If you have a vacant property which you’d like to purchase and you need to make absolutely certain your project won’t be blocked because of a wetland, you will need to submit a jurisdictional determination request. Essentially this is a letter you will receive back from the US Army Corp of Engineers and / or your county stormwater agency stating that they agree with your wetland delineation and you are either not in a wetland or your plans for the property don’t disturb the wetland.
This letter is what we call “agency buy-in” and is the assurance our clients often need to purchase a property.
There are two main regulators of wetlands in the United States. The primary regulator is the US Army Corp of Engineers. The other is your county stormwater agency. There is a third (potential) agency which would be the municipality that your property is in but typically stormwater regulation is left up to the county regardless of whether your property can be found in an incorporated or unincorporated area. A certified wetland delineator can perform a wetland delineation but the “deliverable” from this service is just a report. Inside the report is the scientific opinion of our experienced staff. We submit the report to the appropriate regulatory agency and ask them to agree with us on the findings. Most often, the agencies agree with us. Sometimes they do not. If they don’t agree, we need to go back out and do more work.
The problem is, when dealing with the people who work at these agencies, the outcomes of the process can’t be known in advance. Some of the people who review our documents grade them hard, some of them softly and you never know who will be grading our homework.
The purpose of purchasing a vacant property which may or may not have wetlands on it is to eventually build something on it that suits the needs of the commercial property buyer. There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake between the cost of the land and the cost of the architecture and engineering. We NEED to know if we will be allowed to build on the property before we spend a lot of money on plans that will be denied by the government regulators.
The jurisdictional determination is a request from the wetland consultant and our client, to the regulatory agencies, for a letter that tells us that they agree with our findings and we are done investigating if jurisdictional wetlands exist on a property. It’s a green light to start spending money on property and design.
Call A3E for Wetland Due Diligence
Whether it’s wetland screens, wetland confirmations, wetland delineations or a jurisdictional wetland determination, A3 Environmental Consultants can get your project done. Call (888) 405-1742 or email us at Info@A3E.com and let’s talk about your project.