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Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning and Design

Course Code: EH0604CA18

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

September 25-27, 2017
8:30am - 5:00pm (Check in time on Day 1: 8:00am)


"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

There are five basic steps in the process of developing a successful wetland construction plan. 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.

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.

Building on your 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, you’ll 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.

  • 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

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

In addition to 2.4 Rutgers CEUs, this wetland training course is approved for the following credits:

NJ Professional Engineers: Pending

NJ Certified Public Works Managers: Pending

NY State Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors: Pending

NY Landscape Architects: Pending

Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) Credits: Pending

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). CEs for Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning and Design are still pending.

About the Instructor

Wetlands instructor Mal GillbertMallory N. Gilbert, PWS, CPSS, CPESC (Mal) has been a private consultant since 1986 and has more than thirty-five 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 regarding planning and design of constructed wetlands mirror Rutgers course content. Newly designed for 2013, Rutgers' Wetlands Construction courses will continue 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. 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) and, most recently, served on the peer review panel for the "Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual: Northcentral and Northeast Regions." Mal is currently serving as Ethics Committee Chair for the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program, Inc. (SWSPCP). He has also served the SWSPCP as an Executive Board Member, as President Elect (2007-2008), President (2008-2009), and Immediate Past President (2009-2010).

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.

Early Registration Fee


Register on or before September 11, 2017 and save!

Registration Fee


After September 11, 2017

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and 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.

Rutgers Eco Complex
1200 Florence-Columbus Rd, Bordentown, NJ 08505
Directions and Map

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.


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Program Questions? Contact Us!

Senior Program Coordinator: Dalynn Knigge, 848-932-7315
Administrative Assistant: Bianca Scardina, 848-932-7316

Attention U.S. Veterans

All of the courses offered by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education are approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for tuition reimbursement through the GI Bill. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.