New development properties in lowlands and various flood zones can be strictly regulated with regards to wetlands. Prior to development, property owners are required to perform certain wetland reviews or screenings. Our Wetland Specialists will perform a “walkthrough” wetlands evaluation at the property using the “three-parameter approach” (hydrology, soils and vegetation) pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:7A et. Seq. The protocol to perform the wetlands identification is contained in the Federal Manual for Identification and Delineation Jurisdictional Wetlands, 1989. The 1989 manual is used by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) as the proper manual for delineating wetlands in New Jersey; therefore it has replaced both the 1987 Corps of Engineers and EPA’s manuals. Field information will be collected and documented as required by the New Jersey Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act Rules (N.J.A.C. 7:7A), effective 9/4/01.
AESI reviews the NJDEP Freshwater Wetlands Inventory Map, the NJDEP’s interactive i-MapNJ DEP program and the USDA/SCS Soil Survey for the subject property, as well as make an inquiry to the Municipal Clerk and NJDEP regarding previous wetland delineations on the subject property. AESI will also submit a request to the NJDEP-Office of Natural Lands Management NJ Natural Heritage Program-Division of Parks and Forestry for a database search for Federal and State endangered or threatened (T&E) species (plant and animal) that may be present on or about the subject property. This information will aid in determining preliminary wetland resource value for any wetlands on-site and may provide insight on potential transition area size.
Once the site walkthrough is complete, AESI will prepare a summary letter addressing the findings of the wetlands screen. AESI’s summary letter will identify whether the walkthrough evaluation identified the presence or absence of any wetlands or State Open Waters (as defined under N.J.A.C. 7:7A-1.4 on-site, as well as provide an overview of the vegetation and soils on-site and provide an interpretation of the soils and wetlands maps reviewed by AESI. However, it should be noted that the final determination of the presence or absence of wetlands and State Open Waters, the wetlands line verification and associated transition areas on a property is under the jurisdiction of the NJDEP, and must be prompted by the submittal of a Letter of Interpretation (LOI).