Rapid Assessment Methodologies (RAMs) are commonly used by Local Government Units (LGUs) to evaluate the functions and values of wetlands. However, the most commonly used RAMs in the midwest (MnRAM and WisRAM) are inherently subjective (Ainslie 1994, Hruby et al. 1995) and different evaluators will commonly give different rankings to the same wetland. This is often related to the degree of field evaluation experience of the evaluator, with accuracy increasing with experience (Ainslie 1994).
SER staff have extensive field experience in wetland inventory, classification, and functional assessment, having examined over 2,000 wetlands in Minnesota alone. We are confident in our ability to accurately assess your wetland.
In addition, our staff is knowledgeable about potential problems associated with using RAMs such as MnRAM and WisRAM and are able to ensure that your wetland is properly evaluated. Our attention to detail has allowed us re-rank the quality of several wetlands to more accurately reflect their values, reducing buffer requirements on wetlands ranked artificially high by LGU evaluations.
For examples of functions and values assessment work that SER has done, please see our Carnelian-Marine Watershed District Wetland Inventory and May Township Wetland Inventory case studies.
Ainslie, W.B. 1994. Rapid wetland functional assessment: its role and utility in the regulatory arena. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 77:433-444.
Hruby, T., W.E. Cesanek, and K.E. Miller. 1995. Estimating relative wetland values for regional planning. Wetlands 15:93-107.