Contribute Data to the National Wetlands Inventory

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) wetlands geospatial data layer is the featured layer on the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Wetlands Mapper. It is designated by OMB Circular A-16 and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) as a National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) and forms the wetlands layer of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI). It is registered through and

Federal mandate states that all wetlands mapping data produced using federal funds must comply with federal standards and be contributed to the national dataset. Additionally, organizations and individuals not using federal funds are strongly encouraged to contribute their data. There are many benefits to contributing to the NWI geospatial data layer including, scientific contribution, data hosting, visibility, distribution, recognition and fulfillment of data management plans. More than 165 organizations have contributed and/or cooperated in the creation of the national wetlands geospatial layer. It is only through the continued support of our stakeholders that the NWI can continue to provide the public with updated wetlands information. The Service provides acknowledgment of all data contributors and will continue to maintain data integrity consistent with DOI policy.

Data Collection Requirements and Procedures

Certain standards must be met before data can be accepted into the national wetlands layer. This includes compliance with both the Federal Mapping and Classification Standards. The Service provides wetland mappers with documentation pertaining to all federal requirements for compliant data submissions.

To ensure that your wetland data meets FGDC Wetlands Mapping and Classification Standards the following tools are provided:

  1. Download and run data through our Wetlands Data Verification Toolset.
  2. Data Quality Control Plan has been developed as a guideline to assist data contributors in developing a sound data quality plan to ensure their data is ecologically accurate and FGDC standard compliant.

Data Submission

Wetland mapping that complies with the Federal Mapping and Classification Standard can be submitted to the National Wetland Inventory using the following required procedures:

  1. Download and run data through our Wetlands Data Verification Toolset.
  2. Document your mapping effort. All data submissions must include a metadata document that outlines mapping procedures, imagery specifics and project level ecological information. This Supplemental Map Information outline can be used as a guide to format your report. It is not required that you use this format, however the general content should be similar. (Examples: One, Two, Three). This document will be published along with your data on the Wetlands Mapper and available for download.
  3. Email to coordinate a data transfer.

Note: All ancillary data used during mapping should be documented and or submitted along with your wetlands data. The Service's National Standards and Support Team will conduct technical and ecological review prior to final acceptance into the wetlands geospatial layer.

Additional Resources

If you are eager to contribute your data but are not sure where to begin, please view our series of webinars that aid organizations and individuals in all areas from data creation to contribution:

  • Changes in FGDC Wetland Classification Standard Cowardin 2.0 | Parts 1-4
  • Updated Data Collection Procedures and Requirements for Meeting FGDC Mapping Standards | Presentation Slides
  • Mapping Standards and Procedures: "The NWI and You" | Part 1; Part 2; Part 3

Photo interpretation of wetlands: For training regarding photo interpretation of wetlands, Michigan State University offers a non-credit course called "Interpreting Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats from Aerial Imagery."

Contact Information and Requests

Organizations or individuals who wish to contribute data but do not have the ability or resources to make their data meet these standards may seek the assistance of the Service in data conversion or modification.

For those seeking to have a correction made to the Wetlands Geospatial dataset, please fill out this form and submit it to a Wetland Coordinator for consideration.

For all inquiries related to data submission please contact