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National Riparian Area Base Map (Image Service)

posted on 2024-06-05, 12:39 authored by U.S. Forest Service
This imagery layer shows national riparian areas for the conterminous United States. Riparian areas are an important natural resource with high biological diversity. These ecosystems contain specific vegetation and soil characteristics which support irreplaceable values and multiple ecosystem functions and are very responsive to changes in land management activities. Delineating and quantifying riparian areas is an essential step in riparian monitoring, planning, management, and policy decisions. USDA Forest Service supports the development and implementation of a national context framework with a multi-scale approach to define riparian areas utilizing free available national geospatial datasets.

Why was this layer created? 

To estimate 50-year flood height riparian areas to support statistical analysis, map display, and model parameterization.

  • Provide a framework and an end product to stakeholders and apply the information into management actions and strategies.
  • Multi-scale approach to provide a national and regional report map. Create a product for managers to easily understand where to apply the information at various scales.
  • Develop a national context inventory of riparian areas and their condition within national forests and rangelands.

How was this layer created? 
  • Using freely available data.
  • Develop cost effective modeling approach & technique.
  • Multi-scale (national, regional, & local).
  • Promote technology transfer to train/reach out to our partners.
Fifty-year flood heights were estimated using U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage information. NHDPlus version 2.1 was used as the hydrologic framework to delineate riparian areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wetland Inventory and USGS 10-meter digital elevation models were also used in processing these data.

The data are '1' if in the riparian zone and 'NoData' if outside the riparian zone. When displayed on a map, riparian zone cells are color-coded 'blue' with 25% transparency.

For additional information regarding methodologies for modeling and processing these data, see Abood et al. (2012) and the National Riparian Areas Base Map StoryMap

This record was taken from the USDA Enterprise Data Inventory that feeds into the catalog. Data for this record includes the following resources:
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Data contact name


Data contact email


U.S. Forest Service


  • Geospatial

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • environment

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

Forestry, Wildland Management

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:96 - Forest Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:059 - Management Activities

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

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