Wetlands provide a multitude of ecological, economic and social benefits. They provide habitat for fish, wildlife and plants - many of which have a commercial or recreational value - recharge groundwater, reduce flooding, provide clean drinking water, offer food and fiber, and support cultural and recreational activities. Unfortunately, over half of America’s wetlands have been lost since 1780, and wetland losses continue today. This highlights the urgent need for geospatial information on wetland extent, type, and change.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is the principal US Federal agency tasked with providing information to the public on the status and trends of our Nation's wetlands. The US FWS National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) is a publicly available resource that provides detailed information on the abundance, characteristics, and distribution of US wetlands. NWI data are used by natural resource managers, within the US FWS and throughout the Nation, to promote the understanding, conservation and restoration of wetlands.