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Wetlands Training Courses
The Wetlands training courses provide guidance on characterizing, designing, constructing, and monitoring compensatory mitigation wetlands and constructed treatment wetland systems.
Natural wetlands have been called 'nature's kidneys' because of their ability to remove contaminants from the water flowing through them. Wetlands are perhaps second only to tropical rain forests in biological productivity; plants grow densely, and there is a rich microbial community in the sediment and soil in part supported by the plant roots.
Constructed treatment wetlands are manmade wetlands developed specifically to treat contaminants typically in water that flows through them. They are constructed to recreate, to the extent possible, the structure and function of natural wetlands. Like other phytoremediation approaches, treatment wetlands are self-sustaining (though sometimes optimized with minimal energy input), making them a very attractive option for water treatment compared to conventional treatment systems, especially when lifetime costs are compared.
Based on Technical and Regulatory Guidance Document for Constructed Treatment Wetlands (WTLND-1, 2003), this course describes the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms operating in wetlands treatment systems; the contaminants to which they apply; the characteristics of sites suitable to treatment in this fashion; and relevant regulatory issues.
Once regarded as wastelands, wetlands are now considered a valuable ecosystem. By the 1980s as much as 50% of the original wetlands resources in the United States had been lost and were disappearing at a rate of approximately 300,000 to 400,000 acres per year. Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals are part of wetland ecosystems. Physical and chemical features such as climate, topology, geology, and the movement and abundance of water help determine the plant and animal varieties that inhabit each wetland.
Mitigation (Restoration) wetlands are built to offset wetlands losses due to development or degradation. They are designed to return wetlands from a disturbed or altered condition to the previously existing condition or create new wetlands to compensate for the loss. Recent reports have highlighted the high failure rate of mitigation wetlands, with only 30%-50% of all projects considered successful. To improve the success of wetland mitigation projects, this training presents comprehensive guidance for regulators, environmental professionals, or owners to use to understand, characterize, design, construct, and monitor mitigation wetlands. The course is based on Characterization, Design, Construction, and Monitoring of Mitigation Wetlands (WTLND-2, 2005) by the ITRC Mitigation Wetlands Team.