Skip links and keyboard navigation

Guidance for Rating Wetland Values in Delaware 1.1

Search fields


Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Latest documentation


Designed for use in

Delaware, USA



Assessment purpose


Assessment criteria

Significance, Socio-cultural, Physical and chemical, Ecosystem/habitat, Management and planning

Method type

Field, desktop


Rapid term



Wetland system


Description and method logic

Method purpose

This method builds on the condition-based evaluation method which has been in place for Delaware’s nontidal wetlands since 2000. Additional metrics were developed in 2013 to also assess the values provided by nontidal wetlands and are designed to be completed remotely using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and in the field during the Delaware Rapid Assessment Procedure (DERAP) assessment.


This guide is designed to aid users in rapidly assessing the values of wetlands. Wetland condition is different from a wetlands values assessment e.g. a pristine wetland will receive a higher condition score but may receive a lower value score than a disturbed wetland based on the societal benefits provided by that system. Wetland values are based on the opportunity of the wetland to provide a function and the local significance of that function.

Method logic

The steps include:
  • Determine wetland classification
  • Locating assessment area
  • Landholder communication if needed
  • Filling in basic data sheet
  • Adding value metrics/criteria e.g. local significance
  • Final scoring

Criteria groupings of the method

Socio-cultural, management and planning, significance and ecosystem/habitat

Data required

GIS and field survey

Resources required

Expertise required

Ecological expertise, GIS and modelling knowledge, field data collection and analysis and communication skills.

Materials required

1. GIS software with the most-recent state level aerial photographs
2. Wetland mapping
4. Ecological Network or Regional Ecosystems mapping
5. Landowner contact details if needed
6. Field datasheet

Method outputs


A value assessment score sheet incorporating the following metrix:
  • Assessment sites
  • Uniqueness/ Significance
  • Size
  • Habitat Availability
  • Ecological Network Classification
  • Habitat Structure and Complexity information
  • Flood Storage/Water Quality management potential
  • Educational potential

These are combined to provide a final score of 'rich, moderate or limited'.


Prioritisation, management approaches, rehabilitation, catchment planning.

Criteria by category

    Physical and chemical

    • Size
      • 6 categories of size/area of wetland


    • Education
      • Is viewable from a public road
      • Elevated boardwalk/trail (only applicable public property)
      • Is on public property with public access
      • Parking available for ≥ 2 vehicles (only applicable public property)
      • Trail system relatively close (only applicable public property)
      • Will the proposed activity increase public access and/or opportunity for education? (only applicable public property)

    Management and planning

    • Educational value
      • Five infrastructure categories e.g. number of car parks
      • Potential of increase of public access and / or educational opportunities
    • Flood Storage/Water Quality
      • Serves as a buffer for surface waters
      • Water pools on ≥ 50% of wetland assessment area
      • Wetland assessment area has a water regime C-H <WEBID-345>
      • Wetland assessment area rated “High” for surface water detention
      • Wetland assessment area rated “Moderate” or “High” sediment retention
      • Wetland is ≥75% vegetated AND has evidence of storm flow


    • Uniqueness/Local Significance
      • Ecologically significant
      • Has been restored, established or enhanced
      • Rare in the given landscape


    • Availability
      • Six categories from 100% to 5% of buffer for unfragmented and natural areas
    • Ecological network
      • Six categories of connectivity
    • Habitat Structure and Complexity
      • Coarse woody debris
      • Large downed wood
      • Microtopographic relief
      • Plant strata
      • Snags
      • Surface water suitable for amphibians/macroinvertebrates
      • Surface water suitable for fish
      • Tree canopy gap


Recommended user

Potential users include field staff and managers.

Others who might be interested in using the outputs include researchers and staff from science-based non-governmental organisations, and environmental and advocacy groups. Consulting firms, educators, academic researchers, and reporters for written and broadcast media, along with the general public, will also find results to be useful to their interests in wetland science and management. This technique is recommended for government agencies involved in regional wetland management. Land managers and NRM practitioners may find this methodology useful as it is a broadly applicable.


  • Rapid field assessment
  • Consistent with rapid assessment procedures (DERAP).
  • Values rating which people can relate to.


  • Qualitative measures
  • Limited backgrounding and desktop assessment
  • requires DERAP to have been undertaken before it can be used
  • High level expertise required to implement method including training requirements
  • Does not include fauna
  • Limited set of values.

Case studies

(not documented)



  1. Guidance for Rating Wetland Values in Delaware (2014). [online], Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Dover. Available at:

Last updated: 7 February 2019

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2019) Guidance for Rating Wetland Values in Delaware 1.1, WetlandInfo website, accessed 1 February 2023. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science