National Wetlands Inventory
Ecological Services

Contributed Data: Contribute your Data to the Wetlands Master Geodatabase


New: The Wetland Mapping Consortium (WMC) Webinar: 

“Mapping Standards and Procedures: The NWI and You”

Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

Organizations or individuals have the opportunity to contribute wetlands data to the wetlands geospatial data layer maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wetlands data layer is the featured layer on the Wetlands Mapper, is a National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) dataset designated by OMB Circular A-16 and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) and is registered through and

The Service will provide proper acknowledgement of all data contributors and maintain data integrity consistent with DOI policy.


Data Submission

Because the Wetlands Master Geodatabase is a national data set, certain standards must be met before the data can be added. However, if you do not have the ability or resources to make your data meet these standards the Service may be able to assist in data conversions or modification.

The Wetlands data standards for acceptance into the Wetlands Master Geodatabase (MGD) are as follows:

  • The data should comply with the Wetlands Mapping Standards.
  • Properly project all data. The projection for wetlands is the Albers Equal Area Conic Projection and the North American Datum of 1983. Click here for additional projection information.
  • ESRI shapefiles and Personal Geodatabases, or File Geodatabases, are the preferred spatial data formats for submission.
  • Users are encouraged to verify their wetlands data by downloading and using the Wetlands Data Verification Toolset.
  • The Wetlands Master Geodatabase consists of wetland polygon features only. All point and linear data should be buffered and added to the polygon feature class.
  • Ideally, data should be classified and attributed using Cowardin et al., which is the FGDC standard. Failing that, a crosswalk should be provided to convert the contributor's code to the Cowardin code. For more information on wetlands classification refer to the following documents:
  • All upland attributes and delineations should be removed from the data before submission.
  • A wetlands mapping project area boundary should be included with the submission. This area should be a polygon(s) or definition that defines the geographic area that is mapped (e.g. county, quadrangle, township, refuge, parcel, wetland). ALL wetlands within this area should be mapped up to the  boundary of the defined mapped area.
  • Each submission should be accompanied by a Wetlands Digital Data Submission Form (form temporarily unavailable at this time).
  • Both the National Standards and Support Team (NSST) and Services' Regional Wetland Coordinators will conduct technical and ecological reviews prior to final acceptance. The Service will notify you as to data disposition.
  • You will be notified once your data has been received.
  • Send all questions related to your data submission to the Wetlands Team (email

Data Collection Requirements and Procedures for Mapping Wetland, Deepwater and Related Habitats of the US

This document describes the technical procedures and requirements for wetlands map data. The document is intended to aid organizations or individuals mapping wetlands and applying the Cowardin et al. classification system. The document also explains the appropriate application of wetland classification and mapping process, and how to achieve the data quality requirements required by FGDC. Click here to download the document (1.7MB PDF).

FGDC Non-Compliance Wavier for Wetlands Geodatabase Data Contributions

The Wetlands Geodatabase is a Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) compliant contributor to the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). Any data contributions to the Wetlands Geodatabase that do not meet the Wetlands Subcommittee FGDC data standards must complete the Wetlands Geodatabase FGDC non-compliance waiver (the waiver documentation is currently in development). If you have any questions regarding the waiver, please contact the Wetlands Team (

Wetlands Geodatabase Forms

All required and optional forms needed for submission with contributed data are available online for download.

Wetlands Data Contributors

Contributors to the wetlands geospatial data layer are listed here

Last updated: May 12, 2016