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What’s a "wetland delineation" and why do I need one?

Typically landowners need a wetland delineation as part of the process of obtaining a Certificate of Approval prior to undertaking some improvement. If you're still in the planning stages, we suggest checking the Property Owner's Resource Guide, developed jointly by the Cook County Planning & Zoning and Soil & Water Departments specifically for those who own or are considering purchasing property in Cook County, Minnesota.

A wetland delineation shows where the wetlands are on your property. It requires an on-the-ground survey examining the soil types, the vegetation, and the hydrology. Cook County uses the technical definition of a wetland as determined by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

A Certified Wetland Delineator visits the property to survey hydrology, soil types, and plants, as well as to flag the tentative wetland boundaries. The delineator also prepares a written report (which includes a map and data sheets) describing conditions found at various locations on site. At this point in the process the delineation is still considered tentative. 

Ultimately a wetland inspector from the USACE comes and inspects the site delineation. When the USACOE is satisfied that the flagging and the map correctly delineate the wetlands, a Certificate of Approval is issued.

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