The Service’s National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Program provides the information necessary to manage America’s wetland habitats and their associated ecosystem benefits. The Program is responsible for producing the Wetlands Layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) – an infrastructure that is critical to understanding, protecting and promoting America’s national interests. The Program is also tasked with providing Wetlands Status and Trends Reports to Congress, which have been used for decades to both formulate and judge the success of U.S. wetland policies.
NWI is a leader in forging diverse conservation partnerships and provides information that is critical to conserving wetlands. Every day across the U.S., more than one thousand stakeholders from industry, government, and non-profits, as well as private land owners, use our data – to better understand, manage and conserve wetlands and their associated water and wildlife.
The NWI geospatial dataset provides users with a robust and powerful resource used to address questions and support decision-making in various fields of study. NWI data has informed top-level priorities facing the nation including:
Climate Change: NWI data are an important resource for the development of climate change impact assessments, as well as adaptation and mitigation plans. They are used to inform climate change models, and other decision support tools. This information is important for bolstering the resilience of coastal habitats and infrastructure, including the Service’s National Wildlife Refuges, many of which are vulnerable to sea level rise.
Conservation of Habitat for Wildlife: The robust nature of NWI’s wetland classification system makes it possible for biologists to identify current or potential habitat for America’s fish, wildlife and plants, including threatened and endangered species. This information is vital for developing wildlife habitat management and conservation and recovery plans, including those in support of the Service’s responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act.
Infrastructure Development: NWI data support cost and time efficient infrastructure development, which is strategic and resilient. Government and private sector organizations rely on this information to enhance and streamline planning, permitting and mitigation, while conserving wetlands and their environmental benefits. NWI data are used to plan renewable and traditional energy, transportation and other infrastructure projects.
Supporting Healthy Watersheds: NWI data were developed through partnerships with over 165 organizations, including states, tribes and local governments. Governments, communities and individuals use NWI data when assessing and planning for the health of their watersheds. These plans support access to clean abundant water, human health and safety, community recreation, management of invasive species and more.
Celebrate American Wetlands Month by checking out wetlands in your backyard using NWI’s Wetlands Mapper, an easy-to-use online application that allows users to view, download and print wetland maps throughout the U.S.