National Wetlands Inventory Analysis Examples

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) provides users with a robust and powerful dataset that is used to address questions and support decision-making in various fields of study. The tables below provide example applications using NWI data.

Habitat Assessment

NWI wetland and deepwater classifications provide critical information when determining existing or potential habitat for many species. This information is vital for developing wildlife habitat management and conservation and recovery plans through modeling and other procedures. NWI data have been used to estimate habitat accessibility in migration corridors, waterfowl populations, species recovery potential and more.

Title Author Year
Wisconsin Waterfowl Habitat Conservation Strategy (2020) Upper Mississippi/Great Lakes Joint Venture 2020
Waterbird Habitat Conservation Strategy - 2018 Revision Great Lakes Joint Venture 2018
Waterfowl Habitat Conservation Strategy - 2017 Revision Great Lakes Joint Venture 2017
Potential Habitat Use for the Piping Plover in the Central Texas Coast Gulf Coast Prairie LCC 2016
Quantifying New York's Diamondback Terrapin Habitat J.P. Browne et al. 2015
USFWS and Wildlife Service Habitat Population Team: Duck Breeding Accessibility Maps J.P. Donnelly et. al 2015
Mapping Anuran Habitat Suitability to Estimate Effects of Grassland and Wetland Conservation Programs D.M. Mushet, N.H. Euliss Jr., C.A. Stockweel 2012
Habitat associations of the marsh rice rat (Oryzomys palustris) in freshwater wetlands of southern Illinois Bryan W. Eubanks et al. 2011
Locating potential sites for Hine's Emerald Dragonfly and other rare species in Missouri Missouri Dept. of Conservation 2007
Patterns of Beaver Colonization and Wetland Change in Acadia National Park J. M. Cunningham et al. 2006
Using National Wetlands Inventory Maps to Quantify Whooping Crane Stopover Habitat in Oklahoma D. Stahlecker 1992


Watersheds and Water

Wetlands provide a multitude of ecologic and societal benefits. They not only provide habitat for fish and wildlife, but also reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, maintain stream flow and help improve water quality. Access to clean, abundant water supports opportunities for hunting, fishing and other types of recreation. Federal, state and local agencies use NWI data when assessing the health of their watersheds and water supply.

Title Author Year
Contribution of Wetlands to Nitrate Removal at the Watershed Scale A.T. Hanson; C.L. Dolph; et al. 2018
Improving the Catchment Scale Wetland Modeling Using Remotely Sensed Data S. Lee; M.W.Lang; et al. 2017
An Improved Representation of Geographically Isolated Wetlands in a Watershed-Scale Hydrologic Model G.R. Evenson; H.E. Golden; et al. 2016
Assessing the Relevance of Wetlands for Storm Surge Protection: a Coupled hydrodynamic and Geospatial Framework J. Haddad; S.Lawler; C.M.Ferreira 2016
Comparison of Alternative Approaches for Wetlands Mapping: A Case Study from three U.S. National Parks National Park Service 2013
Wetlands in the Watersheds of the New York City Water Supply System NY Dept. of Environmental Protection 2009
Landscape Level Wetland Mapping in the Canadian River Watershed New Mexico Environment Department 2007
Patterns Of Watershed Urbanization And Impacts On Water Quality M.V. Carle; P.N. Halpin; C.A. Stow 2005
Wetland Loss and Biodiversity Conservation James P. Gibbs 2000



An important role of the Service is to conserve fish and wildlife species to ensure sustainable populations for future generations. Species diversity is vital to the health and sustainability of ecosystems that in turn benefit local communities and economies. NWI data have been applied to various wetland dependent species assessment and recovery efforts.

Title Author Year
Restored Agricultural Wetlands in central Iowa: Habitat Quality and Amphibian Response R.A. Reeves et al. 2016
Macro-invertebrate community structure across a wetland hydroperiod gradient in southern New Hampshire, USA T.L. Tarr et al. 2005
Small Mammal Communities of High Elevation Central Appalachian Wetlands K. E. Francl et al. 2004
Landscape context influences salt marsh bird diversity and area requirements in New England W. G. Shriver et al. 2004
The relative importance of wetland size and hydroperiod for amphibians in southern New Hampshire, USA K.J. Babbitt 2003


Climate and Sea Level

NWI data are an important resource for the development of climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change
impact assessments, as well as adaptation and mitigation plans. Sea-level rise poses a risk to coastal communities and infrastructure, as well as many Service refuges. Precipitation changes also pose threats to our inland wetlands that could cause impacts to waterfowl and other wildlife populations, as well as agriculture, food security and biofuel development. Additionally, NWI data have been used to help quantify carbon sequestration rates and carbon balance in relation to ecosystem management and restoration actions.

Title Author Year
"Linking Satellite and Soil Data to Validate Coastal Wetland 'Blue Carbon' Inventories." NASA 2017
"Cape Lookout, North Carolina, 2012 National Wetland Inventory Habitat Classification." Kathryn A. Spear and William R. Jones 2016
"Uncertainty in Hurricane Surge Simulation Due to Land Cover Specification" Celso M. Ferreira, Jennifer L. Irish, Francisco Olivera 2014
"Estimates of Carbon Sequestration and Storage in Tidal Coastal Wetlands Along the US East Coast." M. Charpentier, C. Wigand and J. Hyman 2011
Sea Level Rise Affecting Marshes Model U.S Fish and Wildlife Service 2011



An invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
is any plant, or animal that is not native to a specific location and whose introduction to that site causes or is likely to cause harm. These species can have damaging effects on the environment, economy and human health. NWI data have been used to assess the susceptibility of certain ecosystems to invasive species and how those species may affect local populations.

Title Author Year
Invasion Risk in a Warmer World: Modeling Range Expansion and Habitat Preferences of Three Nonnative Aquatic Invasive Plants N.G. Koncki and M.F. J. Aronson 2015
Disturbance and Wetland Type Alter Reed Canarygrass Cover in Northern Michigan K.M. Marlor et al. 2014
Non-native salmonids affect amphibian occupancy at multiple spatial scales D.S. Pilliod 2010
"Remote Sensing Applications for Detecting Common Reed." MI Tech University 2009


Energy and Development

NWI data have been used to investigate site suitability for renewable and traditional energy projects. The data are not only used to help select potential sites, but also to help understand how these activities might affect local species and to help to mitigate those effects.

Title Author Year
Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Gateway DCREP 2017
Wintering Sandhill Crane exposure to wind energy development in the central and southern Great Plains, USA A.T. Pearse, D.A. Brandt, and G.L. Krapu 2016
Wind Farm Environmental Assessment, Campbell County, SD Western Area Power Administration 2015



NWI data have been used in cartographic products to highlight the location of wetland habitats and resources for a variety of projects. Here are some examples of maps that use NWI data to communicate wetland information.

Title Author Year
Wetlands Mapper PDF Map Prints 2016-2019 National Standards and Support Team 2019
Alabama Strategic Conservation Map National Standards and Support Team 2014
Moses-Karankawa Bayou Map Moses-Karankawa Bayous Alliance 2013
GeoMine Pilot Project Map National Standards and Support Team 2012
Deepwater Horizon Coastal Resources Map U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2010
Minnehaha Creek Watershed District Map Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2006



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the extent and status of the nation’s wetland and deepwater habitats, as well as changes to these habitats over time.