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Wetland Types, Functions, and DCM’s GIS Wetland Data North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Coastal Management

DCM GIS Wetland Data:: 

DCM GIS Wetland Data: Wetland Type Data Wetland Functional Significance Data Potential Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Site Data Wetland Restoration Site Functional Significance Data (in progress)


Wetlands Wetland Functions Wetland Types GIS Wetland Data NC-CREWS Data Getting DCM’s Data Topics


Wetlands Wetlands are areas that are periodically or permanently inundated by surface or ground water and support vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil. Wetlands include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas.


What do wetlands do? Wetland Functions Habitat nesting, spawning, rearing and resting sites for aquatic and land species, food chain production Hydrology protection of other areas from wave action and erosion, storage areas for storm water and flood water, ground and surface water aquifer recharge Water water quality protection, water filtration and Quality purification, treatment of nonpoint source runoff


maintain biodiversity provide habitat for animals maintain water quality support commercial fishing, forestry reduce flood damage hiking, fishing, hunting, bird watching, boating aesthetic value Why are wetlands important? Wetland Values Did you know? Nationwide, an estimated 50 million people spend approximately $10 billion annually observing and photographing wetland-dependent birds.


There are many different kinds of wetlands. People place different values on them based on the functions they perform.


Where are wetlands located? Wetlands are located throughout NC There are two kinds of maps in NC that show the locations and types of wetlands: National Wetland Inventory (NWI) Maps DCM Wetland Type Maps


Example of National Wetland Inventory (NWI) Map NWI maps show many different wetland types


P F O 4 What? The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Wetland Inventory (NWI) uses what is called the Cowardin Classification to classify wetlands. This classification system is used by scientists and resource managers nationwide. This complex system can be difficult for the average user to interpret.


DCM’s wetland maps are easy to understand because wetlands are grouped into well-known categories.


Example: DCM Wetland Type Map DCM’s maps show 13 wetland types

DCM’s GIS Wetland Type Data: 

DCM’s GIS Wetland Type Data Show the location, type, and amount of wetlands in the North Carolina Coastal Plain

DCM’s GIS Wetland Type Data uses these primary GIS layers: 

DCM’s GIS Wetland Type Data uses these primary GIS layers National Wetland Inventory (NWI) Maps NRCS Digital Soils Maps Satellite Imagery - 1988, 1994 Hydrography

DCM Wetland Classification: 

DCM Wetland Classification DCM Wetland Types: Swamp Forest Bottomland Hardwood Pocosin Pine Flat Hardwood Flat Managed Pine Freshwater Marsh Salt/Brackish Marsh Estuarine Scrub Shrub Estuarine Forest Maritime Forest Headwater Swamp Human Impacted Modifiers: Partially Drained/ Ditched Cut-over Cleared

DCM Wetland Classification: 

DCM Wetland Classification Hydrogeomorphic Classification (HGM): This classification describes the hydrology and the geomorphic setting of a wetland Riverine Flat or non-riverine Tidal


The following slides show photos of wetland types typically found in Coastal North Carolina.


Riverine Swamp Forest


Headwater Swamp


Swamp Forest


Pocosin Wetland


Hard Wood Flat Wet Pine Flat


Tidal Salt Marsh

Are DCM’s GIS Wetland Maps Accurate?: 

Are DCM’s GIS Wetland Maps Accurate?

Accuracy Assessment: 

Accuracy Assessment Accuracy was calculated to be 89% for wetlands and 71% for uplands. Over 600 field sites visited That means most of the sites we map as wetlands are indeed wetlands. Most of the sites we map as uplands are non-wetlands.

Maps are the starting point: 

Maps are the starting point DCM’s wetland maps show the location and types of wetlands What is the ecological significance of these wetlands? How important are they?

North Carolina Coastal Region Evaluation of Wetland Significance (NC-CREWS): 

North Carolina Coastal Region Evaluation of Wetland Significance (NC-CREWS) A model that rates the functional significance of wetlands

NC-CREWS Ratings: 

NC-CREWS Ratings DCM staff developed a model that produces ratings for each wetland polygon in our GIS: Beneficial Functional Significance Substantial Functional Significance Exceptional Functional Significance Wetlands can be evaluated on the basis of an overall rating or in terms of individual functions.

NC-CREWS Primary Wetland Functions and Subfunctions: 

NC-CREWS Primary Wetland Functions and Subfunctions Water Quality Nonpoint Source Removal Floodwater Cleansing Wildlife Habitat Terrestrial Wildlife Aquatic Life Hydrology Surface Runoff Storage Floodwater Storage Shoreline Stabilization Potential Risk Wetland Extent and Rarity Replacement Difficulty Land Use Characteristics

Example: Water Quality Function: 

Example: Water Quality Function

Example: DCM GIS Wetland Type Map: 

Example: DCM GIS Wetland Type Map DCM wetland maps show wetland location and type.

Example: NC-CREWS Map: 

Example: NC-CREWS Map NC-CREWS rates a wetland’s ecological functional significance


Web-Based Viewing at http://dcm2.enr.state.nc.us/ Click on Wetlands Click on Wetlands Data Scroll down and click on Go to the Wetlands Data This application will allow you to view DCM’s wetland data online. You can begin by clicking or selecting a county or town. The wetland data will draw when you have zoomed in far enough. The map also includes major roads and water for reference. The following slides show an example of our online data.

How to get DCM GIS Wetland Data:: 

How to get DCM GIS Wetland Data: From DCM on a CD as Arc/Info Export or Shapefile Wetland type, NC-CREWS, Restoration/Enhancement type data From CGIA- Wetland type and Restoration/Enhancement type data Transfer via FTP site Wetland Type data is in CGIA’s BasinPro

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