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Surface Water Identification and Training Course (SWITC)

  • 29 Oct 2019
  • 01 Nov 2019
  • Moffatt & Nichol, 4700 Falls of Neuse, South Tower, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC 27609
  • 5


  • After Oct. 24, 2019
  • no plans to be a member of NCAEP
  • After Oct. 24, 2019

Registration is closed

This 4-day lecture and field course will focus on the standard North Carolina methodology (V. 4.11, Sept. 1, 2010) that is used statewide by the Division of Water Resources (DWR) and many local governments for identifying intermittent and perennial streams and their origins. Environmental consultants, federal and state agency personnel, and local government staff members who deal with regulatory programs related to streams are encouraged to attend. Emphasis will be on piedmont streams with a portion of the field work being conducted on coastal plain streams. For more information on the stream identification methodology, see the Division website at During the course we will visit streams of various conditions in three of the Level IV Piedmont ecoregions (Northern Outer Piedmont, Triassic basin, and Rolling Coastal Plain) all in or near Raleigh.

This course is offered in coordination with the NC Division of Water Resources and follows the same curriculum as the course taught by DWR instructors. The course will include a written and field test. Staff within DFR, DWR, or local delegated programs who take the course and pass the written and field tests will be certified to make definitive determinations of stream origins subject to the buffer rules. Individuals other than those authorized for certification who take the course and pass the written and field tests will receive a "Certificate of Training” that can be used with delegated or designated local governments. Though the method is specific to North Carolina, this course will also be useful for professionals who work in other states such as Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia. In the past, continuing education credits have been requested and approved for Foresters (SAF), Engineers (NCBELS), Landscape Architects (NCBOLA), Erosion & Sediment Control (CPESC), and Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ). In addition, others can be sought upon request. Applicants who are interested in continuing education credits must notify us by email well in advance of the class so appropriate arrangements can be made.


John R. Dorney has been employed by Moffatt & Nichol since March 2014 after working three years with another private consulting firm and working with the Water Quality Section of the N.C. Division of Water Quality for about twenty nine years. At Moffatt & Nichol, he is responsible for doing environmental permitting as well as being involved in stream and wetland functional assessment. When Mr. Dorney started at the Division of Water Quality, he spent three years working on water quality standards. After that he was the supervisor of the Special Projects Group in Water Quality Planning for three additional years. From 1990 to 2004, Mr. Dorney was been responsible for the 401 Water Quality Certification Program and was supervisor of the Wetlands/401 Unit that is responsible for regulatory review of development projects to ensure compliance with the state’s wetland and buffer regulations. From 2004 to 2011, Mr. Dorney was in charge of the Wetlands Program Development Unit which is responsible for developing and implementing new or modified wetland regulatory policies including developing policy for cumulative and indirect impact as well as FERC permitting and watershed monitoring. Previously Mr. Dorney worked for environmental consulting firms in Wisconsin and Ontario, for local governments and a Native American tribe doing land use and recreational planning and at a research lab at NCSU.

Sandy Smith has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Davidson College (1983) and a Master of Science in Marine Biology from UNC-Wilmington (1988). For 30 years he has worked as a private environmental consultant in North Carolina, for both small and large firms. He has experience with both private and public clients and has managed over 200 ecological assessments and/or natural systems reports including Section 404 jurisdictional area delineations, riparian buffer determinations, protected species surveys, wildlife surveys, preparation of documents that conform to SEPA and NEPA formats, and permitting in support of transportation corridor alignments, commercial and private developments, and municipality expansions. Mr. Smith was actively involved in the development of the North Carolina Wetland Assessment Method (NC WAM) and the North Carolina Stream Assessment Method (NC SAM), has co-authored several papers on the methods, and has taught courses in the methods for the past 11 years. He took the Surface Water Identification Training and Certification (SWITC) class in August 2010 and has since been using it regularly.

Dave Penrose retired from the NCSU Water Quality Group in 2008 and moved to the mountains of NC. While at NCSU he worked on assessing the effectiveness of stream restoration projects using biological and functional indicators. Many of these projects were funded by the NC Ecosystem Enhancement Program or the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Dave cut his teeth as a biologist with the Division of Water Quality where he helped develop bioclassification criteria from streams and rivers, and started working on stream origin determinations using aquatic insects as indicators. Dave was elected as president of the Society for Freshwater Science (formerly the North American Benthological Society). He continues to teach workshops on the ecology and taxonomy of aquatic insects and is active on board and advisory panels reviewing stream restoration policy and rules.

Logistics: The lecture portion of the course will be conducted at the Moffatt & Nichol offices at 4700 Falls of Neuse, South Tower, Suite 300, Raleigh, NC. Lunch on Wednesday and Friday will be on your own, with several restaurants conveniently located near the Moffatt & Nichol offices or along the way between field sites. For the field trips on Thursday lunch will be provided at a local restaurant. Tuesday lunch will be provided in class on a make-your own sandwich basis with various meats and cheeses provided. All field trips will depart from the Moffatt & Nichol parking lot unless otherwise announced in class. Field trips are conducted in all weather conditions except unsafe weather. If field trips cannot be conducted due to weather, the class or a portion thereof will be rescheduled. Knee boots or hiking boots will be adequate for the field trips.

The registration fee includes the SWITC manual, field trip transportation and drinking water, Tuesday and Thursday lunches, maps of field sites, soil augers, nets and sorting pans to be used during class. You may bring your own auger and macrobenthos sampling gear, if you prefer. Liability waivers must be signed upon your arrival to class.

Registration: Class enrollment is set at a minimum of 16 registrants and a maximum of 30 registrants. Please submit your completed application form on or before October 18, 2019 to the NC Association of Environmental Professionals. Registration fees must be received by NCAEP no later than October 21, 2018.  Registrations after October 23, 2019 will be charged an additional $100.00.  Registrants cancelling their registration two (2) weeks or more prior to the event will receive a refund of the registration fee, less a 3% administrative fee. Registrants cancelling between two (2) and one (1) week(s) prior to the event will receive a refund less a 5% administrative fee. No refunds will be given for cancellations less than seven (7) days prior to the event. Registrants may transfer their registration to another attendee with the same membership status (e.g. regular member, government employee member, non-member) at any time. Only one transfer per registration is permitted.

Tentative Course Agenda

Tuesday – October 29. Moffatt & Nichol. Personal vehicles to field sites.

  • 8:30 – 9:00 Check in
  • 9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Introductions (John Dorney)
  • 9:10 – 9:30 SWITC Course; Background, Objectives and Overview (John Dorney)
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Stream Networks and Hydrological Functions (Sandy Smith)
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Geomorphology and the NC Stream ID Method (John)
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Role of Aquatic Biology in Stream ID (Dave Penrose)
  • 12:00 – 12:30 Lunch provided at the facility
  • 12:30 – 1:00 Stream Maps (Sandy)
  • 1:00 – 2:15 Methodology for ID of Intermittent and Perennial Streams (John)
  • 2:15 – 5:00 Field Site – Umstead State Park Stream Sites (in own cars)
  • 5:00 – 6:30 Dinner (on own)
  • 6:30 – 8:00 Procedure for Field ID of Macrobenthos (Dave) in Moffatt & Nichol Building.

Wednesday – October 30. Moffatt & Nichol. Personal vehicles to field sites.

  • 8:00 – 8:30 Headwater Streams (Sandy)
  • 8:30 – 8:45 Riparian Zones: Definitions and Functions (John)
  • 8:45 – 9:30 Overview of NC Buffer Rules: I and II (John and Sandy, respectively)
  • 9:40 – 9:45 Break
  • 9:45 – 10:05 Forestry and the Buffer Rules (John)
  • 10:05- 10:30 Stormwater Management and the Buffer Rules (John)
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Break
  • 10:45 – 11:15 Urban Streams (John)
  • 11:15- 11:45 Buffer Documentation and Permitting (Sandy)
  • 11:45 – 12:00 Compliance & Enforcement of the Buffer Rules (John)
  • 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch (on own)
  • 1:00 – 4:45 Field sites – Urban Stream Sites in and around Raleigh
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner (on own) (proceeded or following by optional beer summit at local brewpub including optional review session)

Thursday – October 31. Start at Moffatt & Nichol back parking lot. Vans for field trips.

  • 8:00 – 8:30 Travel to field sites in Lake Crabtree County Park
  • 8:30 – 10:30 Field sites – Triassic Field sites in Lake Crabtree County Park
  • 10:30 – 10:45 Travel to Godbold Park in Cary
  • 10:45- 12:30 Goldbold Park in Cary – urban streams
  • 12:30 – 1:15 Lunch in field at Jimmy John’s (provided)
  • 1:15 – 5:00 Field sites – NCSU Experimental Station in Clayton; Rolling Coastal Plain streams
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner (on own)
  • 6:00 - ? Study for test!

Friday – November 1. Start at Schenck Forest off of Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. Meet near front entrance gate. (maps and address provided). Personal vehicles to field sites.

  • 8:00 – 8:15 Review any final questions
  • 8:15 – 9:45 Written test
  • 9:45 – 11:0 Field test – urban
  • 11:40 – 12:30 Travel to rural test sites and field lunch on own between field sites.
  • 12:30 – 2:00 Field test – rural

PO Box #17512
Raleigh, NC 27619

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