Student Research Projects

Sampling Methods for the National Wetlands Conditions Assessment Database

Student Melinda Hopper
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Earth and Environmental Sciences


The National Wetlands Conditions Assessment (NWCA) is a part of a nation-wide effort to quantitatively and qualitatively evaluate the current condition of water bodies in the United States. Traditionally, each year, the study has focused on a different water body. However this was the first year that wetlands were sampled as a part of a 5 year sampling cycle. About 1,300 study sites were randomly selected in country and reference sites were selected to be used for comparison. The team’s focus was the sampling of 10 reference sites in the New England region. A variety of parameters were used for sampling including wetland vegetation, soil profile and water quality. Samples were also collected from the buffer region surrounding the wetland. When the data are compared, they will provide insight into the long-term effects humans have on wetland ecosystems. It will also provide scientists and legislators the information they need to protect and preserve these habitats.