Advisory: The only way to know for certain if a parcel contains regulated wetlands/waters is to obtain a written wetland delineation confirmation/jurisdiction determination from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Typically, a landowner will hire a consultant to perform the delineation and obtain a delineation confirmation/jurisdiction determination from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While helpful, maps alone are insufficient to conclusively determine the presence or absence of wetlands.
Sources to determine whether property has tidal or non-tidal wetlands:
Remote assessment can provide an initial indication using mapping resources including topographic maps, wetland maps, soil maps, and hydrology maps.
- National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Maps
United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS)
- Resource to research approximate location.
- NWI Chesapeake Hydric Soils Map (PDF)
Map Definition: This map shows areas where there is a high probability of wetlands existing on a parcel.
- USGS Quad Maps
Quads: Bowers Hill, Deep Creek, Fentress, Kempsville, Lake Drummond SW/NW, Norfolk South and Pleasant Ridge
- Recognizing Wetlands
US Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for confirming the presence and extent of wetlands on a parcel.
- United States Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
Contact the Regulator of the Day ("ROD") at 757-201-7652 to determine if Corps staff has previously confirmed any wetlands on the parcel or issued any wetlands permits.
You may also wish to contact the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) at 757-518-2000 to determine if DEQ has issued any wetlands permits for the parcel.
- Agents & Consultants
- A consultant can perform a wetlands delineation.
- All wetlands delineations should be confirmed by the Corps.
Federal, State, & Local Agency Jurisdiction
Different federal, state, and local agencies have jurisdiction over different types of wetlands. The following list generally describes the jurisdictional divisions:
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over waters of the U.S. (surface waters that involve interstate commerce, their tributaries, and tidal and non-tidal wetlands adjacent and connected to these waters).
- In Virginia, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has jurisdiction over state surface waters including all tidal and non-tidal wetlands, including those which the Corps does not, such as Isolated Wetlands. These state surface waters are also waters of the U.S. as described above. See DEQ's Tidewater Regional Office for more information.
- In Virginia, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) has jurisdiction over state-owned subaqueous bottom, that is, lands below the mean low water or ordinary high water line and tidal wetlands.