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What are wetlands and how are they affected by Corridor H?
The United States Army Corp of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly define wetlands as:

Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. www.usace.army.mil/inet/functios/sw/cecwo/reg/

Wetland Site
Non-Identifiable Wetland Site
This definition applies to areas that most people would recognize as wetlands as well as areas that most people would not recognize as wetlands.

Trained environmental scientists identify wetlands and determine their boundaries by using methodology required by the US Army Corp of Engineers. Once the wetland boundaries for Corridor H were determined, a process termed "delineation" was used. In this process, an area is considered a jurisdictional wetland only if all three wetland criteria are met which include: hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils and water hydrology.

On Corridor H, over 750 acres of wetlands were identified. Some of these were large wetlands of high value. Others were small and provide little value. Environmental scientists, engineers and resource agencies worked together to identify large, high value wetlands and to avoid them. As a result of this collaboration, only 37 acres of wetlands will be used (filled) during highway construction. Almost all of these wetlands are small (<0.25 acres) and, after analysis, were found to be of low value.

Federal regulations require that any wetland that can not be avoided should generally be replaced close to the wetland that is filled. Also, the replaced wetland generally should have the same vegetation characteristics and functions as the wetland filled. In another example of the unique innovations employed for this project, WVDOH environmental scientists decided that replacing small wetlands with low functions made little economic or ecological sense. It was therefore decided that for this project, two large multi-function wetlands would be designed and constructed. Both of these are complete and functioning years before any wetlands are filled. One wetland is located within the Monongahela River watershed just east of Elkins off US 219. The other replacement wetland is located in the Potomac River watershed, northwest of Moorefield. Detailed data on Corridor H wetlands are found in the Wetland Technical Report.
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