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Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning and Design

Course Code: EH0604CA20

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

Wetland Construction Course

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Date & Time

Last Held: October 2-4, 2019
8:30am - 5:00pm (Check in time on Day 1: 8:00am)

The next offering of this course is scheduled for May 9, 11, 13, and 16, 2022. View course details and register!


"Going over TR-55 and the field exercise were very useful. Understanding the water budget and the use of functions to support what I am designing will really help me in the future. The drive from Kentucky was well worth it!"
- John D. Bottom, Environmental Engineer, T.H.E. Engineers, Inc., Lexington, KY

As state and federal wetland mitigation standards evolve away from an acre-for-acre approach to a focus on replacing wetland functions, your understanding of the wetland's "wet part" has never been more critical.

This class serves as an introduction to the fundamentals of functional design and provides the means to rapidly assess the distribution of hydrology on your site and create useable hydrographs for presentation of your wetland design.

Building on the student's understanding of wetland functions, this course will also guide you through the many factors required to plan and design a functional wetland. Through classroom lessons and field training at a constructed wetland complex, learn "real world" applications with an emphasis on two key components that drive success: DDT (depth, duration & timing) of site hydrology and the landscape position.

Featured Topics

  • Hydrogeomorphology: The importance of landscape position and where water is coming from

  • Water Budget Calculation: Water inputs/outputs and TR-55 runoff curves

  • The Thornthwaite Method: One method for calculating evapotranspiration

  • Estimating Stream Flow and Producing Basic Hydrographs: Create useable hydrographs for presentation of your wetland design

The course concentrates on the five basic steps in the process of developing a successful wetland construction plan:

Before developing a wetland construction plan, you must understand the purpose of the wetland and the ultimate goals of the project. Your overall wetland plan must account for location, size, physiognomy, basic hydrologic regime, and current/future land use. The proposed primary function(s) must be specific, measurable, and achievable. The wetland is built by constructing structural elements that support the primary function(s).

You must select appropriate models for construction. The hydrogeomorphic model analyzes suitable water supply and landscape position, while the wetland construction model covers basic methods of wetland construction suited to the nature of the water supply.

Water inputs and outputs must be used to prepare water budgets and hydrographs. Successful hydrograph preparation is reliant on data collection and interpretation. Using the results of the modeling facilitates the preparation of the hydrograph.


Vegetation adaptation, selection, and planting are keys to any successful wetland construction plan. You must verify the adaptive modes of plants suitable for your hydrologic regime, and accurately match these plants with your project. You must locate plants which represent native species assemblages and select proper planting methods.

Sub-grade soil percolation must be suitable for the hydrogeomorphic model you develop. Substrate soils must prove suitable to support selected vegetation selections both in texture and nutrient composition.

Learner Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to display their proficiency in planning and designing a functional wetland, using the components of successful applications demonstrated during class presentations and field training at a wetland complex.

Why Take Our Wetland Construction Design Course?

The class will introduce you to the fundamentals of functional design and provide you with the means to rapidly assess the distribution of hydrology on your site and create useable hydrographs for presentation of your wetland design.

Rutgers instructors pioneered this functional hydrologic approach to wetland construction and have been teaching it since 1988. We are still one of only two schools in the nation that teach this approach. (Click here for Instructor Mallory Gilbert's bio.) A visit to a constructed wetland complex in central New Jersey will highlight the "real world" application of functional wetland design. Please dress for fieldwork.

Who Should Take Our Wetland Construction Courses?

  • Architects
  • Computer Assisted Design (CAD) professionals
  • Design / Civil Engineers
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Field Biologists
  • Wetland Scientists
  • Any environmental professional in the process of obtaining wetland permits!

Additional Resources

Continuing Education Credits

The October 2-4, 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 2.4 Rutgers CEUs, this wetland training course is approved for the following credits:

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

NY Professional Engineers: 22 PDHs (NOTE: This class may not be used to fulfill the land surveyors continuing education requirement in NYS.)

NJ Landscape Architects: 17 hours

NY Landscape Architects: 17.75 hr CL; 3.5 hr EA

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits: 24 hours

NJ Licensed Water & Wastewater Operators: 22.5 TCHs (Approval #01-091901-30)

NJ Certified Public Works Managers: 15 Technical, 3 Management, 3 Government

Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program (SWSPCP) - Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning and Design has been pre-approved for 1.6 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 22.0 CEs.

The Wildlife Society - 12 hours

About the Instructor
Wetlands instructor Mal Gillbert

Mallory N. Gilbert, CPSS; PWS, Emeritus; CPESC, Retired; LtCol USAF, Retired (Mal) has been a private consultant since 1986 and has more than forty-years of professional experience in plant sciences, natural resources management, and wetland and soil sciences. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry and Forestry Facilities Design (1972) and a Master of Science degree in Agronomy/Soil Physics (1975), both from the University of Connecticut. He co-developed and has been a principal Instructor for the Rutgers University "Freshwater Wetlands Construction" course since its inception in 1990. Although this innovative course predates the calendar year 2001 National Research Council (NRC) report Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act by eleven years, the recommendations released in the 2001 NRC report actually mirror the key components of the original Rutgers 1990 course content. Newly designed for 2013, Rutgers' Wetlands Construction courses have continued to emphasize use of local wetland reference sites; soils investigations; assessment of weather data; hydrology studies of the depth, duration, and timing of water as predictors of wetland morphology and function; and preparation/use of model hydrographs to plan and construct successful wetland projects.

Mal has authored numerous environmental reports, publications, and regulations for a variety of state, federal, and private organizations. In addition, he has worked as a contributing scientist contractor for the former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station (WES) in Vicksburg, Mississippi and the U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service. Mal has edited and published The Land Judging Guide for Vermont (third and fourth editions), has authored portions of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Laboratory Engineer Research and Development Center, Wetlands Research Program: Wetlands Engineering Handbook (ERDC/EL TR-WRP-RE-2), is a contributing author and editor of Wetland Mitigation: Planning Hydrology, Vegetation and Soils for Constructed Wetlands by Gary J. Pierce, and has also served on the peer review panel for the "Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual: Northcentral and Northeast Regions." Mal completed his tenure as an appointed Board Member of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS), International in 2017, having served three-years as the SWS Awards Committee Chair. He has also served as an Executive Board Member of the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program (SWSPCP), as SWSPCP President Elect (2007-2008), President (2008-2009), Immediate Past President (2009-2010), and as Ethics Committee Chair for the SWSPCP (2011-2016). He continues to serve the SWSPCP as a Member of the Professional Certification Renewal Committee. In 2019, Mal was honored with the SWSPCP's R. Harold Jones Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his achievements as a professional wetland scientist.

Required Textbook
A bound-copy of the required course text, Wetland Mitigation: Planning Hydrology, Vegetation and Soils for Constructed Wetlands by Gary J. Pierce, is included in your registration fee.

PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to save trees, we will NOT be offering binders at this course unless you pay an additional materials fee of $50.00. All materials will now be offered on a thumbdrive, which is included in the registration fee. Thumbdrives will be distributed to students on the first day of class. Attendees will also be sent a link where they can download and print course materials on their own prior to class. If you would like to pay the additional $50.00 fee to receive the printed materials binder, please indicate your preference when you register.

Early Registration Fee



Registration Fee



Printed Materials Binder Fee (optional) TBD  
Cancellation Fee TBD  

Limit one discount per course registration!
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.

Duke Farms
1112 Duke Parkway West, Hillsborough, NJ 08844

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 "Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning and Design" or Course Code EH0604) 
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