Exceptional Value Wetland
What is an Exceptional Value Wetland?
Exceptional value wetlands in Pennsylvania are classified by regulations and are a category of wetlands that deserves special protection. Exceptional value wetlands are wetlands that exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:
- Wetlands which serve as habitat for fauna or flora listed as ‘‘threatened’’ or ‘‘endangered.’’
- Wetlands that are located in or along the floodplain of the reach of a wild trout stream or waters listed as exceptional value under PA water quality standards (including tributaries), or wetlands within the corridor of a watercourse or body of water that has been designated as a wild or scenic river.
- Wetlands located along an existing public or private drinking water supply, including both surface water and groundwater sources.
- Wetlands located in areas designated as ‘‘natural’’ or ‘‘wild’’ areas within state forest or park lands, wetlands located in areas designated as federal wilderness areas or national natural landmarks.
Our Wetland and Stream Resources
The existing wetlands here at NatureWorksPark are considered to be “Exceptional Value” because they are located in the floodplain of a tributary to the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River which is classified as a “wild trout (Natural Reproduction) waters.” In fact, just over 75% of the property here at NatureWorksPark is classified as a floodway, floodplain or wetland. The Blair County Conservation District was sensitive to our resource categories and planned accordingly to minimize any impacts to protected areas. We intend to continue to work with our resources and to allow them to flourish and do their job. Whenever possible, we have and will continue to enhance our wetlands and river corridor and promote wise use of these resources.
What Should Be Done to Protect Wetlands?
Because wetlands are so challenging to re-create, avoidance of disturbance or impacts to an existing wetland should be the top priority and is required by both State and Federal Regulations. Determination of wetland boundaries should be delineated by a professional and is required prior to permit application and many approvals. Knowledge of the benefits of wetlands will increase the overall perceived value of the wetland and will serve to increase the protection. Questions regarding the presence and or designation of a wetland can be directed to the Blair County Conservation District. The PA, Department of Environmental Protection and/or the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction over wetland permits, delineation approvals and enforcement of violations.
- The groundwater that humans depend on for drinking and other uses is cleaned and purified by wetlands. There are about 33 trillion gallons of groundwater in the U.S. today!
- The United States has 30 wetlands of international importance. These sites have received recognition from the international community for their unique biology, incredible diversity, and the important habitat they provide for species that migrate around the world.
- Wetlands are fertile farm lands. Many of our foods today grow in wetlands such as wild rice, blueberries, cranberries, mint, and onions.
- After a few hundred years of settlement, the United States has lost more than half of its original wetlands. Going from an estimated 220 million acres to less than 110 million acres. Currently the U.S. loses more than 70,000 acres of wetlands every year.
- Scientists have calculated that every three miles of healthy wetlands could reduce one foot of stormwater runoff.
Wetlands only cover about 5 percent of the land surface in the lower 48 states.