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Upper Perennial Riverine subsystem consisting of regions with a high gradient, fast water velocity, no tidal influence, and a constant flow of at least some water throughout the year.

USACE United States Army Corps of Engineers. Branch of the United States Army given the responsibility of managing civil projects and administering Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

USDA United States Department of Agriculture. Federal agency given responsibility concerning agricultural issues. The parent agency of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency. Federal agency given the responsibility of protecting the environment and human health. Has jurisdiction over all sections of the Clean Water Act.

USF&WS United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Agency in the U.S. Department of the Interior given the responsibility of managing and protecting the nation's wildlife resources.

W Wetlands. USDA/NRCS classification of wetlands subject to NFSA restrictions. Those areas that meet wetland criteria under natural conditions and have typically not been manipulated by altering hydrology and/or removing woody vegetation. Wetlands includes areas that have been abandoned.
Wetland 1). An area that is both part land and part water. 2). Land that has a predominance of hydric soils and that is inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances does support, a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

Wetland Creation The act of creating or establishing a wetland in an area where one did not historically exist.

Wetland Enhancement Any practice which improves the overall quality of any of a currently existing wetland's characteristics.

Wetland Restoration The act of returning a disturbed or severely altered wetland to a state similar to its pre-existing condition.

WRP Wetland Reserve Program. A voluntary, incentive-based, federal program established in the Food Securities Act with the goal of protecting and restoring wetlands and their functions on agricultural lands.

Definitions and Descriptions for the Cowardin Classification System


LACUSTRINE: Deepwater habitats with all the following characteristics:

1. Situated in a topographic depression or damned river channel.

2. Lacking trees, shrubs, persistent emergents, emergent mosses, or lichens with greater than 30% areal coverage.

3. Total area exceeds 20 acres. Areas less than 20 acres may be included in the lacustrine system if an active wave formed or bedrock shoreline makes up all or part of the boundary, or if water is greater than 6.6 feet in the deepest part of the basin at low water.

PALUSTRINE :Area dominated by trees, shrubs, persistent emergents, emergent mosses, or lichens. Areas lacking such vegetation are also included if they have all of the following characteristics :

1. Area less than 20 acres ( 8 hectares).

2. No active wave formed or bedrock shoreline.

3. Water depth in deepest part of basin less than 6.6 feet ( 2 meters ) at low water. May be situated at the edge of a lake or river or in river floodplain.

RIVERINE: Wetland and deepwater habitats contained within a channel with periodically or continuously moving water.


Intermittent: Flowing water present only part of the year. When water is not flowing, it may remain in isolated pools or surface water may be present.

Limnetic: deep water (greater than 6.6 feet).

Littoral: from shore to a depth of 6.6 feet.

Lower Perennial: Water velocity slow, but some water flows throughout the year. Gradient is low. The substrate consists of sand and mud. Oxygen deficits may occur.

Upper Perennial: Gradient high, water velocity fast. Water flows throughout the year. Substrate consists of rock, cobble, gravel, and sand. Dissolved oxygen content high.


Aquatic Bed: This includes wetlands and deepwater habitats dominated by plants that grow principally on or below the surface of the water for most of the growing season in most years.

Emergent: Vegetation includes erect, rooted herbaceous hydrophytes representing more than 30% of the areal cover.

Persistent: Vegetation remains upright and visible throughout the year.

Non-persistent: Vegetation dies back and is not visible during the non-growing season.

Forested: Woody vegetation that is 6m tall or taller covering 30% or more of the area.

Open Water: Non-vegetated areas less than 20 acres that are covered by water less than6.6 ft (2m) deep. This includes ponds, borrow pits, small reservoirs, and open water areas within a marsh or swamp.

Rock Bottom: Areas with stone, boulder, or bedrock cover 75% or more, vegetative cover <30%, and permanently flooded.

Rocky Shore: Areas with 75% or more bedrock, stones, or boulders, vegetative cover <30%, and not permanently flooded.

Scrub-Shrub: Characterized by woody vegetation less than 20 ft (6m) covering 30 % or more of the area.

Stream Bed: Areas where channel is completely dry at low water periods and vegetative cover <30%.

Unconsolidated Bottom: Wetlands in which the substrate is at least 25% particles smaller than stones, vegetative cover < 30 %, and permanently flooded.

Unconsolidated Shore: Areas with less than 75% coverage of bedrock, stone, or boulders, vegetative cover < 30%, and not permanently flooded.



Artificially flooded: Flooding controlled by pumps or siphons in combination with dikes or dams.

Intermittently exposed: Surface water throughout the year except in extreme droughts.

Intermittently exposed/permanent: See definitions for intermittently exposed and permanently flooded.

Intermittently flooded: Substrate usually exposed, variable presence of surface water without detectable seasonal periodicity.

Permanently flooded: Surface water throughout the year in all years.

Saturated: Substrate saturated to the surface for extended periods during the growing season but surface water seldom present.

Seasonally flooded: Surface water for extended periods in growing season but not at the end of the growing season.

Semipermanently flooded: Surface water throughout the growing season in most years.

Temporarily Flooded: Surface water for only brief periods during the growing season with the water table well below the soil surface for most of the season.


Artificial substrate: Substrates placed by humans.

Beaver: Created by beaver activity.

Diked/Impounded: Barrier obstructs inflow (dike) or outflow (impoundment) of water.

Excavated: Lies in a basin or channel excavated by humans.

Farmed: Altered for the production of crops but hydrophytes could reestablish.

Partially drained/ditched: Artificially drained but can still support hydrophytes.

Spoil: Refuse material removed from an excavation.

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 Wetlands Home Page
 Understanding Wetlands
 Functions and Values
 Status and History
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 Mitigation Banking
 Illinois Wetland Types
 National Wetland Inventory
 Glossary Acronyms
 Literature Cited

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