Basic Wetland Delineation

Course Overview

This course satisfies the requirements for basic wetland delineation training as specified by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and certification programs in many states. Learn the technical guidelines for wetland delineations, field indicators of hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils, and wetland hydrology, methods for making jurisdictional determinations and methods to apply in difficult situations.

Basic Wetland Delineation is offered as a hybrid course that includes online lectures followed by a 2-day field practicum. This course is 40 contact hours divided between lecture (24 hours) and fieldwork (16 hours). Please see dates and locations below.

Your course registration includes: a Pocket Guide to Hydric Soil Field Indicators, a USB drive containing current 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual, Regional Supplements, Plant Lists, and other publications, and a printed copy of online lecture notes.

Online lectures can be started anytime after your course opens on 12/12/2022.  All online lectures must be completed prior to attending chosen field practicum. Progress through online lectures at your own pace and review as many times as you wish until online courses close on November 30th each year.

Successful completion of course requires completion of online/classroom lecture portion and participation in one in-person 16-contact-hour field session. Scroll down for dates, locations, and a more specific list of topics covered. Registration can be completed with payment via credit card, check, or purchase order.



Tuition cost:

COVID-19 Precautions

In light of state and national COVID-19 guidelines, WTI has developed plans to provide the safest possible course environment while adhering to social distancing recommendations.  All participants must read, sign, and return our Participant Guidelines and COVID-19 Liability Waiver Form before the start date of your course in order to participate. If you are unable to do this, you will not be allowed to participate in the field course. All WTI course dates will continue to be contingent on CDC and State recommendations related to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements.

Recommended Plant Identification Courses (Optional)

While not a prerequisite, you will gain so much more in the BWD field session if you have spent some time honing your basic plant ID skills. Our Plants of the Wetland Boundary (PWB) online courses are designed for nonbotonists that want to improve their delineation skills. A discount is offered when you register for both a Plants of the Wetland Boundary and a Basic Wetland Delineation (BWD) course in the same year to encourage those that know that their plant ID skills are weak, to be better prepared before the field portion of the BWD course.  To receive $100 off your registration for a regional PWB course when taking a BWD course in the same year, add both to your WTI cart and enter the following coupon code: “BWDPLANT100” upon checkout.  You can take all three regions currently available for just $900! Learn about individual regional courses by clicking the buttons below, or click here to purchase our 3 region bundle (includes Northeast, North Central, Southeast).  You can also browse all of our plant identification courses, including more in-depth topics here.

Your Course Includes

Pocket Guide to Hydric Soil Field Indicators

This field guide is based on the National Technical Committee on Hydric Soils’ Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the United States.

Printed lecture notes and electronic resources

All participants receive the same lecture notes provided in our in-person courses and a thumb drive of essential electronic resources.

Certificate of Completion

You will receive a certificate of completion with instructional contact hours documented once you have completed all course requirements (i.e. all lectures and field sessions)

Frequently asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?

You can begin your online lectures anytime after your course opens (December each year). Your printed and electronic course materials should arrive in the mail within about a week after your field location is confirmed unless you request them sooner. You must complete all online lectures before your in-person field practicum date. You may continue to review online lectures anytime until your course closes (November 30th each year).

Can I view lectures at my own pace?

Yes! You can view and review lectures as many times you wish until your course closes. All online courses close on November 30th each year.

Will I have face to face interaction with my instructor?

Yes, you will have face to face interaction with your field practicum instructor to ensure you understand all the material as well as standard field practices. During the online component of the course, please contact the instructor via the discussion board.

Does this course count towards my certification program?

Your certificate of completion can be used to document instructional hours received in this topic. You should contact the specific certifying agency or association directly to find out how they will assess or credit this WTI course. Typically, our courses are accepted by all state and national certifying agencies and associations; however, you should confirm that with the specific certification program to which you are applying or renewing.

What if I need to cancel? Do you offer refunds?

Please click here to review our cancellation policy.

Field Practicum Locations

2023 Field session options for Basic Wetland Delineation currently include:

Dates Field Locations Register by Field Location
January 26 - 27 Orange County, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
January 30 - 31 Orange County, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
February 27 - 28 San Diego, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
March 2 - 3 San Diego, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
March 6 - 7 San Diego CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
March 16 - 17 Houston, TX FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
March 20 - 21 Houston, TX FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
March 23 - 24 Houston, TX FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
April 17 - 18 Sacramento, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
April 20 - 21 Sacramento, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
April 24 - 25 Sacramento, CA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
May 9 -10 Portage, WI COMPLETED
May 22 - 23 Great Bend, KS FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
May 24 - 25 Great Bend, KS COMPLETED
June 6 - 7 Anchorage, AK COMPLETED
June 14 -15 Portage, WI COMPLETED
July 10 - 11 Laramie, WY FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
July 13 - 14 Laramie, WY FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
August 21 - 22 Marysville, WA COMPLETED
August 24 - 25 Marysville, WA FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
September 19 - 20 Portage, WI FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
September 26 - 27 Whitefish, MT FULL - JOIN WAITLIST
October 17 - 18 Richmond, VA REGISTER NOW
November 13 - 14 Charleston, SC REGISTER NOW

These dates and locations are also offered as a 2-day Refresher Course for those who have had a full, basic wetland delineation course (at least 32 hours) from WTI or another provider. Click here to learn more.

What Our Participants Say….

“I expected to come away ready to confidently carry out wetland delineations on my own – I feel ready. Lots of great information and the ability to work through practice delineations with the appropriate amount of guidance and supervision.”

“It was useful to be able to re-listen to slides as I progressed through the online course. That was a benefit compared to a live course. If I missed something or did not understand, I could “rewind.”

“This is a great course for beginners and also for people with some experience in delineating wetlands. I have done some delineations in the past, and taking this course brought a better understanding of some of the principles and indicators that will make delineation easier for me in the future.”

“The instructor knows the 1987 USACE Manual inside and out and is an expert in the field of wetland delineation. I would recommend this course to anyone wishing to expand their knowledge on the subject.”

“As a novice in the world of hydric veg, soils, and hydrology, this course was a perfect introduction. The instructors provided all the foundational knowledge one needs to confidently begin conducting wetlands delineations.”

“Attending [this] course was a perfect fit for me as a mid-career full time professional. Serving a wide variety of private and public sector partners and clients at a conservation district, I felt like the breadth and depth provided by the instructors gave me greater confidence in navigating both the technical and policy driven aspects of wetland conservation.”

Get Started Now

Select location above and click on “Register Now” to enroll.

Course Curriculum

Basic Wetland Delineation Online Lectures and Field Practicum focus on the application of the Regional Supplements and the portions of the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual still valid as used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and numerous state governments. Specific lecture topics are listed below. Field practicum agendas include: safety briefing, instructor demonstration and use of data sheets, student characterization of data points and use of data sheets, and a variety of field exercises.

  • Discussion: Welcome and Introduce Yourself Here (BWD-2023)
  • Discussion: I have questions or comments (BWD – 2023)
  • Basic Wetland Delineation Pre-test
    50 questions
  • Welcome to Basic Wetland Delineation
  • Geographical Jurisdiction – the Return to Pre-2015
  • Introduction to 1987 Manual and Regional Supplements
    30 minutes
  • Hydrology Fundamentals
  • Hydrology Field Indicators
  • Hydrology in the Field (video demonstration)
    30 minutes
  • Soil Fundamentals
  • Aspects of Soil Color
  • Redoximorphic Features
  • Hydric Soil Field Indicators
  • Soil Indicators in the Field (video demonstration)
  • Hydrophytic Vegetation
  • Hydrophytic Vegetation Exercise
  • Technical Guidelines
  • Soil Surveys
  • Methods – Part 1
  • Methods – Part 2
  • Problem Areas and Difficult Situations
    30 minutes
  • Problematic Soils
  • Disturbed/Atypical situations
  • Soil Taxonomy

Instructor Pool

Charles J. Newling is a Certified Wetland Biologist (CWB) and Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) with over 35 years experience in wetland delineation, restoration, monitoring, and mitigation banking. He participated in writing the 1987 United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Wetlands Delineation Manual and served for 8 years as the national technical coordinator for USACE wetland training. He has testified frequently as an expert on these issues.

Phil Scoles is a Registered Professional Soil Scientist (RPSS), Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS), and principal of Terra Science, Inc. He specializes in wetland delineation, hydric soil evaluation, wetland hydrology assessment, permitting, mitigation, and problematic wetland situations. He has extensive experience working with hydric soils and wetland hydrology.

Barbara Walther retired in 2019 following a 35+ year career in public service implementing local, state and federal wetland regulatory programs, conducting delineations and functional analyses, and writing and reviewing permit applications. In her last role as Senior Ecologist for 10 years for the USACE Regulatory Program at the St. Paul District, including work in the New England District and Regulatory Headquarters in Washington, D.C., she helped develop policy and provided training in wetland delineation and regulatory policies to both the public and private sector.

Michael Whited is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS), Certified Professional Soil Classifier (CPSC), and Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) with 40 years experience as a soil scientist. He was regional director of the USDA-NRCS Soil Survey for the West Central Glaciated Region, past chair of the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils and the New England Hydric Soil Committee, and a principal author of the Field Indicators of Hydric Soils in the U.S.

Get Started Now

Select location above and click on “Purchase Course” to register.