Wetland Research Initiative (WRI)

Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. (WSSI) established the Wetland Research Initiative (WRI) in 2007 in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and one of WSSI’s mitigation bank financial partners, The Peterson Companies (through their Peterson Family Foundation [PFF]). The goal was to create a wetland mitigation research funding mechanism from revenues generated by a portion of credit sales in three mitigation banks (Bull Run, Cedar Run, and North Fork).  

The mission of the WRI, now managed through the Resource Protection Group, Inc. (RPG) (a non-profit 501(c)3) and founded by Mike Rolband, is to fund applied research that makes a real and measurable difference in wetland creation, restoration, and enhancement activities in the Virginia Piedmont.  To date, the WRI has awarded over $3.3M in grants.  The existing and completed research projects funded by this program have focused on the overall effectiveness of compensatory mitigation efforts and specifically how design and construction practices should be modified to improve the performance, in terms of functions and values, of compensatory mitigation.

For more information on the Wetland Research Initiative, please contact:

Jennifer Van Houten, PWS, PWD, CE, LEED®AP
Mitigation Banking Program Manager, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.

Mike Rolband, PE, PWS, PWD, LEED®AP
President, Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc.

Learn about our research projects

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2016 Wetland Mitigation Research Symposium

This April 14, 2016 WRI symposium in WSSI's Gainesville headquarters, sponsored by WSSI and RPG, brought scientists, engineers, and government staff together to further explore compensatory wetland mitigation design, particularly water budget modeling.

Presentation Slides: 


2015 Wetland Mitigation Research Symposium

WSSI and PFF hosted a second symposium in conjunction with the Virginia Association of Wetland Professionals' Annual Fall meeting. Presentations focused on Wetbud, the wetland water budgeting program developed by an interdisipclinary team of scientists from Virginia Tech, the University of Kentucky, and Old Dominion University, and funded by WRI. In addition, researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Christopher Newport University shared results from studies focused on improving wetland reforestation practices. 

2015 WRI Report

Presentation Slides:

  • Using Wetbud: Initial Data Requirements
    Rich Whittecar, PhD ‐ Old Dominion University, Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
    with Ben Hiza, Stephen Stone, Kerby Dobbs, John McLeod, Mathew Richardson, Tracy Thornton, and Cal Smith

2013 Wetland Mitigation Research Symposium

On March 13, 2013, WSSI hosted the first WSSI/PFF Mitigation Banking Research Symposium, an at-capacity event where researchers shared results from studies funded by the WRI and discussed mitigation design and permitting challenges facing both the government and private sectors. Attendees included leadership from a multitude of regulatory and state agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Virginia's Departments of Environmental Quality, Game and Inland Fisheries, Conservation & Recreation, and Transportation; the District Department of the Environment; and the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Professors and students from Christopher Newport University, Duke University, George Mason University, Old Dominion University, Penn State, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, all of whom received WRI grants, made presentations throughout the day. The EPA and the USACE Engineering Development Center made presentations about new wetland assessment tools and federal support to compensatory mitigation.
Click HERE to view recorded sessions of the Symposium. Scroll through the videos to choose topics that interest you. Click on the crosshairs symbol in the player toolbar (next to the volume) to view full screen.

Click HERE to view recorded sessions of the Symposium. Scroll through the videos to choose topics that interest you. Click on the crosshairs symbol in the player toolbar (next to the volume) to view full screen.

Presentation Slides and Additional Symposium Resources:

Symposium Agenda (.pdf 9KB)

  • New methods for water budgeting - Wetbud (.pdf 3.7MB)
    Rich Whittecar, PhD and Kerby Dobbs - Old Dominion University
    Tess Thompson, PhD and Eric Neuhaus - Virginia Tech
    Zach Agioutantis, PhD - Technical University of Crete

Other Available Research Materials and Results

 

RFP #1: Wetland Hydrology Monitoring

Monitoring hydrology in created wetland systems with clayey soils 
Nicole Troyer
Virginia Tech, M.S. thesis - May 2013

Effects of well design and sensor type on the measured hydroperiod of a high clay created wetland soil in Virginia, USA 
W. Lee Daniels, Michel Beck, Nicole Troyer, John Galbraith and Gaber Hassan
9th Annual INTECOL/SWS International Wetlands Conference - June 2012

 

RFP #2: Water Budget Monitoring

Hydrologic Response Caused by Wetland Expansion at Huntley Meadows Park in Hybla Valley, Virginia
Stephen F. Stone
Old Dominion University, M.S. thesis - May 2017

Wetbud – A Free Water Budget Modeling Tool for Created Wetland Design
Stephen Stone, Zach Agioutantis, G. Richard Whittecar, W. Lee Daniels, Tess Thompson and Kerby Dobbs
Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Sustainable Development in the Minerals Industry, Volume 2, 2017, pages 182-188

Use of the Effective Monthly Recharge Model to Assess Long-term Water-level Fluctuations in and around Groundwater-dominated Wetlands 
G. Richard Whittecar, Kerby M. Dobbs, Stephen Stone, John M. McLeod, Tracy L. Thornton, and John C. Smith
Ecological Engineering, Volume 99, February 2017, pages 462-472

Wetbud – A New Water Budget Modeling Program for Created Wetland Design
Lee Daniels
Presented at Society of Wetland Scientists Conference - 2016

Wetbud: A wetland hydrologic design model 
Tess Thompson, Lee Daniels, Rich Whittecar, Zach Agioutantis
Presented at Environmental & Water Resources Institute -2016

2012-2015 Monitoring and Research Summary: Wetlands Restoration at Huntley Meadows Park
W. Lee Daniels, Sara Koropchak, Kathryn Haering, Pat Donovan, Daniel Evans, Tess Thompson, James Jones, Laura Lehmann G. Richard Whittecar, Ben Hiza, Stephen Stone, and Zach Agioutantis
Research website for the Huntley Meadows Restoration Project  

Feedbacks between wetland vegetation and hydrology 
Candice Piercy
ERDC-EL Seminar - April 2010

Evaluating a process-based mitigation wetland water budget model
Matthew A. Gloe, T.M. Thompson, W.C. Hession, W.L. Daniels

Wetbud 
Lee Daniels, Rich Whittecar, Tess Thompson, Zach Agioutantis
South Atlantic/Mid-Atlantic SWS Joint Chapter Meeting - March 2011

Evaluating the contribution of groundwater to wetland water budgets, central piedmont, Virginia
Kerby Dobbs
Old Dominion University, M.S. thesis - August 2013

Evaluation of a water budget model for use in wetland design 
Eric Neuhaus
Virginia Tech, M.S. thesis - August 2013

Evaluation of a water budget model for use in wetland design (poster) 
Eric Neuhaus
Presented at American Ecological Engineering Society Annual Conference - June 2013

Building Basic and Advanced Model Scenarios in Wetbud
Kerby Dobbs
Wetbud Workshop - January 2014

Introduction and Overview of Wetbud 
W.L. Daniels
Wetbud Workshop - January 2014

Understanding groundwater components for Wetbud
Rich Whittecar, Kerby Dobbs, Mathew Richardson, Tracy Thompson, Cal Smith
Wetbud Workshop - January 2014

The programming structure and data requirements for Wetbud 
Zach Agioutantis
Wetbud Workshop - January 2014

Using Wetbud: Surface water considerations
T.M. Thompson, W.L. Daniels, Matthew A. Gloe, Karen Hall, Eric Neuhaus, O. Waverly Parks, Candice Piercy
Wetbud Workshop - January 2014

 

RFP #3: Natural vs. Created Wetlands

Assessment of woody vegetation for replacement of ecological functions in created forested wetlands of the piedmont province of Virginia 
Herman W. Hudson III, Eli Wright, Robert B. Atkinson, and James E. Perry, VIMS
2014 Annual Report submitted to Piedmont Wetlands Research Program

Assessment of woody vegetation for replacement of ecological functions in created forested wetlands of the piedmont province of Virginia 
Herman W. Hudson III, Mellony Seidel, Robert B. Atkinson, James E. Perry
2013 Annual Report submitted to Piedmont Wetlands Research Program

Assessment of woody vegetation for replacement of ecological functions in created forested wetlands of the piedmont province of Virginia 
Herman W. Hudson III, James E. Perry, Jackie Roquemore, and Robert B. Atkinson, VIMS
2012 Annual Report submitted to Piedmont Wetlands Research Program

Assessment of woody vegetation for replacement of ecological functions in created forested wetlands of the piedmont province of Virginia
Herman W. Hudson III, James E. Perry, Jackie Roquemore, and Robert B. Atkinson, VIMS
2011 Annual Report submitted to Piedmont Wetlands Research Program

Development of wetland structure, functions and services through tree planting: A large scale field experiment in Virginia, USA
Wes Hudson, VIMS
2013 Spring Biological Science Seminar, VIMS

Two year survival and growth of seven wetland tree species in three hydrologically distinct habitats 
Wes Hudson, VIMS
9th Annual INTECOL/SWS International Wetlands Conference - June 2012

Survival and growth of seven tree species from three stocktypes planted in created wetlands in Loudoun County, Virginia 
Mellony Seidel, Jacqueline D. Roquemore, and Robert B. Atkinson, Christopher Newport University

Tree survival and growth in created wetland mitigation sites in Virginia: A field validation study 
Wurst, S.J., J.D. Roquemore, J.M. Campo and R.B. Atkinson, Christopher Newport University
H.W. Hudson, III, VIMS

 

RFP #7 Small Grant Program

  • Task #1: Changes in Soil-Water Characteristics Due to Construction Practices of a Mitigation Bank Wetland in the Virginia Piedmont

Water distribution in constructed wetland soil profiles 
Bradley J. Petru and, Changwoo Ahn, George Mason University
George Chescheir, North Carolina State University
 

Alteration of soil hydraulic properties during the construction of mitigation wetlands in the Virginia Piedmont 
Bradley J. Petru and, Changwoo Ahn, George Mason University
George Chescheir, North Carolina State University
Ecological Engineering: The Journal of Ecosystem Restoration - 2012 
 

Assessment of water budgets and hydrologic performance of a created mitigation wetland - a modeling approach 
Bradley J. Petru and Changwoo Ahn, George Mason University
George Chescheir, North Carolina State University

  • Task #2:  A Comparison of Wetland Functions and Services on Restored Wetlands of the Piedmont Carbon and Nitrogen Storage Release Estimates

WSSI Consortium Projects Progress Report
R. Scott Winton and Curtis J. Richardson, Duke University Wetland Center
 

  • Task #3:  Determination of Wetland Soil Hydroperiod, Rooting Depth, and Organic Matter Levels in Natural vs. Created Wetlands

Determination of Wetland Soil Hydroperiod, Rooting Depth and Organic
Matter Levels in Natural vs. Created Wetlands

W. Lee Daniels, Erik Severson and Mike Beck
Dept. of Crop & Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

  • Task #4:  Assessing Availability of Groundwater Resources for Piedmont Mitigation Wetlands (Project 4)

Groundwater and stratigraphy in two valley bottom wetlands: Central Piedmont, Virginia, USA 
Kerby Dobbs and G. Richard Whittecar, Old Dominion University

Historical groundwater fluctuation in Suffolk, Virginia: Simulated using effective monthly recharge (Wem) model
G. Richard Whittecar, John McLeod and Tracy Thornton, Old Dominion University
 

  • Task #5: Improving Wetland Creation and Restoration: Species Selection, Site Preparation, and Planting Techniques

Survival & Growth of Restored Piedmont Riparian Forests as Affected by Site Preparation, Planting Stock, and Planting Aids 
C.M. Curtis, W.M. Aust, J.R. Seiler, and B.D. Strahm, Virginia Tech

Survival & Growth of Restored Piedmont Riparian Forests as Affected by Site Preparation, Planting Stock, and Planting Aids (Report) 
C.M. Curtis, W.M. Aust, J.R. Seiler, and B.D. Strahm, Virginia Tech 

Evaluation of riparian forests established by the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Virginia 
B.N. Bradburn, W.M. Aust, C.A. Dolloff, D. Cumbia, and J. Creighton

  • Task #6: Determining Physiochemical Parameters to Enhance Tree Growth and Design Plans for Piedmont Created Wetlands

     
  • Task #7: Development of a Wetland Vegetation Hydraulic Properties Database

Surface water flow resistance due to emergent wetland vegetation 
Karen Hall, Virginia Tech

WSSI Consortium Projects Progress Report: 2014 
Author: Various     Research Institution: Various
 

  • Task #8: Comparing Mitigation Success to Mitigation Banking Instruments and Permit Conditions - Vegetation

     
  • Task #9: Comparing Mitigation Success to Mitigation Banking Instruments and Permit Conditions - Hydrologic and Soil Conditions

  

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