In 1987, New Jersey passed the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act (N.J.S.A. 13:9B-1). As part of the requirements of that act, the NJDEP was required to map all non-tidal wetlands of the state, as they existed on 1986 photo basemaps in a separate freshwater wetlands (FWW) mapping program. As tidal areas of the state were already under tidal wetlands regulations, they were to be excluded from the FWW regulations and from the FWW mapping program. Since the UWB, where it existed, was the regulatory boundary for the tidal wetlands program, it was incorporated into the FWW maps to identify the lower, or seaward, limit of the areas under FWW jurisdiction and mapping. All areas below the UWB were excluded from the FWW program; all areas above the UWB were to be mapped. Where the UWB had not been delineated, a functionally similar line was delineated from the 1986 products used in the FWW mapping to separate tidal from non-tidal areas. As with the UWB, areas below, or seawards, of this line were not mapped under the FWW program. However, since this new line was not delineated through the same procedures as the original UWB, and is not a promulgated regulatory line, it is not to be considered analogous to the UWB. To distinguish this new line from the original UWB, it has been given a new name, the Upper Wetlands Limit (UWL).
The data layer also includes another type of coded line. To clarify the UWB delineation along the Atlantic coast barrier island area, the land/water interface as delineated in a 1986 land use/ land cover mapping project was also included. These arcs are identified as COASTLINE in the data set. These arcs do represent any delineations based on vegetation or other parameters associated with the UWB or UWL.
Both of these lines were digitized as part of the FWW mapping program, and the UWB/UWL data layer has been extracted from the FWW maps, as described in the Process Steps.
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Arcs identified with CLASS = 424 (Upper Wetlands Limit) were originally mapped at 1:12000 scale and meet NMAS at that scale.
Imagery was acquired in late July and early August of 1970, to capture peak vegetation standing crop. Film type was Kodak Aerochrome 2443, and acquired using cameras with current USGS calibration reports. The imagery was captured at or below mid-tide levels to minimize the amount of marsh inundation on the photography. Photo signatures were matched with the 25 species identified in the tidal wetlands legislation, and standard photo interpretation techniques were used to delineate all areas occupied by the listed species on each 1:2400 scale basemap. Polygons identifying species and species associations were delineated on each sheet, and coded with the species type. When all such polygons were delineated, the Upper Wetlands Boundary, which represented the inland most extent of all the delineated tidal marsh areas, was defined and coded as such on the basemaps. Delineation mylars were then used to produce a final 1:2400 scale photo basemap which had all delineations and coding imprinted on them. These delineations were not digitized at this time. Photo interpretation and delineation were conducted by Earth Satellite Corporation.
FWW mapping, UWL creation and UWB/UWL digitization: For the FW mapping program, the UWB had to be prepared at a 1:12000 scale, which was the scale to be used for the FWW mapping effort. The photo basemaps for the FWW mapping were produced from 1:58000 CIR imagery captured in spring of 1986 (with some re-flight photos from spring 1987). All FWW basemaps met NMAS at 1:12000 scale (1"= 1000 ft). All basemaps were gridded in NJSPF, NAD27, at 1000 ft intervals. The imagery and basemaps were both produced by MARKHURD Inc.
To transfer the UWB to the 1:12000 scale basemaps, each final 1:2400 scale tidal wetlands map was photographically re-produced at a scale of 1:12000, also on mylar. Each of the photo reduced mylar sheets was then placed under the appropriate 1:12000 scale FWW photo basemap on a light table, aligned using common grid lines or common identifiable features, and the lines coded as UWB on the photo reduced sheets transferred to the 1:12000 scale basemaps. This procedure was followed until all UWB arcs within a particular 1:12000 FWW basemap were transferred. These UWB arcs were given a CLASS code of 185 on all map sheets. Freshwater wetlands were then delineated on the 1:12000 scale basemaps using standard photo interpretation techniques.
For areas where no UWB line existed, the Upper Wetlands Limit line was delineated directly onto the 1:12000 scale basemaps using photo interpretation of the 1986 CIR imagery, by NJDEP personnel. The placement of the UWL was based on vegetative signatures also, (as well as bare tidal flowed mud), representing the same species as used in the original UWB mapping. The UWL arcs were given a CLASS code of 424 on all sheets. These UWL lines, however, were not promulgated, and do not represent a legal regulatory boundary at any scale. Freshwater wetlands were then delineated on these basemaps as documented above.
As the FWW maps were completed and approved, the linework was scanned to create digital data sets. Both polygon and arc codes were included in the digital layer. The FWW digital data was delivered in quad tiles as digital line graph files. Processing to ARC/INFO coverages was accomplished by NJDEP staff. Once coverages were created for each quad tile, all tiles covering each county were merged together to create county FWW coverages. These county coverages were projected to NJSPF, NAD83, also using ARC/INFO software. Once the NAD83 county coverages were created, all arcs coded 185 (UWB), and 424 (UWL) were extracted to create county UWB/UWL arc coverages. The 21 county UWB/UWL coverages were then joined together to create a statewide UWB/UWL data layer.
This statewide layer underwent some additional modifications in areas with UWL delineations. Some islands and shoreline sections which prior to the FWW project were thought to be above tidal influence and consisting of non-tidal wetlands, were found through the FWW mapping to be tidally influenced. Arcs delineating these islands and shoreline sections were coded 424, but these marsh areas have estuarine-intertidal identifiers in the original FWW maps. Any arcs coded 424 in the original FWW maps, which delineate areas of intertidal marsh as found during the FWW mapping, are not included in the statewide UWB/UWL data layer. If the UWB arcs defined an island consisting entirely of estuarine marsh, that entire island was excluded from the UWB/UWL data set. Where a section of intertidal marsh located adjacent to a non-tidal area was found to exist landwards of any UWL arcs, these UWL arcs were not included in this data layer. The arc section defining the landward extent of the intertidal marsh area was included instead. This is consistent with the approach used in the original upper wetlands boundary line delineations and interpretations. These new arcs have been coded 424 (Upper Wetlands Limit) for this statewide data set, although they do not appear coded as such in the original FWW data layers.
Note that in order to clarify the UWB/UWL and FWW delineations along the barrier island areas of New Jersey, arcs demarcating the Atlantic Ocean shoreline were added to the FWW maps, and are included in this data set. These arcs were extracted from a 1986 Land Use/Land Cover (LU/LC) dataset, that was being generated at the same time as the FWW maps, and used the same CIR imagery. The 1986 LU/LC layer however, was mapped on 1:24000 scale basemaps. These arcs represent the land/water interface along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, from Cape May to Sandy Hook, and are identified by a CLASS code of 1500. These arcs do not represent any delineations based on vegetation or other parameters associated with the UWB or UWL delineations, but are simply included to clarify what areas are and are not below the UWB along the Atlantic Coastal shoreline. (All coastline arcs, and all others locating the land/water interface throughout the state, are also included in a separate coverage, <http://www.state.nj.us/dep/gis/digidownload/zips/statewide/coast.zip>.)
Note: Some older NJDEP data may not contain .prj files due to distribution procedures at that time. If download does not contain a .prj, please download from:
Please rename .prj to the name of the downloadable filename. (for example: If Head of Tides filename is HOT.shp, please rename .prj to HOT.prj). This allows ESRI software to recognize the projection information.