Everglade Wetland Delineation Software and Updates Involving the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL)

Everglade wetland delineation software runs on rugged, mobile field computers/GPS and is used to collect the vegetation, soils and hydrology data required to complete the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) regional determination forms. One of the most popular features of Everglade is the vegetation data collection tab that includes the strata to which the plant belongs, input of common or scientific plant name, the indicator (e.g. OBL, FACW, etc) and other associated data. The plant list within the vegetation data collection window automatically sorts as you begin typing either the common or scientific name of the plant making data entry more efficient.

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The plant list used in Everglade is obtained from the USACE NWPL web-site. The NWPL was fairly static for a number of years until 2012, when a comprehensive update of the NWPL was completed. Scientific nomenclature was updated, the definitions of the five wetland rating categories were revised (Lichvar and Gillrich 2011, Lichvar et al. 2012), and the wetland ratings of 8,149 plant species across 10 geographic regions in the U.S. and its territories were evaluated by wetland scientists, academic botanists, and the public.

As part of the update, the National Panel (NP) for the NWPL developed both short and long qualitative definitions for each category to assist in applying wetland ratings (Lichvar et al. 2012). The short version is as follows:

  • OBL (Obligate Wetland Plants)—Almost always occur in wetlands.
  • FACW (Facultative Wetland Plants)—Usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands.
  • FAC (Facultative Plants)—Occur in wetlands and non-wetlands.
  • FACU (Facultative Upland Plants)—Usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands.
  • UPL (Upland Plants)—Almost never occur in wetlands.

These ratings represent the frequency with which a species is thought to occur in wetlands: OBL (>99%), FACW (67–98%), FAC (34–66%), FACU (1–33%) and UPL (<1%)..

The NWPL is reviewed annually and nomenclature updated by The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). Requests for changes in wetland ratings or additions to the list are reviewed on a semi-annual basis. The NP accepts requests during the periods of January 1 to March 31 and June 1 to August 31. The interim periods will allow time for the NP to determine if adequate information has been submitted and for the Regional Panels (RP) to evaluate the request. Any changes in wetland ratings are posted on the NWPL web site, and the changes become official with the next published version of the NWPL.

The 2014 NWPL update is based on the database received from BONAP in 2013 used to generate the 2013 NWPL update. Included in the 2013 BONAP database were 754 species with new geographic range extensions in Corps wetland regions and 123 species proposed for consideration to be added to the NWPL. A total of 1312 rating changes were made during the 2014 NWPL update.

Electronic Data Solutions has been continually upgrading Everglade and updating the plant list in Everglade as the most recent NWPL is made available. Watch for our update coming in June, 2014 for Everglade with the 2014 plant list. We will continue to add updates as the NWPL and/or regional forms are updated by the USACE. Additional information on Everglade software can be found at: www.everglademobile.com