Bogged down..., in a marsh..., all wet...
While standing in line at an airport, I struck up a conversation with the woman in front of me. Turns out she was a consultant. I told her Id worked for an environmental consulting firm. Turns out she was in accounting. Nonetheless, we chatted a bit as the line crept forward. After she moved up to the ticket counter, the man behind me, having overheard the word environmental, began to question me about what constitutes a wetland. (Seems he had me confused with an expert. After all, I was carrying a briefcase and was more than 50 miles away from home.) He wanted to know, specifically, if cattails growing in an area would automatically classify it as a wetland. I mumbled something about hydrophyllic soils and sufficient moisture to support hydrophytic vegetation and gave a disclaimer about not being either a geologist or biologist. At that point, I realized I was all wet. I was bogged down and couldnt explain the words I was using. Luckily, a summons to the counter effected my escape from this marsh.
When I got home, I looked up those words and also found hygroscopic and hygrophytic, which seem to be nearly interchangeable, respectively, with hydrophyllic and hydrophytic. A state natural resource agent uses the term hydric to describe poorly drained soils and he explained that some states use hydrophytes such as cattails as indicators of soil type. Can someone clarify the meanings and uses of these wetland terms?
Does anyone know of a thorough treatment in print of what preposition goes with what verb? For example, I see both protect against and protect from. A response to this column might help more members than a fax to me. Many thanks.
Washington Division of Geology & Earth Resources, Fax: 360-902-1785
RETURN to non-frame version of Blueline.