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.

2024 course participants can begin lectures anytime after your course opens on 12/11/2023.  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 $1,000! 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

Our Basic Wetland Delineation course requires you complete 24 hours of online lectures and a 2 day in-person field practicum. Register for this course by selecting a field practicum location below. Registration includes online lectures, printed course materials, and your selected 2 day field course:

Dates Field Location Register by Field Location
January 15 - 16, 2024 Orange County, CA COMPLETED, FULL
January 18 - 19, 2024 Orange County, CA CONFIRMED, FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
January 29 - 30, 2024 Ventura County, CA COMPLETED
February 26 - 27, 2024 San Diego, CA CONFIRMED, FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
February 29 - March 1, 2024 San Diego, CA CONFIRMED, FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
March 14 - 15, 2024 Houston, TX CLOSED
March 18 - 19, 2024 Houston, TX CONFIRMED, FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
March 21 - 22, 2024 Houston, TX CONFIRMED, FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
April 18 - 19, 2024 Sacramento, CA REGISTER NOW
April 22 - 23, 2024 Sacramento, CA FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
April 25 - 26, 2024 Sacramento, CA FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
May 14 - 15, 2024 Portage, WI COMPLETED
May 6 - 7, 2024 Great Bend, KS COMPLETED
May 9 - 10, 2024 Great Bend, KS COMPLETED
May 28 - 29, 2024 Santa Rosa, CA FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
June 13 - 14, 2024 Portage, WI REGISTER NOW
July 8 - 9, 2024 Sheridan, WY FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
July 11 - 12, 2024 Laramie, WY FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
July 15 - 16, 2024 Laramie, WY FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
August 15 -16, 2024 Marysville, WA REGISTER NOW
August 19 - 20, 2024 Marysville, WA FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
September 10 - 11, 2024 Portage, WI REGISTER NOW
September 17 - 18, 2024 Whitefish, MT FULL - JOIN WAIT LIST
September 17 - 19, 2024 Whitefish, MT Get one extra day in the field plus additional online content. Click here to learn more.
October 15 - 16, 2024 Richmond, VA REGISTER NOW
November 12 - 13, 2024 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.”

“This course is extremely helpful, especially for someone like me; freshly graduated and beginning my career. The course tied together a lot of things I’ve learned in school and the things I’ve been doing at my job, which is awesome for a synthesis understanding of everything. Now I have one more tool under my belt to not only improve my wages, but also boost my confidence when it comes to future job endeavors, both certification wise, and knowledge wise.

“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.”

“There is a ton of beneficial information in the course. The field course made the lectures much more clear and getting to practice what we learned in the field was extremely beneficial.”

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-2024)
  • Discussion: I have questions or comments (BWD-2024)
  • Basic Wetland Delineation Pre-test
    50 questions
  • Welcome to Basic Wetland Delineation (22 minutes)
    22 minutes
  • Course logistics – BWD (10 minutes)
    10 minutes
  • Geographical Jurisdiction (52 minutes)
    52 minutes
  • Introduction to 1987 Manual and Regional Supplements (44 minutes)
    44 minutes
  • Hydrology Fundamentals (2 hours, 43 minutes)
    163 minutes
  • Hydrology Field Indicators Part 1 (39 minutes)
    39 minutes
  • Hydrology Field Indicators Part 2 (36 minutes)
    36 minutes
  • Hydrology in the Field demonstration (18 minutes)
    18 minutes
  • Soil Fundamentals (1 hour, 19 minutes)
    79 minutes
  • Aspects of Soil Color (27 minutes)
    27 minutes
  • Redoximorphic Features (15 minutes)
    15 minutes
  • Hydric Soil Field Indicators (2 hours)
    120 minutes
  • Soil Indicators in the Field demonstration (13 minutes)
    13 minutes
  • Hydrophytic Vegetation – Part 1 (19 minutes)
    30 minutes
  • Hydrophytic Vegetation – Part 2 (28 minutes)
    28 minutes
  • Hydrophytic Vegetation Exercise Results
    5 minutes
  • Technical Guidelines (13 minutes)
    13 minutes
  • Soil Surveys (35 minutes)
    35 minutes
  • Methods – Part 1 (48 minutes)
    48 minutes
  • Methods – Part 2 (23 minutes)
    21 minutes
  • Completing a Routine Data Form (24 minutes)
    24 minutes
  • Problem Areas and Difficult Situations (1 hour, 36 minutes)
    96 minutes
  • Problematic Soils (1 hour, 14 minutes)
    74 minutes
  • Disturbed/Atypical situations (1 hour, 13 minutes)
    73 minutes
  • Soil Taxonomy (1 hour, 15 minutes)
    75 minutes

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.

Bibi Whited 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.