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Wetlands of Distinction Criteria

In order to be considered a Wetlands of Distinction by the Society of Wetland Scientists a wetland must exhibit one or more of the criteria provided in LIST 1 and one or more of the criteria provided under LIST 2. The Society of Wetland Scientists’ Wetlands of Distinction’ Regional Chapter Reviewers will have oversight over nominations and are encouraged to use their collective knowledge and expertise of regional wetlands when selecting Wetlands of Distinction.

*Note: There are no set thresholds for the functions and services under LIST 2. The burden of proof falls upon the applicant. It is the reviewers’ job to determine if the applicant’s assessment is valid.

LIST 1: A wetland must demonstrate at least ONE of the 5 criteria below:

  1. Currently a Ramsar Site
  2. Listed on more than one “valuable wetland” list by natural resource agencies or nongovernment organizations.
  3. A rare or unique wetland type within its own biogeographical region
    Meeting this criterion would include, but is not limited to, wetlands with unique hydrology or chemistry that make it rare within its own region.
  4. Protects biologically diverse wetland flora, fauna and/or their habitat
  5. Supports significant numbers of wetland-dependent fauna, such as, water birds or fish

LIST 2: A wetland must go above and beyond in at least ONE of the following services listed below:

  1. Self sustaining system that maintains ecological connectivity/cohesion
  2. Aesthetic/cultural heritage value/ provisioning
  3. Recreation (birdwatching, ecotourism)
  4. Education/Research
  5. Aquifer recharge
  6. Storm abatement
  7. Flood storage/mitigation
  8. Carbon storage
  9. Water quality improvement
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