Wetland Category
and Types

What is  a Wetland?

A wetland occupies an area where the ground’s surface is covered with water or the ground (soil) is saturated with water for a long enough period of time that for plants to grow they have had to adapt to living in the wet conditions.

Wetlands vary widely because of regional and local differences in soils, topography, climate, hydrology, water chemistry, vegetation, and other factors, including human disturbance. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, streams, lakes, and other wet areas.

Flats & Beaches:
Classification - E2US, E2FL, E2BB, PUS, M2US, M2BB, M2FL, R1US, R1FL, R2US, R2FL, R3US,R3FL, R4US, R4FL, L2US
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Wetland areas that are intertidal (exposed at low tides, covered at high tides) with less than 30% of the surface covered with vegetation. Tidal mud flats, sand bars, beaches, and shorelines represent most of the flats and beaches category.
Forested Wetlands:
Classification - E2FO, PFO
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Woody vegetation over 20 feet in height, occupying wet soil and/or wet surface conditions. These areas remain wet for extended periods during the growing season.

Fresh Marsh:
Classification - PEM, R1EM2, R2EM2, L2EM2
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Emergent vegetation that is herbaceous hydrophytic species. Marsh species have adapted to predominately non-tidal freshwater conditions and covers more than 30% of the surface. Freshwater marsh is found in low-lying frequently flooded areas, with the water remaining on or near the surface for extended periods of time during the growing season. Vegetation is present for most of the growing season and maintains the same general appearance from one year to the next.

Mosses - Lichen:
Classification - PML
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Moss-Lichen Wetland Class includes areas where mosses or lichens cover substrates and where emergents, shrubs, or trees make up less than 30% of the areal cover. Moss-Lichen dominated wetlands are typically found in northern latitudes and are characterized by soils that are saturated by water from snow and ice meltwater.

Open Water:
Classification - POW, PUB, R1UB, R2UB, L1UB, L2UB, L1OW, L2OW, M1UB, M1OW, M2UB, M2OW, E1UB, E1OW, E2UB, E2OW, R1OW, R2OW, R3UB, R3OW, R1RB, R2RB, R3RB, M1RB, E1RB, L1RB, L2RB, PRB
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Area covered by water. Water is tidal or non-tidal. It is considered fresh water if saline content is less than 0.5 parts per thousand. It is considered salt water if saline content is greater than 0.5 parts per thousand. The category includes rivers, bayous, creeks, intermittent streams, inland ponds and lakes, and delta distributary channels, sloughs, bays, sounds, and interior ponds into marsh.

Classification - M1RF, M2RF, E1RF, E2RF
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Reefs are characterized by elevation above the surrounding substrate and interference with normal wave flow usually forming ridge-like or mound-like features. They are primarily below the water surface, but parts of some reefs may be exposed at low tides. The most common reef formers are corals, oysters, and tube worms.

Salt Marsh:
Classification - E2EM, PEM, R1EM2, R2EM2, L2EM2
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Emergent vegetation that is herbaceous hydrophytic species. Marsh species have adapted to tidal saltwater conditions. Saltwater marsh includes low-lying frequently flooded and less frequently flooded high marsh. Vegetation is present for most of the growing season and maintains the same general appearance from one year to the next.

Classification - R1SB, R4SB, E2SB
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Streambed includes the bed of a stream channel that is occupied by water intermittently during periods of abundant water availability. The streambed is in the Riverine System and all channels of the Estuarine System or of the Tidal Subsystem of the Riverine System that are completely dewatered at low tide. The streambed substrate may vary greatly depending on the gradient of the channel, the velocity of the water, and the sediment load and be comprised of bedrock, rubble, cobbles, gravel, sand, mud, non-persistent vegetation, or organic materials.

Submerged Floating Aquatics:
Classification - M1AB, M2AB, E1AB, E2AB, R1AB, R2AB, R3AB, L1AB, L2AB, PAB
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Wetlands and deepwater habitats dominated by plants that grow principally on or below the surface of the water for most of the growing season in most years. They are best developed in relatively permanent water or under conditions of repeated flooding. The plants are either attached to the substrate or float freely in the water above the bottom or on the surface.

Seagrasses: Submerged saltwater flowering plants attached to the bottom found in estuarine or marine environments along shallow coastal areas and in protected bays and lagoons. Depth of seagrasses are limited by water clarity because they require light

Wetland Scrub-Shrub:
Classification - E2SS, PSS
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Areas dominated by woody vegetation less then 20 feet tall. The vegetation includes true shrubs, young trees, and trees or shrubs that may be stunted because of environmental conditions. Wetlands scrub-shrub are flooded for extended periods during the growing season. This type of woody vegetation is invasive into slightly higher elevation areas within the marsh.