National Hydrography


Welcome to the new National Hydrography Website!

Across the USGS, we have moved our web content to a new, more modern system. While the old URL has been retired, we're excited to have enhanced functionality with the new site, as well as the ability to update information more quickly. Please take a look!!

Announcing the new Markup App

Announcing the new Markup App

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Introducing the NHDPlus High Resolution

Introducing the NHDPlus High Resolution

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National Hydrography Newsletters

National Hydrography Newsletters

The National Hydrography Dataset newsletters keep the National Hydrography community appraised of recent developments and news. Read or contribute to it today!

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The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) are digital geospatial datasets that map and model the surface water of the United States.

The NHD represents the nation’s drainage networks and related features, including rivers, streams, canals, lakes, ponds, glaciers, coastlines, dams, and streamgages. The NHD, at 1:24,000 scale or better, is the most up-to-date and detailed hydrography dataset for the Nation. The WBD represents drainage areas of the country in eight nested levels.

Together, the NHD and WBD, along with data from the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), are processed to create the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), a networked geospatial framework of stream reaches, elevation-based catchment areas, flow surfaces, and value-added attributes that enhance stream network navigation, analysis, and data display. The NHDPlus HR brings modeling and assessment down to a local, neighborhood level, while nesting seamlessly into the national context.

The NHDPlus HR framework extends the hydrologic network seamlessly across the terrain by including not only streams, but also associated catchment areas that drain to each stream segment. This association allows information about the landscape to be related to the stream network. Using tools such as the Hydrography Event Management (HEM) tool, observational data on the stream network, such as fish populations, invasive species, stream discharge, and water quality, can also be linked to the framework. Using the framework, linked information, and other hydrologic and topographic characteristics, it is possible to study relationships, such as how a toxic spill upstream might affect a fish population or drinking water downstream.

The NHD and WBD are managed by the USGS under OMB Circular A-16 and as a part of the FGDC NGDA Inland Water Theme, with collaboration, support, and cost-sharing with many other federal, state, and local entities. This includes formalized Stewardship Agreements with partners to improve the NHD and WBD locally. Many tools exist to help with editing of the data, and many user resources are available.

Direct download links and web-based map service information are available from the Access National Hydrography Products page. Downloads via interactive map are available from The National Map Download viewer, and all web-based map services are listed at The National Map Service Endpoints page.

Join our community! We communicate monthly through the NHD Newsletters and NHD/WBD Advisory Calls, and hold special seminars and workshops as well. Please visit the News tab on the left for more information.


Date published: March 1, 2019

National Hydrography February 2019 Newsletter released

The USGS National Hydrography Dataset Newsletter, Vol. 18, No. 2, February 2019 has been released and posted for viewing.

Date published: February 1, 2019

National Hydrography January 2019 Newsletter released

The USGS National Hydrography Dataset Newsletter, Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2019 has been released and posted for viewing.

Date published: November 29, 2018

National Hydrography November 2018 Newsletter released

The USGS National Hydrography Dataset Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 11, November 2018 has been released and posted for viewing.