The Watershed Assessment Branch of DEP has developed a standardized method for rapidly assessing some of the important natural functions of all types of wetlands present in West Virginia. It is called the West Virginia Wetland Rapid Assessment Method (WVWRAM, pronounced “wiv-ram”).
WVWRAM uses on-site observations and off-site spatial data. This is a regulatory assessment tool for agency staff and environmental professionals. It requires a knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), wetland soils, plants, hydrology, and stressors.
WVWRAM has two components: (1) GIS tool for preliminary scoring and off-site metrics, and (2) rapid field method for final scoring. Both components are required for regulatory use, but the GIS tool can be used as a stand-alone for planning purposes.