Sinkholes, Helenium spp., etc.

3 Aug 2000
John Knox asked me to see what I could find that would assist in his project to explore appropriate wetlands (acid clay soils, epemeral wetlands, vernal pools, sinkhole ponds, probably Karst topography) between Virginia and Missouri. Here I'll cache what I find that seems like it might be useful.

It occurred to me (while taking a shower this morning...) that 'wetland inventory' might be a useful search term, and sure enough there's a National Wetland Inventory (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) out there someplace. What I'd like to find is that it has a substantial GIS component, such that I could combine what it has with geological maps... along the lines of the image at EPA (and the EPA's page at

Here are the links I happened upon in the search:

GAP (National Gap Analysis Program)

Endangered Species Information System

Oregon Wetlands Maps (just a description of the national program) AHAH!! --and see the Wetlands Interactive Mapper. I did one for Augusta VA but I'm not sure just how valuable these maps could be for John's purposes. Want to get at the raw data, I think... See for quad data (stored in 1:250,000 units --viz, Charlottesville)...

What I get is a quad map with wetlands data: area, perimeter, Attribute codings like "PEM1A", "PUBHh", "PSS1C" and so on... in UTM coordinates, which means the data will match up with NAD27 topographic maps... this is BINGO!!! See this summary metadata statement for an overview of the series. And there's a note that "NWI data is available on CD-ROM via Obviously we need the classification scheme, to see if that can be used to extract just what we want: Cowardin et al. 1979 Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States, USFWS. Lyon's Practical handbook for wetland identification and delineation (QH104 .L95 1993) doesn't have the codes, but does discuss some of the problems. Note also Branch of Habitat Assessment, which has plant lists.

The codes (Cowardin et al., above) include modifiers for pH, water regime, water chemistry... and there's an Emergent Wetland category, and a Palustrine subtype

I haven't found a guide to the Attribute codes yet, but I did get the Sherando quad and overlay the Maple Flats ponds as Chuck defined them, with interesting results that may allow us to figure out the Attributes:

Maple Flats Pond N and S PUBHh
Spring Pond PUBH
Willow Pond PUBH
Twin Pond PUBH, but with PFO1E between the two
Split Level Pond PUBH and PFO1E
Pond 5 PUBH
Pond 6 PUBF
Elusive Pond PUBF
Oak Pond PUBF and PFO1E
Mosaic Pond PUBF
Pond 4 PFO1E
Pond 18 PFO1E
What I don't know (yet...) is what those other wetlands entities are.

I found what seems to be the Attribute Codes at, and an exposition at Too bad all states don't offer what Nebraska does at (well worth exploring even if one cares nought about Cornhuskers...)

Society of Wetland Scientists is worth knowing about, and has links to quite a few other organizations in the area of wetlands.