Watershed assessments are necessary in order to determine what degraded or impaired areas (e.g., polluted streams, destroyed habitats) may exist in a watershed and why.  Several characteristics of watersheds are taken into consideration during the assessment process including land use, land cover, and hydrology.  Land use and cover is considered in a historical as well as current perspective to determine the types of activities that have occurred in the watershed and their potential as sources of pollution.  It is important to consider the natural and cultural resources of the watershed as well as the human activities.  An accurate watershed assessment is necessary to establish a baseline, or current condition, which will be used to judge the success of subsequent watershed management efforts.

The realization that wetlands provide a wide array of societal benefits has sparked an unprecedented interest in wetland mitigation in recent years.  Federal and/or state regulatory agencies,
including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, typically require mitigation of wetland functions lost to development.  Compensatory mitigation is a process whereby wetlands that are impacted through permitted activities are replaced through wetland restoration or enhancement at a site near or distant from the impact site.  Progress provides stream/wetland identification, impact assessment, and environmental restoration and enhancement services for both the public and private sector.

Wetland delineations identify, characterize and map the extent of jurisdictional wetlands in a given project area.  A wetland delineation is often required prior to the issuance of a federal and/or state permit to disturb wetlands.  Progress conducts project-specific impact assessments to determine the permits required and serves as liaison to the regulatory agencies to prepare applications and obtain the appropriate permits for projects.  Progress has considerable experience conducting delineation and permitting services for a variety of clients including developers, major corporations, and governmental entities.

Stream identification and mapping is being used by state and local governments to facilitate the protection of aquatic resources. For example, a methodology has been developed for the identification of streams requiring protection in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.   This methodology was developed by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality (NCDWQ) to determine the beginning of intermittent stream channels subject to riparian buffer rules within the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico River basins. The methodology focuses on the geomorphologic, hydrologic, and biologic characteristics of streams to determine where an intermittent stream originates. A similar methodology is being used to determine the origin of perennial stream channels as well. Many local governments have become interested in creating maps that accurately characterize and locate streams within their jurisdictions to identify potentially sensitive aquatic areas and establish buffer zones.