This data set represents the extent, approximate location and type of wetlands and deepwater habitats in the United States and its Territories. These data delineate the areal extent of wetlands and surface waters as defined by Cowardin et al. (1979). The National Wetlands Inventory - Version 2, Surface Waters and Wetlands Inventory was derived by retaining the wetland and deepwater polygons that compose the NWI digital wetlands spatial data layer and reintroducing any linear wetland or surface water features that were orphaned from the original NWI hard copy maps by converting them to narrow polygonal features. Additionally, the data are supplemented with hydrography data, buffered to become polygonal features, as a secondary source for any single-line stream features not mapped by the NWI and to complete segmented connections. Wetland mapping conducted in WA, OR, CA, NV and ID after 2012 and most other projects mapped after 2015 were mapped to include all surface water features and are not derived data. The linear hydrography dataset used to derive Version 2 was the U.S. Geological Survey's National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). Specific information on the NHD version used to derive Version 2 and where Version 2 was mapped can be found in the 'comments' field of the Wetlands_Project_Metadata feature class. Certain wetland habitats are excluded from the National mapping program because of the limitations of aerial imagery as the primary data source used to detect wetlands. These habitats include seagrasses or submerged aquatic vegetation that are found in the intertidal and subtidal zones of estuaries and near shore coastal waters. Some deepwater reef communities (coral or tuberficid worm reefs) have also been excluded from the inventory. These habitats, because of their depth, go undetected by aerial imagery. By policy, the Service also excludes certain types of "farmed wetlands" as may be defined by the Food Security Act or that do not coincide with the Cowardin et al. definition. Contact the Service's Regional Wetland Coordinator for additional information on what types of farmed wetlands are included on wetland maps. This dataset should be used in conjunction with the Wetlands_Project_Metadata layer, which contains project specific wetlands mapping procedures and information on dates, scales and emulsion of imagery used to map the wetlands within specific project boundaries.
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