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Wetland Construction: Principles, Planning, and Design


Course Code: EH0604WA22

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

Excavator and dump truck at a wetland construction site

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Date & Time

October 19-22, 2021
10:30am - 4:30pm EDT (Log-in time: 10:00am EDT)

If these dates don't work for you, we have another offering of this course scheduled for May 11-14, 2021. 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."
- 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 online 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 online lessons, you will 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.

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.)

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 1.8 Rutgers CEUs, this wetland training course is approved for the following credits:

NJ Professional Engineers: 18 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: Pending

NY Landscape Architects: 17.75 hr CL; 3.5 hr EA

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

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

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

Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) Program: 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 are still pending.

The Wildlife Society: Pending

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.

NOTE: Please register by Thursday, October 5, 2021 in order to receive your textbook by the first day of the class. For any registrations received after October 5, we can't guarantee the textbook will get to the student by the first day of class.


Early Registration Fee


Register on or before September 28, 2021 and save!

Registration Fee


After September 28, 2021

Cancellation Fee $100.00  

Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


No meals will be provided.

Accessing this Online Course

This online class will be delivered via Canvas and Webex. Registrants will receive more information as we move close to the course date and on October 18, they will receive an email with a link to access the course. Registrants will also be given access to Canvas at this time, which will have instructions on how to proceed with the class and assignments.

Equipment you will need to access this training:

  • Laptop or desktop computers are required for this class
  • Speakers and microphone are not necessary as a call in option is available

Photo ID Requirement:

Each registrant will be asked provide a photo of him/herself holding their government-issued photo ID. This is required by credit boards so that you may receive credits for participating in this online course.

  • You will receive a reminder email prior to the start of the class with further instructions. Wait to receive these instructions before you attempt to upload your ID.
  • The photo must be clear enough that we can read your name and verify that the person pictured on the ID is in fact the person holding it.
  • After an OCPE staff member reviews the picture and verifies your identity, you will have access to participate in the course when it begins.


  • If this is your first time registering with us, please provide your own unique email address when registering; do not provide an email address that you share with co-workers.

  • If you have previously taken classes with us and have used an email address that you share with your co-workers or supervisor, you must update your account with a unique email address. Click the Register Online button below and sign into your account. On the left side toolbar, click My Account. On the drop-down menu, click Edit Profile/Password. Scroll down to the Email Address field (not the secondary email address field!) and enter your own, individual (not shared!) email address here. Click the Submit button at the bottom to save. If you need assistance updating your account, please email or call (848-932-9271, option 2) our Registration Department.

Note: Pre-registration is required.


Registration will close on October 19, 2021.

To Pay By Credit Card:

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For Registration Assistance:

Please call 848-932-9271, option 2.

Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Suzanne Hills, 848-932-7234
Administrative Assistant: Sarah McCarthy, 848-932-7703