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Corps' new guidebook aims to streamline wetland assessments on North Slope

Published Oct. 2, 2017

By John Budnik
USACE Alaska District Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District published the Operational Draft Regional Guidebook for the Rapid Assessment of Wetlands in the North Slope Region of Alaska. It now is available for use by all permit applicants proposing projects within the Arctic Foothills and Arctic Coastal Plain region.

Also known as the North Slope Rapid Assessment, the tool eliminates the need for the region’s permit applicants to develop independent methods for assessing project impacts. The document is designed to be used with the Alaska District’s Credit-Debit Methodology. This system allows applicants to calculate debits from project impacts as well as credits for proposed mitigation.

“Permit applicants in the North Slope region no longer have to develop or propose methodology to determine sufficiency by using these two tools,” said Sheila Newman, chief of the Alaska District’s Regulatory Special Actions Branch. “Our intent is to provide consistency and transparency in the decision process resulting in a more certain Regulatory environment and reduced costs to applicants.”

The report uses established approaches to characterize regional wetlands, provides the rationale used to determine assessment scores, describes assessment variables used, outlines the developed assessment equations, and provides a step-by-step protocol for applying results.

The region’s remote nature and short growing season limits the time period during which on-site data can be collected. As a result, the rapid assessment method allows for a tiered approach using off-site remotely gathered data and desktop resources or a combination of on-site and off-site data collection. On-site data collection may be required at the discretion of the Corps.

The North Slope Rapid Assessment is available at:

The Corps’ special public notice can be accessed at:


Release no. 17-030