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Friday, August 03, 2007

Draft Wetland Mapping Standard Approved by FGDC Standards Working Group

A National Wetland Mapping Standard is being developed by a multi-agency workgroup under the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC).

Historically, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had the responsibility of mapping wetlands for the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI). Currently USFWS only has funding to complete 1% of the map per year. Consequently, the national wetlands map is out of date and no digital wetlands maps are available for much of the country.

As more states, tribes, counties, and nongovernmental organizations have become interested in mapping wetlands, it has become important to develop a standard that everyone can use to map and share wetland data. It is also important for wetland data to mesh with other water features such as in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), so that wetlands can be integrated and understood in a holistic context, whether at the watershed, ecosystem, or regional level.

The Wetland Mapping Standard in development specifies minimum requirements for inclusion of wetland data into the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI).

Once the FGDC has approved the draft standard (the final vote is currently scheduled for August 2007), a Notice of Availability for public comment will be placed in the Federal Register.

Further information on the standard can be found on the FGDC Wetlands Subcommittee website.

A multi-agency funding proposal is also in development.

The 2009 National Wetlands Mapping Initiative, addresses the need for funding to complete the national wetlands digital map, implementing the standard. Part of this funding would be allocated for upgrading the NWI database and facilitating data exchange, while the larger portion would be used as grant money to the states, tribes and local communities to map wetlands, with a goal of increasing wetland mapping by at least 10% per year.