Masters Project completed 2012

An Analysis of the North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method (NCWAM) Using Quantitative Metrics

Ashley Steele


The purpose of this project is to determine the accuracy of the North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method (NCWAM).  NCWAM is a rapid assessment method developed by an interagency team of federal and North Carolina agencies. The purpose of NCWAM is to provide a resource to regulators, planners, and the general public. This resource would aid in project planning, alternatives analysis, compliance, enforcement, mitigation planning, and tracking functional replacement. The successful implementation of NCWAM would allow these agencies to regulate mitigation based on wetland functionality, and therefore value. Because of the intent to use NCWAM in a regulatory capacity, it is important to provide evidence supporting its ability to successfully perform as an accurate evaluator of wetland functionality or find weaknesses so that it can be improved upon. By finding evidence to support or refute the accuracy of NCWAM in this way, this project contributes to the credibility of the NCWAM project. Data were collected which included physical vegetation, macroinvertebrate, amphibian, and physical and chemical data. This project used these data to calculate metrics, which were then examined for relationships between the data and the NCWAM scores.