U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District Biologist
Melissa Tarasiewicz has been selected to assist with the development and
management of the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) at the Cold Regions
Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), Hanover NH.
The National Wetland Plant List is a federal species list
that is used in a three factor approach with hydric soils, wetland vegetation,
and evidence of hydrology to make wetland determinations for the purposes of
the Clean Water Act Section 404 Regulatory program.
Management of the list, which includes updating the
scientific names, performing annual reviews, and updating wetland indicator
status, is an interagency effort between the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Environmental Protection Agency, and Natural Resource
Mr. Robert Lichvar, a research botanist, is the Director of
the National Plant List and Chairman of the Interagency Wetland Plant List
panel. He is a renowned botanist with over 30 years of experience in mapping
vegetation in wetlands in the northeast and throughout the U.S., including
Alaska. In his capacity as Director of the NWPL, Lichvar has authored a
veritable library of technical notes and technical reports and has conducted research
studies in every geographic region of the U.S.
Lichvar began his expansive Corps of Engineers career with the
Buffalo District Regulatory Branch and has retained his ties with the Buffalo
District through a collaborative relationship with Harold Keppner, chief of the
monitoring and enforcement section, and by conducting advanced plant
identification courses directed at improving the plant identification skills of
the Regulatory staff.
“Not only were these plant identification courses beneficial
for Regulatory staff, but they also gave Bob a forum to field test a number of
taxonomic keys he was developing,” said Keppner.
Over the years, there have been several occasions in which
staff from CRREL have come to the Western New York Region to field test or
research numerous topics. Most recently, in 2015, a group of CRREL researchers
visited WNY to field test remote sensing technology. The Buffalo District has
been able to assist with these projects and has provided insights on field
sites that would be most productive for the questions being addressed.
This working relationship between CRREL and LRB was further
cultivated four years ago. In seeking developmental opportunities for LRB
staff, Keppner coordinated with Lichvar in seeking temporary detail positions
“Again, this symbiotic relationship has benefitted LRB staff
and exposed them to a wide array of research topics specific to the Regulatory
Program, and CRREL has benefitted from the presence of highly qualified
biologists to support the on-going research,” said Keppner.
The identification, development, and cultivation of
collaborative working relationships between Corps of Engineers Districts and
Research Laboratories are essential in furthering the science that informs the