; USACE, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service realized the importance of utilizing plants and soils as indicators for wetland delineation purposes. Similar to previous wetland plant lists, these same agencies again agreed to assemble panels of wetland ecologists to review and revise the various plant lists for 10 regions of the US. The updated NWPL will replace the currently used National List of Plan Species that Occur in Wetlands published by the FWS in 1988.
In 2006, the administration of the NWPL was transferred from FWS to USACE. That same year, the USACE Engineering Research and Development Center, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., launched a Web-based interagency scientific process and created a Web site used to update the 1988 plant list. Updates to scientific names and ratings for 8,558 wetland plants occurred online through this Web site, which also provided for academic and independent peer reviews of the process, resulting in completion of the updated draft list announced today.
A public notice on the updated draft NWPL is published in the January 6, 2011 Federal Register (http://origin.www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-01-06/pdf/2011-3.pdf) and will provide the public the opportunity to participate in this national effort to supply input by region on the wetland rating of each species and to provide comments on the draft plant list. Comments must be received within the 60-day notice period and submitted on-line at http://wetland_plants.usace.army.mil/. Comments received will be compiled and included as part of the administrative record. Regional interagency panels, in cooperation with the national interagency panel, will review and incorporate any needed changes resulting from the information received during the comment period. A final NWPL will be published in the Federal Register.