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Press Release:

Scientists Complete Complex Farmed Wetland Delineation In Birmingham Bottoms

January 31, 2012


David Flick, Principal and Founder, announces that the firm has completed work on a complicated wetland delineation of approximately 140 acres of farmed fields in the Birmingham Bottoms area of Kansas City, Missouri. Shane Staten, the firm’s Senior Wetland Ecologist was the Project Manager.


The Birmingham Bottoms area is situated in the geomorphic floodplain of the Missouri River. The Missouri has had a profound influence on this location because the relatively high water table and historic flooding from the river has shaped the area’s soils and vegetation to be favorable for wetland conditions. As levees were built and wetlands were reclaimed for agricultural production, the hydrologic influence of the Missouri River on this part of Kansas City has declined but many farm fields still contain wetland areas that produce crops during most years.


This presents a challenge for land development which is changing this farmed landscape into one where light industrial land use is becoming more common. Specifically, as land developers begin their due diligence in advance of environmental permitting, it is difficult for them to predict what areas in farm fields would be considered to be wetlands by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when the soils and vegetation are repeatedly disturbed by agricultural production and crops routinely grow.


Because the field work was done in late summer during the dry season and because agricultural manipulation of the vegetation, soils and hydrology has obscured the current limits of farmed wetlands, several techniques were utilized to accurately delineate any farmed wetlands. First, a thorough review of historical aerial photographs and precipitation records led to the selection of one image as showing the extent of surface inundation or saturation under the most normal hydrological conditions. Additionally, since farmed wetlands usually do not present many obvious signs of wetland conditions, Terra Technologies scientists had to rely on many indirect signs of wetland hydrology. Finally, signs of crop stress due to excess water had to be differentiated from those caused by stray herbicide application, soil fertility and other sources. The result was a scientifically defensible description of the current limits of potentially jurisdictional features on the client’s property.


For more information about delineation of properties that may contain farmed wetlands, please contact your local office of Terra Technologies.






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