State Wetland Mapping Summaries

State Mapping Summaires Legend

The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) program, established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 1974, is one of the oldest and most frequently used government mapping resources. It was established with the mission to create a nationwide inventory of U.S. wetlands to provide biologists and other stakeholders with data and visual displays of the physical distribution of wetlands in an effort to assist in wetland protection and conservation. Throughout its history, the NWI program has diligently worked to support the FWS mission “to protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit for the American people.” In 2013, the Association of State Wetlands Managers embarked on an effort to collect information on the diverse uses of NWI by each state in the country in order to: collect stories which highlight various projects which use or have used the NWI mapping service; discern who is using the data and what it is used to do; and to estimate the cost and time savings benefits of using the NWI as well as the potential consequences of not having NWI maps with up-to-date data available. Those summaries as well as other information about the status and trends in each state are available by clicking on the state of interest in the map above. State summaries marked in blue as “draft” include the best available information but ASWM was unable to identify a state wetland mapping contact to verify the summary information. Those that are marked in green as “final” were reviewed and include state wetland mapping contact information.

Below you will find two articles: the first describes the current use and status of the NWI, and the second provides a summary of nationwide mapping efforts and recommendations from 2010.

NWI At Risk

By Marla J. Stelk – ASWM – July 2013

Maps have, and continue to be, useful tools for navigation, planning, and spacial awareness. They assist us in understanding our physical world beyond our immediate senses, in planning how we choose to interact with it, and in developing a deeper understanding of how the world as a whole interacts within an interconnected ecosystem. The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) program, established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 1974, is one of the oldest and most frequently used government mapping resources. It was established with the mission to create a nationwide inventory of U.S. wetlands to provide biologists and other stakeholders with data and visual displays of the physical distribution of wetlands in an effort to assist in wetland protection and conservation. Throughout its history, the NWI program has diligently worked to support the FWS mission “to protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit for the American people.”  To read full article, click here.

2010 Wetland Mapping Summary

By Will Walker – ASWM – September 2011

Wetlands are dynamic, living systems subject to a broad array of changes on a variety of time scales.  Rivers change their course as a result of ongoing erosion and deposition; shrub scrub wetlands grow into forested wetlands; beavers create impoundments that expand wetlands; and human activities can destroy or restore wetlands.  In order to be effective tools for wetland managers, information about wetlands needs to stay current and reflect forces like succession and especially human alteration of the landscape. Good data have high predictive value and help planners, wetland managers and other program managers to focus their efforts.  Mapping products designed with accurate, regularly updated data can reduce the costs associated with conserving, regulating and protecting wetlands.

In 2010 the Association of State Wetland Managers (ASWM) set out to take a snapshot of the status of wetland mapping in the United States.  ASWM staff produced documents summarizing the age and extent of wetland maps for each state using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) dataset from January 2010.   To read full article, click here.