Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations Governing Certified Professional Wetland Delineators [18 VAC 145 ‑ 30]
Action General Review of Regulations Governing Certified Professional Wetland Delineators
Comment Period Ended on 12/8/2023
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11/29/23  9:04 am
Commenter: Stacy Armentrout, WSSI

Support for VCPWD Program Regulations as Currently Prescribed

To VA DPOR Board and Regulatory Review Committee Members,


As proposed, there is significant risk to the general public in reducing regulations surrounding the Virginia Professional Wetland Delineator certification. While Virginia is one of a handful of states to offer voluntary certification under such a program, the purpose and intent is to provide safeguards to the public who use the services of environmental professionals. The program, again while voluntary, is intended to certify the competency of individuals in the profession by requiring relevant education, 4+ years of active experience, and thorough understanding of state regulation and federal guidance vetted by third-party examination. The current program also requires sign-off by other PWDs for the application. While the risk to the public in terms of health and safety is likely minimal, there is significant risk incurred by persons with financial interests in property or project planning (think VDOT, NAVFAC, etc.) that is in the hands of delineators as part of routine due diligence. If an untrained delineator is doing delineations in unfamiliar territory, wetlands/upland boundaries can be incorrectly flagged resulting in increased or reduced property values and/or project costs. This affects development and progress in the Commonwealth. I personally have experience going behind delineators brought in by firms from other states who could not delineate properly in Virginia due to unfamiliarity with our land and our regulations. This has lead to significant costs incurred by landowners and project proponents who had to spend additional money on project planning or acquisitions that could have been averted by vetting the certifications of individuals.


I am understanding that EO 19 requires reduction of regulation by 25% based on a scoring system as I am working through this process for two other licensing regulations on DPOR committees. I recommend leaving this regulation substantially intact; however, from personal experience I recommend one change.  A supervisor whom is also a PWD should be able to verify work experience AND complete a recommendation which meets the PWD requirements. In its current version, a supervisor cannot verify experience and complete a recommendation form. My experience, due to many years working for small firms, resulted in a delayed ability to apply for PWD certification as I did not work with enough PWDs who knew my experience.

While (somewhat) voluntary in nature, new DEQ requirements resulting from federal Supreme Court decisions affecting federal actions on wetland delineations are now in effect. The DEQ's VSWD certification REQUIRES a individual to have a PWD certification. Due to ongoing flux at the federal level it is more important now than ever for wetland delineators to be vetted to understand the requirements of state and federal law, and provide DEQ to best information possible to ensure success at the state level when it comes to streamlining workflow and process for the agency.


Thank you for your consideration.


CommentID: 220718