The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announces the release of the ENG Forms 6116 (1-9), Automated Wetland Determination Data Sheet (ADS), and the associated “User Guide for Automated Wetland Determination Data Sheets.” These documents are available at the USACE Regulatory Headquarters website in both Portable Document Format (PDF) and Microsoft Excel (Excel) file formats. Practitioners should, at a minimum, utilize the PDF versions of the Office of Management and Budget approved forms to document the presence or absence of wetlands for the applications related to the administration of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). The Excel-based ADS is an optional tool. However, the PDF versions do not provide the automated features found in the Excel-based versions.
LINK TO ADS AND USER GUIDE: (https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory-Program-and-Permits/reg_supp/). (under “General Information”)
Wetland determination data forms are used to document the presence or absence of wetlands, as outlined in the Regional Supplements to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual (Regional Supplements). The wetland determination data forms included in the Regional Supplements were initially published as PDF files which were intended to be manually completed by hand. A subsequent collaboration between the USACE Detroit District and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Wetlands Regulatory Assistance Program resulted in the development of an automated, Excel-based ADS for each of the 10 Regional Supplements and an associated user guide to aid in ADS application.
The Excel-based ADS increases technical accuracy by reducing errors, and increases efficiency by automatically populating many of the field indicators of wetland hydrology, hydrophytic vegetation, and hydric soils. The ADS incorporates or includes the following:
- Similar layout as the Regional Supplement wetland determination data forms,
- Application of the most up-to-date plant species wetland indicator status ratings from the National Wetland Plant List (currently the 2020 National Wetland Plant List, version 3.5),
- Automated calculation of hydrophytic vegetation indicators,
- Automated interpretation of most hydric soil indicators and certain wetland hydrology indicators,
- Automated features prompting users to complete or review required information,
- Exportable to PDF or other electronic format, and the ability to print formatted hard copies, and
- Application of the most up-to-date field indicators of hydric soils (currently version 8.2).
The ADS is utilized to document the presence or absence of wetlands. A wetland delineation alone is not a determination of the jurisdictional status of an area under the CWA or the RHA. Additional information and analysis beyond wetland delineation protocols is required to determine if an area is subject to CWA and/or RHA jurisdiction. The ADS do not provide any new guidance regarding wetland identification or delineation, or change USACE Regulatory program policies. Rather, the ADS provide a tool to help improve the efficiency and accuracy of field data collection and reporting. Users remain responsible for ensuring that wetland delineation data entry and analysis are accurate when utilizing the ADS for CWA and RHA applications.
For additional information on or application of the ADS, or to submit error reports, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.