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This is an index page, which means it is the starting place and contains only a little text and lot of links to guide you quickly to the information that you seek. If you wish to contribute to this page then please see the discussion page for further clarification on appropriate content. Some items are still in outline form because the editor hasn't quite finished filling in what he believes to be the absolute minimum required content to make this page the penultimate wetland engineering and restoration reference.



Experienced professionals disagree on semantics. On the definitions page we attempt to find the most acceptable definitions to the wetland restoration jargon.

Professional help

ASPWE generally recommends that you find experienced help for your restoration project.

Doing it yourself

Ducks Unlimited's Valley Habitats series was written to assist landowners in the Central Valley of California with wetland restoration projects. In particular the fourth in the series entitled A Guide to Wetland Restoration on Private Landis useful to small landowners building tiny wetlands.

Also, the Great Lakes/ Atlantic Region of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. has published a 30 page pdf guide for land owners interested in doing wetland restoration in the Northeast US. When this first came out it was a 43 page guide with excellent and specific information on water control structures and other useful information, this more generalized 30 page version is the only document that DU is making available on the internet at this time.

The Ponds Agricultural Handbook is another excellent reference for doing it yourself and is available from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Wetlands for water and wastewater treatment

Generally speaking this wiki is focused on wetlands for habitat. There are however many people working on developing wetlands for water and wastewater treatment. A separate treatment wetlands resources page is available specifically for these projects. Water Quality issues are handled exclusively on that page.

Wetland engineering information


Engineers should always consider safety first. The Safety page concentrates on safety issues uniquely related to working in wetlands and wildlife areas such as exposure to Bird Flu, West Nile Virus, and Lyme Disease.


Resources for hydraulic and other design problems are here on the Design page.


Development of written plans is a cornerstone of engineering work, there are some differences between development of plans for restoration work than other projects, in the following pages you will find helpful guidelines.

The Oklahoma NRCS has published online their entire series of standard drawings related to wetland restoration including flashboard risers, drop inlet structures, wetland levee embankments, and much more. This [link] is an incredible resource.

Specifications and building codes

On the specifications and building codes page you will find help with development of your technical specifications as well as references to applicable building codes.

Mapping and topography

Need to find designated wetlands in your area? Here is a link to the National Wetlands Inventory mapping system.Google Earth is one of the most popular sites for public domain satellite imagery. USGS has always been one of the best sources for maps and satellite imagery.

Need a USGS satellite image right now? Try the National Map Viewer. That link will bring you to a satellite image of North America. From there you can zoom in closer to find what you need. With this online tool you can quickly find map resources and GIS layers for much of the US including wetland polygons supplied by the USFWS. In some places resolution to 1 meter is available.

See mapping tools for more information on equipment to help in map data collection.

Soil information

NRCS is an excellent resource for soils. Here is there online soil survey data system. Still want to use the old book surveys? Well they aren't as easy to find anymore but these links will help you get started.

Construction equipment restoring the land


To the extent possible restoration projects often try to mimic hydrologic conditions of some previous state. When completed this section will provide links to basic hydrologic science resources to help you get started even if you are not a fully trained hydrologist. Also look at our section on hydrologic modelling packages.

Briggs Mfg flashboard riser

Water control structures & pipe

Moving water to and from the wetland project requires thought, these are not your typical utility projects and you shouldn't be thinking that way. The Water control structures & pipe page has information on flashboard risers and other commonly used water control schemes.

Mechanical systems

Many managed restoration sites require pumping plants and other mechanical systems, when completed this section will provide links to resources for these systems.

Fish Ladders

Fish screens and ladders

Need to protect Salmonids? ...or just keep carp out of your wetland project? Then a fish screen is most likely in your future. See the Fish screens and ladders page for specific resources and suppliers related to fish screens and ladders.

Design for beaver and varmint control


Water control structures and culverts are especially vulnerable to being blocked by beavers and they can be seriously diffficult to clear. Various varmint exclusion systems have been in use for many years, when complete this section will have links to those resources. Levees are also subject to damage by rodents and even rare burrowing owls! On a habitat restoration sites there is only so much you can do to protect these structures but you are by no means helpless.

Suitable construction equipment

Need LGP (low ground pressure) equipment? Need amphibious vegetation removal? What about the reach for various excavators? When complete this section will provide helpful links and information on the equipment you will use or encounter on your project.

Unique challenges of site preparation

Mobilization,clearing,grubbing and stripping. Save your stripping materials!! Need we say more? They are a great source of seeds from adjacent and reminent wetlands and of a genotype that will grow well at your location. When complete this section will provide other similar information that will help you with your restoration project.

Construction staking is seriously important

Construction Stakes

Many construction plans and specifications allow a vertical tolerance on site grading of one tenth of a foot, indeed it is extremely difficult and costly to do do better than that even with the most modern equipment. This tolerance is acceptable for restoration work but the restoration professional must be aware of the associated risks that come with it. When creating shorebird habitat for example it is desireable to create water depths of 3 inches or less, with a construction tolerance of ~1 inch you are at risk of losing 1/3 of the desired habitat value due to adjustments during construction.

Compounding the problem is the tendancy for engineers to rely on topographic data they received during the design phase of the project. These data may typically have a 0.5 foot tolerance!! On the flat terrains that are typical for wetland restoration sites you may place a feature on your map at a desired elevation or contour line and find out later that the contour line was hundreds of feet off horizontally! The bottom line here is that you should could consider your plan drawings to be schematic only and rely on your surveying staking crew to find the right elevations for you in the field while staking the project for the contractor. The construction stakes are your last best chance to get correct elevations for the type of habitat that you are developing and should not be simply contracted out to any old surveyor or left to the contractor.

Be sure to leave enough time between staking and mobilization so you can "walk the stakes" to be sure that you are getting the habitat value that you expect and to make adjustments if anything looks amiss. Understand how to read a construction stake and know the difference between a cut and fill stake, compare the stakes with your original plans to be certain that you understand what the project will become when it is constructed.

What you should have paid more attention to from the biologists

Title says it all. When completed this page will hold anectodes that experienced restoraton engineers can provide that may help you not to make the same mistakes.

Dam removal

This is a highly specialized area of restoration and you will find applicable resources on the dam removal page.

Wetland restoration information

Regional considerations

There are regional factors that should be considered when restoring wetlands in different parts of North America, the Regional considerations page provides a place for practioners in these areas to share their knowledge about what works best in their area. The regions available are California Central Valley,Chesapeake Bay,Florida Everglades,Great Lakes,Great Salt Lake,Intermountain West,Mississippi Valley,Northern wetlands,Pacific Northwest,Prairie Potholes,Southern Wetlands, and Western Wetlands

Site selection & real estate

If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to choose a restoration site you still may find that society has not necesarily saved the best locations for you. Here will be links to help you evaluate your real estate and site conditions.

Biological paramaters for restoration

Water depth, interspersion, and species targetting are all examples of biological paramaters for restoration. There are charts to help you understand what water depths to target for different species. Its also important to be aware that succesful restoration sites for waterfowl usually target a 50/50 interspersion rate of emergent vegetation to open water whereas a shorebird restoration site would require all mudflat to very shallow depths with little or no vegetation.

Environmental permitting

Like and construction project wetland restoration projects face the daunting task of obtaining environmental permits, there are an abundance of consultants who can help you and we reccomend that you use them. Other links and information can be found on this page to help you also.


Mosquito abatement

Many mosquito abatement districts have criteria for wetland restoration projects that you should follow. If you work with the districts to help them meet their objectives you will they are not always an enemy to the restoration professional, provide them with easy access and the ability to rapidly fill and drain a site and you will find unexpected allies in the restoration business.

Vegetation removal (exotic or otherwise)

Unwanted exotic, and invasive vegetation is one of the most challenging problems causing the loss of habitat today. When completed this section will provide you with links and help to deal with invasive vegetation

Vegetation establishment

Opinions differ widely on the need for and extent of vegetation establishment effort required for a wetland restoration site to succeed. When completed this section will provide resources onthe subject.

When it all goes wrong

This section will provide whatever help we can find for you when the project is done and not working as expected, an example would e application of bentonite to wetlands that were expected to hold water but didn't.

Wetland management: When it all goes right

Wetland management is a huge subject and we'll make no attempt to cover it all. Look for a few key links to help you find resources to manage your wetland restoration project.

Unique challenges of stream restoration

Bank stabilization methods

Bank stabilization may be required in any kind of project involving water, not just stream restoration. Nevertheless this subject is most relevant to stream restoration and will be treated with relevant links and information here.


Geomorphology is a relatively new science that some respect and others ignore. Links and information about geomorphology will appear in this section.


To the extent possible restoration projects often try to mimic hydrologic conditions of some previous state. When completed this section will provide links to basic hydrologic science resources to help you get started even if you are not a fully trained hydrologist. Also look at our section on hydrologic modelling packages.

Unique challenges of coastal and tidal restoration

Salinity and Brackish Conditions

Creating salt marsh and brackish marsh is challenging for the restoration engineer not least because of the affect the saline environment has on equipment and materials used in the restoration. This section will provide help dealing with these environments.

Tidal Marsh

Restoration in tidal areas is an order of magnitude more difficult than other sites, you no longer have the luxury of adjusting your water surface levels to match constructed grade elevations, you must match the actual elevations provided by mother nature... with help from mankind in the case of sea level rise. Extensive modelling is often required in these restoration projects, look here for links and additional help. Equipment that is unique to tidal marsh restoration includes Tide gates.

Even more information

Books and publications

A collection of books, articles, and publications that pertain to wetland engineering and wetland restoration.

Training courses

Restoration training.

Personal tools