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Vegetation Identification for Wetland Delineation: South

Course Code: EH0502CA20

This course is eligible for continuing education credits toward the Society of Wetland Scientists’
Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS) Certificate Program.

Wetland Vegetation Identification Training Course

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Date & Time

Last Held: September 17-18, 2019
8:30am - 5:00pm (Check-in time on Day 1: 8:00am)

View upcoming Vegetation Identification courses.


Wetland plants, also known as hydrophytes or hydrophytic vegetation, have adaptations that enable them to grow and reproduce with their roots in water or saturated soil for at least part of the year. In contrast, plants that cannot survive in saturated conditions are commonly referred to as upland plants.

Along with hydric soils and hydrology, the presence of wetland plants is one of the primary factors involved in the identification of wetland areas and the delineation of wetland boundaries. Therefore, the ability to identify wetland plants and distinguish between upland and wetland plant species is an essential step in the wetland delineation process.

In this two-day course, you will learn plant identification principles and study diagnostic characteristics of species frequently encountered by wetland delineators in the Southern New Jersey region. By the end of the course, you will be able to quickly and confidently identify the wetland plant species that are important in determining if an area meets the hydrophytic vegetation criterion for wetland delineation.

NOTE: This is a field-based course, so please dress accordingly for the outdoors!

Click on the tabs below for more details about this wetland vegetation identification course.

Course Objectives:

1. To provide a review of wetland plant communities of South Jersey, emphasizing their dominant species.

2. To familiarize students with important diagnostic features used to separate plants into groups for field identification.

3. To use field guides to identify plants characteristic of freshwater wetlands in South Jersey.

4. To introduce students to some rare and uncommon plants found in wetlands of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.

Please Note: Tidal wetland plants are not covered in this course.

This wetland vegetation identification course is designed for anyone who wants to gain experience identifying wetland plants, including:

  • Ecologists and Biologists
  • Engineers
  • Environmental Scientists and Consultants
  • Landscape Architects and Landscape Designers
  • Land Surveyors
  • Natural Resources Specialists
  • Park Naturalists
  • Wetlands Specialists and Wetland Scientists
  • Wildlife Field Technicians

Comments from Past Students about this Vegetation Identification for Wetland Delineation course:

"Excellent. [Appreciated] learning minute difference[s] between very similar species."
- Brian Yades, Environmental Scientist

"[This course] is an excellent tie-in to [wetland] delineation training. Good way to learn plants in NJ."

"Very well organized plant ID course; comprehensive in terms of plant communities and habitats."

"I learned different wetland and upland species. It will make wetland identification easier."

"There were several quick useful tips the instructors gave us that would allow one to easily narrow a plant down to a few possibilities."

"Great. The number of wetlands communities we were able to see in the time available was quite a feat."

"The field work, just walking through different plant communities with such knowledgeable people was great."

raplph tiner, wetlands instructorRalph Tiner, M.S., M.P.A.. SWS Fellow has over 40 years of practical experience in wetland delineation and is a nationally recognized authority in the field. He recently retired from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service where he directed wetland mapping in the Northeast United States as part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). He is a nationally recognized expert on wetland delineation and has been actively involved in improving wetland delineation techniques for decades. In addition, he was compiler and principal author of the Federal Interagency Wetland Delineation Manual, which was published in 1989 and is the standard for identifying and delineating wetlands in New Jersey.

Ralph has written extensively on the subject of wetlands and is the author of several field guides including: Field Guide to Non-tidal Wetland Identification, Maine Wetlands and Their Boundaries, A Field Guide to Coastal Wetland Plants of the Northeastern United States, and In Search of Swampland, as well as an update of the Wetland Indicators book entitled Wetland Indicators: A Guide to Wetland Formation, Identification, Delineation, Classification, and Mapping. His most recent books are: Tidal Wetlands Primer: An Introduction to Their Ecology, Natural History, Status, and Conservation and Remote Sensing of Wetlands: Applications and Advances (for which he is senior editor and authored several chapters).

In addition to writing about wetlands, he has been teaching wetland identification and delineation courses through the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education Office since the mid-1980s.

Comments from Past Students about Ralph Tiner:

  • "Ralph is the dude! Entertaining and excellent teacher. Ralph has a deep knowledge of wetlands and much more, is a joy to listen to."
    -Thomas D'Angelo, Environmental Consultant
  • "Very knowledgeable about plants and wetlands in general, entertaining teaching style."
  • "Patient, great at guiding field exercises."
  • "Great expertise and hands on experience."
  • "Mr. Tiner is very knowledgeable and friendly in his teaching methods."

Jump-Start Your Career with a Rutgers Wetland Certificate!

Promote your education and experience in wetland plant identification and delineation -- earn the nationally recognized Rutgers Wetland Delineation Certificate!

This certificate program consists of 7 days of training: 2-day Vegetation Identification course (North or South ONLY), 2-day Hydric Soils class, and 3-day Methodology of Delineating Wetlands course.

Participants must also complete the online exam with a score of 70% or better in order to earn the certificate.

NOTE: If you are planning to earn the Wetland Delineation Certificate, we require that you complete Vegetation Identification and Hydric Soils prior to attending the Methodology of Delineating Wetlands class.

Recertification Credits

The September 17-18, 2019 offering of this course was approved for the following credits. We will reapply for similar credits the next time the course runs, but we cannot guarantee credit approval for future offerings.

In addition to 1.6 Rutgers CEUs, this wetland training course is approved for the following credits:

Certified Public Works Managers - 5 Technical, 5 Management

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits - 14 hours

NJ Landscape Architects - 13 hours

NJ Professional Engineers - 12 Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) credits

NY Landscape Architects - 1 hr CL; 13 hrs EA

NY Professional Engineers - 12 hours

NY Land Surveyors - 12 hours

Society of American Foresters - Category 1: 13.5

Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program (SWSPCP) - Vegetation Identification for Wetland Delineation: South has been pre-approved for 0.8 equivalent semester hours by the SWSPCP as meeting standards for content and instruction toward SWSPCP Professional Certification or SWSPCP Professional Certification Renewal. Approval per course is calculated based upon 15 hours of contact time per credit. Click here for more information about the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program (SWSPCP).

ATTENTION HEALTH OFFICERS AND REGISTERED ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SPECIALISTS - Rutgers University, NJAES, Office of Continuing Professional Education has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs). Participants who complete this course wil be awarded 14.0 CEs.

The Wildlife Society - 12 hours

Required Textbooks

There are 2 Required Textbooks for this Course:

1. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide [ISBN 0316604429] by Lawrence Newcomb - $25 (You may purchase this book on your own or through our office with your registration.)

2. Field Guide to Tidal Wetland Plants of the Northeastern U.S. and Neighboring Canada by Ralph W. Tiner - $30 (This book is only available through our office.)

Wetland Series Rate TBD Save when you register now for this course and Methodology for Delineating Wetlands!
Early Registration Fee TBD  
Regular Registration Fee TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and deli buffet lunch will be provided to you at no additional cost.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


We strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

Cattus Island County Park
Cooper Environmental Center
1170 Cattus Island Boulevard, Toms River, NJ 08753
Directions and Map

(Day 2 is held at a separate location. Further information will be provided in your registration packet.)

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants. Location is subject to change; registrants will be notified in the event of a change.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

Would you like to be notified when the next offering is scheduled? 
Here are 3 convenient ways to be added to our mailing list:
1. Click here to join our mailing list (please reference "Vegetable Identification for Wetland Delineation" or Course Code EH0502) 
2. Call us at 848-932-9271, select option 3
3. E-mail us at ocpe@njaes.rutgers.edu

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Suzanne Hills, 848-932-7234
Administrative Assistant: Arleth Mendoza, 848-932-7764

Attention U.S. Veterans

This course is approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill®. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.