This data set represents the extent, approximate location and type of wetlands and deepwater habitats in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, United States. These data delineate the areal extent of wetlands and surface waters as defined by Cowardin et al. (1979).
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.
The present goal of the Service is to provide the citizens of the United States and its Trust Territories with current geospatially referenced information on the status, extent, characteristics and functions of wetlands, riparian, deepwater and related aquatic habitats in priority areas to promote the understanding and conservation of these resources.
The wetland maps were produced as topical overlays using U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps as the base. The hard copy product is a composite map showing topographic and planimetric features from the USGS map base and wetlands and deepwater habitats from the Service's topical overlay. Thus, the data are intended for use in publications, at a scale of 1:24,000 or smaller. Due to the scale, the primary intended use is for regional and watershed data display and analysis, rather than specific project data analysis. The map products were neither designed or intended to represent legal or regulatory products.
Comments regarding the interpretation or classification of wetlands or deepwater habitats can be directed to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Program Activities, Branch of Habitat Assessment http://www.fws.gov/duspit/contactus.htm
These data were developed in conjunction with the publication Cowardin, L.M., V. Carter, F.C. Golet, and E.T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC. FWS/OBS-79/31. Alpha-numeric map codes have been developed to correspond to the wetland and deepwater classifications described.
These spatial data are not designed to stand alone. They form topical overlays to the U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000 or 1:25,000 scale topographic quadrangles. Note that coastline delineations were drawn to follow the extent of wetland or deepwater features as described by this project and may not match the coastline shown in other base maps.
Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Although this Federal Geographic Data Committee-compliant metadata file is intended to document the data set in nonproprietary form, as well as in Arc/INFO format, this metadata file may include some Arc/INFO-specific terminology.