justice-smiles-blue-large.pngRecently, a couple of matters have brought me to contemplate wetlands and their implications with respect to neighbors and boundary disputes. To become more familiar, I engaged the services of an expert. I was so impressed that I decided to extend my first ever offer to guest blog. Fortunately, my offer was accepted … and more. It appears I will have a regular contributor!

So below, please find for your foundational education and edification on the subject of wetlands, Ms. Ardith Lanstra-Nothdurft of Wakerobin LLC. I shall allow Ms. Lanstra-Nothdurft take it away from here …


Occasionally I’m approached by an excited buyer to look at a property they’ve discovered. It’s a steal! Half the cost of the other land in the area, and no one has built on it yet. Can you believe it?

If you’re in this position, be glad you have found this blogsite and can educate yourself before you spend your money.  There’s not much worse than discovering too late that 2/3rds of the property is wetland, whereas the remaining 1/3 is wetland buffer and steep slopes with protected habitat.  

I hate to be the one that has to tell a new owner that while they can build, they can only do so on top of a small portion of what they wanted, and that it’s going to cost a fortune to permit and mitigate for impacts.

Even worse is when a client comes to me with a story similar to my Grandmother’s – which I intend to tell.  In these cases, someone else has caused environmental devastation on another’s property which that other has owned and stewarded for many years and no one seems to be able to help, or even seem to care. 

Well, I care! And I hope as you become more educated, you will too.

To help, Wakerobin LLC will be working with Justice Smiles to provide a primer on common environmental issues that affect typical people and their properties in the Western Washington area.  To get started, we’re focusing on just a few of the most common elements that lead to “Oh No!” moments.  

Before I offer my first substantive post, I want to remind you when reading these blog posts keep in mind that the practical enforementof regulations, laws, and standards – while theoretically consistent across the nation – are in actuality flexible and nuanced.

Justice Smiles and Wakerobin LLC are firms in Western Washington. For those of you living in, say, Waterloo, Iowa, your experience and stories about wetlands with your misty rolling fileds and gently flowing rivers are going to be quite different from our sonw-peaked mountains and crashing waves. In other words, this primer is what primers purport to be – an overview. For now though, just get ready.

Coming Soon … Wetlands: What Do You Mean My Swamp is a “Protected Wetland?”justice-smiles-blue.png

  • I look forward to your next post, Ardith. I believe that far too many purchasers of vacant land do not look at it with the potential of there being wetlands present. In their mind, they don’t see ducks or ponds, therefore there must be no wetlands, and will be able to build whereever and whatever they like. Reality only sets in after the purchase when they go in for a building permit.

    I’d love to see a class presented, either formal or informal, that could teach surveyors like me to be aware of wetland indicators so that we can recommend to our clients that they hire a wetland expert like you. I often recommend that my clients hire a wetlands expert, but too often they don’t think there is any need. Let me know if you would ever consider something like that. wasurvey@gmail.com