National Wetlands Inventory
Ecological Services

Contribute your Data to the National Wetlands Inventory


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife wetlands geospatial data layer is the featured layer on the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) Wetlands Mapper, and is a National Geospatial Data Asset (NGDA) dataset designated by OMB Circular A-16 and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC). 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 fulfilment of data management plans. Over 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 acknowledgement 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 for wetlands mapping data to be accepted into the national wetlands layer. This includes compliance with both the Federal Mapping and Classification Standards. The FWS provides wetland mappers with documentation pertaining to all Federal requirements for compliant data submissions.

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 (ArcGIS 10.2/10.3.1 version)

  2. Document your mapping effort with our metadata templates.

  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 National Standards and Support Team (USFWS) 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”. It can be accessed here:

Contact Information

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 all inquiries related to data submission please contact

Last updated: May 10, 2017