FACTS: The builders association argued that the governing statute, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 13:9B-7(a)(2), limited identification of wetlands of exceptional value to habitats of present sighted endangered or threatened species or a documented presence of an endangered or threatened species. Therefore, it claimed, a method such as the Landscape Project method which broadened the focus of the habitat classification process to encompass not only actual sightings but habitat characteristics needed and required for an endangered or threatened species' population, exceeded the statutory mandate. On appeal, the court did not find a flouting of the enabling statute or undermining of the legislative intent reflected by the adoption of the Landscape Project method to delineate wetlands of exceptional value. The Department's effort to adopt a more protective approach through the Landscape Project method was neither inconsistent with the governing statute, unsupported by the record, nor arbitrary or capricious.
CONCLUSION: The Department's amendment to the New Jersey Administrative Code was affirmed.
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