Surface Water Identification Training and Certification (SWITC)

Upcoming SWITC Workshops

May 13 – 17, 2024

McKimmon Center
1101 Gorman Street
Raleigh, 27606, NC 27606

This workshop is regularly offered twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall, in Raleigh, NC.
If a workshop is not posted above, we have no additional information to provide regarding future workshop locations or dates. If you have not done so already, we recommend joining our mailing list to be notified when new workshops become available.

Each workshop is unique. The information below is provided for general information about the workshop. Please reference the registration website for specific information about the individual workshop.

About the Workshop

The Surface Water Identification Training and Certification (SWITC) Course is offered by the North Carolina Division of Water Resources (DWR) and NC State University (NCSU) to comply with N.C. General Statute 143-214.25A. This statute requires DWR to train and certify staff of the North Carolina Forest Service (NCFS), the Division of Water Resources (DWR), and local delegated programs (on this website, click “List of Local Governments Administering State Riparian Buffer Rules).

Certification from this training course is required in order to make a legal determination of stream origins and identify surface waters subject to buffer rules enacted by the NC Environmental Management Commission. Staff within NCFS (who are also Registered Foresters), DWR, or local delegated programs who take the course and pass both the written and field tests will be certified to make determinations of stream origins subject to the buffer rules. Please note that completion of this course by those individuals not part of DWR, NCFS, or local delegated programs will result in a “Certificate of Training” but does not authorize the legal determination of stream origins for buffer rules. However, we strongly encourage these individuals to take part in this course in order to help understand the stream identification methodology and improve communication with DWR, NCFS, and delegated programs regarding buffer rules.

For additional information and resources, including a list of certified professionals, please visit NC DEQ’s website.

Who Should Attend

This course is recommended for the following groups of individuals:

  • Environmental and Forestry Consultants
  • Engineering Consultants
  • Landscape Architects
  • Regulatory Professionals whose work involves riparian zone and stream issues
  • Environmental Staff from non-delegated programs
  • Staff from Delegated Local Buffer Programs

Registration Fee Information

Regular Fee – $700.00 ($650.00 Early Bird Registration)

Registration fee includes breakfast items, lunch (3 days), workshop materials, and transportation to stream sites.

Upon registering, you will receive an email stating that you are in pending status. The overall class size and the number of individuals who register requiring this training as it relates to their official duties will determine how many individuals will be accepted into the training. Individuals will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis after the DWR/NCFS and local delegated programs individuals have been accepted and registered into the course. If you are selected, you will receive a registration confirmation email approximately five weeks prior to the start of class, at which time payment will be accepted. If you are not selected, you will receive an email regarding the waitlist process.

IMPORTANT REGISTRATION NOTE: A limited number of openings are available at no fee for DWR & NCFS employees who attend the training program “in connection with the employee’s official duties” (per NC General Statute 143-214.23). Applicants who have not received no-fee status will have the opportunity at that time to withdraw their registration (by email to Niki Maher at or to proceed with payment of the course fee if they wish to attend the class.

Payment Instructions

NOTE: Due to the increased number of no-shows and demand for this workshop, payment must be received one (1) month prior to the start date of the workshop to secure your seat in the workshop.

We accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express for payment of your registration fee. Or you may send us a check made payable to NCSU – BAE. Mail to:

Campus Box 7625
Raleigh, NC 27695
Attn: Workshop Coordinators

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Cancellation requests should be sent to for processing. The cancellation request must be submitted at least thirty-one (31) days before the date of the workshop to receive a full refund. Cancellation requests made between thirty (30) days and eight (8) days before the date of the workshop will receive a full refund minus a $25 administrative processing fee. Any cancellation requests made on or within seven (7) days of the workshop will receive a 50% refund.

Attendee substitutions from within the same company may be made at any time at no cost. Please send an email to with the name of the current registrant and the name and email address of the new registrant.

Severe Weather Cancellation and Refund Policy

In the event of severe weather, this workshop may be postponed or canceled at the discretion of the workshop instructors and coordinators. If the workshop is postponed, you may receive a refund if you are unable to attend the newly scheduled date, time, and location. Please contact if you are unable to attend the rescheduled workshop. If the workshop is canceled, you will receive a full refund. If the workshop is postponed or canceled, the workshop instructors and coordination staff are not responsible for participants not meeting their PDHs or CEUs requirements with their various professional licensing boards.

Workshop Schedule

This is a sample schedule of the workshop to demonstrate the topics that will be covered. Actual schedules, including start and end times, may vary from class to class. Please refer to the workshop registration page and your confirmation email for times.


We do not create room blocks for this workshop. To see a list of suggested hotels, please visit our Hotel Suggestions by City website.

What to Bring

Participants should bring the following materials with them to each day of the workshop:

  • Waders/boots
  • Rain gear
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Water bottle


Our Instructors are from the following agencies:

  • NC State University Dept. of Biological & Agricultural Engineering
  • North Carolina Division of Water Resources
  • NC Forest Service

Certification Exam

I’ve Taken the Exam – Now What?

All exams are hand graded by NC DWR Staff as quickly as possible and they appreciate your patience. All attendees will be notified whether they passed or failed the exam directly by NC DWR staff. Certificates will be mailed to all individuals who passed. In addition, those individuals’ names and information will be posted on the NC DEQ’s website. We kindly ask that you allow at least 4 weeks for grading and emailing and that you check the DEQ website before contacting NC DWR staff about exam results.

Professional Development Hours

Based on previous workshops, it is estimated that the following professional development hours will be awarded after the successful completion of the workshop. A certificate of attendance will be emailed after the workshop, listing these PDHs:

  • 25 credit hours for  professional engineers and land surveyors (approved by the NC Board of Examiners for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors)
  • 10 credit hours for landscape architects (approved by the NC Board of Landscape Architects, course #11120)
  • Cat 1: 24.00 contact hours with the Society of American Foresters

Other professionals may appeal to their respective boards to obtain professional education credits. This training is endorsed by the NCSU Forestry and Environmental Outreach Program