Wetlands Mapping Layer is No Substitute for Boots on the Ground

In September, Fairfax County announced an interactive mapping application that can be used to identify potential wetland locations. This new tool makes it easier than ever to identify any potential wetlands in proposed project areas in Fairfax County, however it is not a substitute for on the ground delineation of jurisdictional Waters of the U.S. Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. compared the Potential Wetlands Area Map (Map) with a sample of sites where we had delineated and survey-located wetlands, and found that the Map, because it is based simply on mapped hydric soils and slopes less than five percent, generally, but not always, depicts more potential wetland than is actually present.

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Fairfax County’s Potential Wetlands Area Map is a tool for initial site assessment, but further investigation is recommended before preparing development plans.

Fairfax County’s Potential Wetlands Area Map is a tool for initial site assessment, but further investigation is recommended before preparing development plans.


Endangered and Threatened Species Alert: Survey Window for the State-Threatened Wood Turtle Opens Soon

WSSI scientist handling a wood turtle.

WSSI scientist handling a wood turtle.

If your Virginia project site includes a clear, moderate- to fast-flowing perennial stream and a relatively undisturbed floodplain, it may be home to the wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta).  As a state-threatened species in Virginia, the wood turtle is protected by state endangered species laws.  You can minimize the impact this species can have on your project schedule by having Wetland Studies and Solutions conduct a wood turtle survey early in the development process – preferably when the turtle enters the aquatic phase from approximately November to early April (depending on water temperatures).

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Revisiting Virginia’s History in the Archeological Finds of Accotink Quarter

The year 2019 marks 400 years since the first documented enslaved people were brought to Virginia, and the Commonwealth has commemorated this and other events which have shaped our nation’s culture, diversity, and democratic process.  Recently the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History highlighted how artifacts can help tell the story of those individuals by posting a photo of glass beads that archeologists from Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. recovered from what is considered one of the most important archeological sites in Virginia – a mid-18th century slave quarter in Fairfax County.

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Glass Beads, Accotink Site, Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County, VA. Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution.

Glass Beads, Accotink Site, Fairfax County Park Authority, Fairfax County, VA.
Photograph by James Di Loreto, Smithsonian Institution.