Letter: Loblolly pines not enough to make a wetlands
The Army Corps of Engineers can’t use the presence of loblolly pine to justify declaring large areas of Mathews County as non-tidal wetlands—loblolly pine alone is not a wetlands indicator.
Loblolly pine is on the National Wetland Plant List, but that only means it’s found in wetlands in some regions. The NWPL coding for Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) is UPL, FAC. FAC means Facultative: a plant equally likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands, and the designation for loblolly in our region. (UPL-Uplands refers to occurrences in Texas and Oklahoma that are only in non-wetlands.)
We can’t just sit back and wring our hands, or stand up and shake our fists. We have to focus on specific issues, learn all we can and contact the decision makers. But with the wetlands issue, who is it we need to contact? USACE, EPA, VA-DEQ, other agencies? Maybe the Gazette-Journal can pin that down for us.
Whoever they are, we need tell them that when a cat has kittens in the oven, it doesn’t make them biscuits and having loblolly pines on our lands doesn’t make them wetlands either.
Carol J. Bova