Last week, SEAL Trust gathered 26 wetland professionals from Alaska, Oregon, and Washington for a training on the rapid wetland assessment tool, WESPAK-SE, which was designed specifically for Southeast Alaska. The training, which was funded through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was led by Paul Adamus, who developed WESPAK-SE. Participants learned about the history of WESPAK-SE, how to use the office component of it, and the models behind it in three half-day classroom sessions. They also had the opportunity to visit three wetlands around Juneau to apply the assessment tool in the field. At the last field session, at Vanderbilt Creek, participants were given the chance to test out what they had learned by trying to assess the wetland on their own.
On the last day of the training, participants discussed what might come next for WESPAK-SE. There was a good conversation about how to translate assessment scores from WESPAK-SE to the low, moderate, and high value classifications required by the Army Corps of Engineers for mitigation. Everyone agreed that this was a great step in the effort to establish a single, uniform wetland assessment methodology. There is more work to do with the Corps and the Interagency Review Team, but the consultants at the training all agreed that WESPAK-SE is an extremely useful tool that they look forward to field testing this summer.
SEAL Trust would like to again thank Paul Adamus for leading the training and USFWS for providing the funding.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like access to the WESPAK-SE tools.