In 2010, the Kentucky Division of Water received a Wetland Program Development Grant to develop a Rapid Wetland Assessment Method that could be used in Clean Water Act Section 401 and 404 permitting decisions. A team of Kentucky state and federal resource agencies known as the Technical Work Group (TWG), was assembled to develop the assessment with the goal of rapidly assessing the ecological integrity of existing natural wetlands. Over four years of discussions, field work and data analyses, the TWG developed the first version of Kentucky’s rapid wetland assessment known as the KY-WRAM.
In collaboration with Eastern Kentucky University, we have assessed over 300 wetlands across the Commonwealth using KY-WRAM, encompassing all ecoregions and a diverse array of types: sloughs, sinkhole depressions, woodland vernal pools, wet bottomlands and seeps. Initial work on intensive assessments for vegetation, amphibians, bird and aquatic insects has shown that KY-WRAM is sensitive to the quality continuum and repeatable. The most recent version of KY-WRAM and its guidance manual are available for download here: