Constructed Wetlands

F. X. Browne, Inc. has designed numerous constructed wetlands and restored many existing wetlands for stormwater management and non-point source pollution control and wetlands mitigation. Dr. Frank Browne teaches the design of constructed wetlands at Villanova University. Our staff of engineers, scientists, and biologists works closely together to design wetlands that are hydrologically and ecologically efficient. 

Stormwater best management practices (BMPs) such as constructed wetlands can be installed or retrofitted to treat and infiltrate stormwater. Constructed stormwater wetlands are designed wetland systems that temporarily store stormwater runoff in shallow pools planted with wetland vegetation. Like rain gardens (bioretention systems), the purpose of a constructed stormwater wetland is to allow the particulate pollutants in stormwater runoff to settle, allow for the biological uptake of pollutants by wetland plants, and to lower peak discharges for downstream flood control.


Constructed stormwater wetlands have relatively low maintenance costs once the site is established as a miniature self-contained ecosystem. They provide high pollutant removal efficiency as well as providing aesthetic and recreational benefits and wildlife habitat.

In 2003, F. X. Browne, Inc. converted its own detention basin into a naturalized pond-wetland. The constructed wetland located at the F. X. Browne, Inc. headquarters in Lansdale, PA treats runoff from our parking lot. To view a series of before and after photos documenting the construction of the stormwater wetland, see in the Case Studies section.


Wetlands Consulting Services

F. X. Browne, Inc. was among the first in eastern and central Pennsylvania to delineate wetlands and to obtain wetland encroachment permits for a wide-variety of project related-activities. We are accustomed to all aspects of the wetland regulatory process and deal on a regular basis with individuals from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), the environmental agencies of various states, and many county conservation districts. F. X. Browne, Inc. has an excellent rapport with the ACOE, state environmental agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal, state, and local agencies whose interactions are invaluable in the regulatory and permitting process.

In addition to our extensive experience in performing wetland delineations and preparing wetland permits, our staff at F. X. Browne, Inc. has experience in the following areas:  

  • Wetland Mitigation Plans
  • Constructed Wetlands
  • Wetland Mitigation Monitoring
  • Wetland Restoration Plans
  • Water Quality Monitoring for Wetlands
  • Wetlands Education Curriculums

Currently, F. X. Browne, Inc. has accurately delineated wetlands on over 21,000 acres. F. X. Browne, Inc. has a 100% success rate in obtaining Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Section 404 Nationwide and Individual permits, state individual permits, general permits, and permit waivers. To remain this successful, advanced training is essential. Our wetland biologists routinely attend advanced wetland training courses. These courses typically pertain to regulatory issues and permitting, delineation for disturbed and difficult sites, and wetland creation and mitigation.  

Many of our staff members at F. X. Browne, Inc. are actively involved in numerous professional organizations and a few of these organizations are listed below: 

   ●   Society of Wetlands Scientists, (SWS)

   ●   Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM)

   ●   PennsylvaniaLakes Management Society (PALMS)

   ●   North American LakeManagement Society (NALMS)

   ●   Northeast Aquatic Plant Management Society (NEAPMS)    

   ●   American Water Works Association (AWWA)

   ●   American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

   ●   Water Pollution Control Federation (WPCF)  

Active involvement for many of our staff members includes preparing papers for publication, speaking at conferences and seminars, and serving as board members. Currently, some of our staff members are serving as board members for the North American Lake Management Society and the Pennsylvania Lake Management Society (PALMS).

Also, many of our engineers, scientists, and planners are professionally licensed or certified in their areas of expertise. Staff members at F. X. Browne, Inc. are currently licensed or certified as Professional Engineers (P. E.), Professional Planners (PP), and Professional Land Surveyors (PLS).


Wetland Services Offered by F. X. Browne, Inc. 

F. X. Browne, Inc. provides a wide-variety of wetland services to meet all of your project needs. Our clients often refer to us as a “One Stop” Wetland Services Firm. With your project, we can handle everything from “A to Z” or in wetlands terminology from “Wetland Determinations to Wetland Mitigation (Creation).”  

At F. X. Browne, Inc., we provide the following wetland services:

R   Wetland identification, delineation, and classification

R   Wetland mitigation

R   Wetland mitigation monitoring

R   Wetland boundary mapping

R   Evaluation of wetland impacts

R   Habitat assessment

R   Assessment of wetland function and value

R   Coordination of agency field evaluations

R   Pre-application and public hearing presentations

R   Public hearing testimony

R   Tracking permits throughout the regulatory process

R   Field evaluation for rare, threatened, and endangered species

R   Identification of prime and critical plant and wildlife habitats

R   Preparation of Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plans

R   Preparation of Joint Permit Applications

R   Preparation of requests for ACOE individual and nationwide permits, state individual and general permits, and permit waivers

R   Environmental Impact Statements

R   Preparation of extensive environmental questionnaires and assessments

R   Wetland Evaluation Technique (WET 2. 1)

R   Pennsylvania Modified Habitat Evaluation Procedure (PAMHEP)

R   Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP)

R   Resolving Violations

R   GIS mapping and database development

R   Bog Turtle Surveys (Screening and Phase I Assessments)

R   Endangered Species Surveys

R   Municipal Consulting  

Perhaps our greatest strength is the ability to deal with the overall complexity of wetlands issues and problems. Our vast experience in wetlands consulting is directly attributable to years’ worth of working on various projects which each have required many of the above listed services. The result is that we now provide streamlined service with regards to all project needs.


Noteworthy Wetland Planning Projects  

In addition to performing numerous wetland delineations and assisting clients with their permitting needs, F. X. Browne, Inc. has performed or is currently working on the following significant wetland projects:

Rhed Development Wetland Mitigation Design
Luzerne County, PA

F. X. Browne, Inc. designed a wetland mitigation area to address the cumulative wetland impacts at the RHED Development, a 110-acre 135 lot subdivision in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. During the initial phases of the development project, the wetland mitigation area served as a sediment trap for erosion and sedimentation control. Following the initial phases, the sediment trap was converted to a wetland mitigation area. The cumulative permanent wetland impacts for the project totaled 0.21 acres: 0.16 acres for roadway crossings and encroachments and 0.05 acres for stormwater management facilities. The wetland was designed to mimic the mixture of seasonally saturated herbaceous wetland and forested wetland at the site and to retain approximately 1 ft. of water during storm events and in the early spring when the water table is high.  

GreatSwamp National Wildlife Refuge
Great Swamp, NJ 

The GreatSwamp, which is part of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, is a 7,500 acre wetland tract located in Morris County, New Jersey. Recently, F. X. Browne, Inc. was selected to develop a comprehensive watershed management plan to protect the GreatSwamp. This comprehensive management plan focuses on controlling both point and nonpoint sources of pollution to the GreatSwamp by implementing watershed best management practices and developing both stormwater control and erosion and sedimentation control ordinances for the surrounding municipalities. 

In addition to developing a comprehensive management plan, we have also developed an intensive wetland monitoring program for the GreatSwamp. The monitoring program addresses issues pertaining to water quality, stream hydrology, groundwater recharge, and both the flora and fauna in and around the swamp.  

Tobyhanna Creek Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Assessment
Poconos, PA 

This project involved several projects aimed at assessing and protecting the exceptional value stream and wetlands found on the Pocono High Plateau in northeastern Pennsylvania. A week-long interactive wetlands education curriculum was developed for the PoconoMountainSchool District, including the use of wetlands delineation, GPS location, and GIS mapping, along with a boardwalk trail through a local bog. To protect another local bog from stormwater impacts from a new Wal*mart distribution center, we designed stormwater detention basin retrofits to convert the planned dry-detention basins into wet-bottom basins which would retain most smaller storms and filter all runoff entering the basin. We also produced a watershed management and protection plan as part of this project which focused on environmental planning efforts that would allow for “smart growth” and development.  

PP&L Constructed Wetland
Hawley, PA 

In order to mitigate cumulative wetland impacts from the construction of service roads along transmission lines, the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company (PP&L) retained F. X. Browne, Inc. to design and create a 2.5 acre wetland mitigation area in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. Although the impacted wetlands were at four different sites, it was not feasible to create new wetlands in close proximity to the disturbed wetlands. Therefore, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources gave PP&L permission to mitigate at a single location on the basis of 1:1 replacement for size and function for the cumulative wetland impacts. The impacted wetlands, which were located on disturbed lands, were considered poor in quality. Conversely, the created wetlands are considered high in quality, especially with regards to wildlife habitat.  

To determine the basis of design, evaluations were performed on the local soils, hydrology, and hydraulics. Once this information was obtained and analyzed, the final elevations for the mitigation area were calculated as to determine the desired hydrology for the mitigation area. Upon completion of the site grading plan, vegetative species were selected that would be compatible with the proposed site hydrology. A planting plan for the selected vegetation which would maximize the diversity was then completed. Several upland islands containing large trees were left randomly throughout the mitigation area to improve the wildlife habitat by providing shelter, protective cover, and nesting, resting, and spawning sites.  

In addition to providing excellent wildlife habitat, the created wetland system serves as an “outdoor classroom”. The created wetlands site is open to the public year-round and is presently used by local conservation districts and school districts for environmental educational instruction. In order to facilitate visitation, a public parking area was constructed immediately adjacent to the site.  

F. X. Browne, Inc. conducted all required site monitoring since the completion of construction and planting in 1992. The site has developed nicely into the desired emergent wetland system. Species diversity within the mitigation area is excellent and consists of both planted vegetation and many volunteer plant species that have colonized the site. Additionally, a wide-variety of wildlife species has been observed using the site, thereby demonstrating that the created wetland system is meeting all of its design criteria.  

Gouldsboro-Wayne Peat Humus Company
Lackawanna, PA 

F. X. Browne, Inc. completed all state and federal permit requirements for the continued extraction of peat-humus at the WildcatSwamp in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. This peat harvesting operation at this site began in the mid-1950's, prior to enactment of the Clean Water Act which now regulates such activities in wetlands and “waters of the United States.” Based on the disturbed nature of the entire site, it was determined that the most desirable course of action would be to complete the peat harvesting and restore wetland and open water habitats to the maximum extent possible. F. X. Browne, Inc. developed formal plans for the remaining peat harvesting activities including all required erosion and sedimentation pollution controls. A full site restoration plan was also prepared by F. X. Browne, Inc. and was designed to create a 50 to 60 acre lake and a 40 acre wetland and shallow, open water complex in an area that was previously “played-out” by harvesting activities. A detailed Environmental Assessment addressing the impacts and the benefits of the proposed activities was then completed by F. X. Browne, Inc. and included with the final permit application submissions. All state and federal permits were approved, and the Gouldsboro-Wayne Peat Humus Company has resumed the harvesting operation according to the new plans with record production rates. Site restoration activities will commence immediately following completion of the harvesting activities.  

Yanchitis Wetland Delineation and Restoration
Upper Saranac Lake, NY

This project involved the restoration of lakeshore wetlands along UpperSaranacLake in the AdirondackPark. The site was evaluated and wetlands were delineated following unauthorized clearing and grading of the site. Once the extent of the original wetlands was adequately quantified, we then developed a full scale restoration plan to restore the site to pre-disturbance conditions. We developed a grading plan which restored the lakeside berm using natural materials to mimic natural conditions and restored the microtopography once found at the site. Additionally, we developed a planting plan using native herbaceous, shrub, and tree species observed in undisturbed adjacent wetlands. We then assisted the Adirondack Park Agency with the construction supervision to ensure that the grading and planting plans were adequately implemented in the field.

Blooming Grove Wetlands Assessment
Blooming Grove, PA  

This project involved the delineation, habitat evaluation, and buffer assessment of riparian wetlands along Spring Brook, a high quality tributary to the esteemed wild trout stream, Blooming Grove Creek, in the Pocono Region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The goal of the project was to place a conservation easement on Spring Brook and its riparian wetlands with an adequate buffer set-back to protect the system from adjacent land development impacts and associated stormwater runoff.



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