Wetlands can be a sub-
stantial amenity to some
development projects,
actually increasing! the
monetary value of the site.
Wetlands are areas of land where the
soils are saturated for varying periods
of time during the growing season. In
addition,- wetland soils contain little or
no oxygen and as a result, support
plants adapted to such conditions.
Examples of wetland plants common to
the Northern Great Plains and Rocky
Mountain regions include cattails, wil-
lows, rushes, sedges and cottonwoods,
Wetlands have a variety of functions
and values, many of which can
enhance development
projects. Studies show
that residential and
commercial develop-
ments that harmonize
with natural landscapes
and contain wildlife
receive greater public-
ity, and have higher rental rates and
faster occupancy.
Developers are increasingly faced with making land use decisions that
may involve potential impacts to wetlands. Sound planning and design
can turn wetlands into a developmental asset, rather than a liability.
This fact sheet presents general wetland information and explains how
developers can play a vital role in wetland protection without sacrific-
ing the bottom line.
Wildlife Habitat: Urban wetlands
provide food sources, shelter and other
habitat needs for-many fish arid wildlife
species, including endangered species.
Waterfowl, beavers and red-winged
blackbirds are examples of species
commonly found in the Northern Great
Plains and Rocky Mountain regions.
Flood Protection and Water
Quality: Wetlands have the ability to
' hold large volumes of water and
release it slowly during heavy storms,
reducing the risk of property damage. ¦
Wetlands filter and capture sediments,
nutrients and other pollutants from
heavy water flows, thereby improving
water quality.
Aesthetics, Open Space an'
Recreation: Wetlands can
provide natural buffers
between residential areas and
highways. They can be used
as greenways to enhance the
landscape, and help diversify
development tracts. Nature
trails and bike paths adja-
cent to wetland areas add
benefits to development
projects, as communi-
ties increasingly place
more value on open

Preserving existing wetlands is the
single most important thing developers
can do to conserve wetland resources.
The second most important thing is to
restore drained wetlands. In addition,
planting trees and other plants along-
stream banks reduces erosion and
helps protect water quality.
Oftentimes it is~.cost-effective'to
prepare a' project plan that avoids
wetlands .altogether.. If this is. not-
possible, a good land plan can turn a .
wetland into an asset. If you need
assistance identifying wetlands on
your property; contact the Army Corps
of Engineers, the U.S. Fish.and Wildlife.
Service or the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency (EPA) office jn your area.
Consult with a wetlands expert during
the initial design of your project. This
approach should minimize conflicts
with wetlands regulations, and it
demonstrates to citizens your effort to .
protect vital resources.
Section 404'of the nation's. Clean'.
Water Act is the primary means of
wetland protection. Section 404
regulates the discharge of dredged and
¦ fill materials into the waters of the
United States; including Wetlands. It
also establishes a permit program to
ensure that such discharges comply,
with requirements. The U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and the Environ-
mental Protection Agency jointly
administer this permitting process.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and,
other state agencies have advisory roles.
If you are planning a project which
may involve wetlands; contact the
Corps of Engineers office in your area .
and ask about the permitting require- ¦
merits that may be applicable to your
project. Developers who fail to obtain
the necessary 404 permit can be
subject to severe penalties and may be
required to repair the damage they
cause to wetlands.
A Citizen'sHandbook for Wetland
Protection in the Rocky Mountain
and Northern Great Plains Regions.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Region 8. 1989.
Dorward; Sherry. Design for Moun-
tain Communities.• A Landscape
and Architectural Guide. Van
No'strand Reinhold. 1990:
Our Urban Wetlands: An Endan-
gered Resource. A video available
from. U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Region 8.
Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems:
Science, Technology and Public
Policy. National Research Council.
National Academy Press, Washington,
D.G, 1992.
Wetlands: Development Assets.-
David Jensen Associates, Inc., land
planners, 1451 S. Parker Rd., Denver,
CO 80231- • '
Wetlands in the Rocky Mountains
and Northern Great Plains. U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency,
Region 8 brochure. 1992.
A wetlands poster is available on
request. U.S. Environmental Protec-
tion Agency. Region 8.1992,
Please contact•.
EPA Wetlands Hotline
M-F9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.
U..S. EPA Regions (8WM-WQ)
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2466

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