National Hydrography

Access National Hydrography Products

The NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR), National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) are available for download and as map services. All NHDPlus HR downloads contain a copy of the NHD and WBD datasets used to create the the NHDPlus HR. All NHD downloads contain a copy of the corresponding WBD dataset that is current only to the date the NHD dataset was created.

The National Map Downloader

The National Map Downloader

The National Map Download viewer provides an online mapping tool for downloading the NHDPlus HR, NHD and WBD as a shapefile or file geodatabase by Hydrologic Unit (HU), including 4-digit (HU4) or 8-digit (HU8), by state, or nationally.

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The National Map Web-based Map Services List

The National Map Web-based Map Services List

National Map publishes 44 services including: Base Maps (Cached), Availability/Index Overlays (US Topo, 3DEP), Theme Overlays (NHD, Names, Elevation, Transportation), Small-scale, Natural Hazards, Web Feature Services (WFS), WCS Services and more.

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General Dataset Information

USGS Hydrography datasets available for download are refreshed on varying schedules.

  • NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) datasets
    • Beta version currently being built
    • First refresh will take place as Beta QC is completed
    • Regular refresh schedule to be determined
  • NHD datasets by 4-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU4) and 8-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU8) are refreshed monthly
  • NHD datasets by State are refreshed every two months
  • NHD dataset by Entire Nation are refreshed quarterly
  • WBD datasets by 2-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU2) are refreshed monthly
  • WBD dataset by Entire Nation are refreshed monthly

Download by Map

The National Map Download Viewer

The National Map Download viewer provides an online mapping tool for downloading the NHDPlus HR, NHD and WBD as a shapefile or file geodatabase by Hydrologic Unit (HU), including 4-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU4) or 8-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU8), by state, or nationally. A Download Manager application also is available for conveniently managing downloads of multiple datasets.

Download by Link

NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) Direct Download Links

Please note: The NHDPlus High Resolution is being released for download in Beta version (NHDPlus HR Beta) by 4-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU4) as it is built. Please see the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) page for more information about this building process, to find out the current availability by 2-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU2), and to learn about participating in reviews of the Beta version data.

The NHDPlus HR data includes both vector and raster components for each geographic area mapped. NHDPlus HR Beta vector data is available in file geodatabase (GDB) format, zipped (.zip) to reduce the file size. NHDPlus HR raster data files are available for download as zipped (.7z) files.

National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) Direct Download Links

The NHD High Resolution can be directly downloaded in shapefile or file geodatabase (GDB) format by Hydrologic Unit (HU), state, or the entire nation. Also, an extract containing only streamgages and dams is available.

Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) Direct Download Links

The WBD can be directly downloaded in shapefile or file geodatabase format by 2-digit Hydrologic Unit (HU2) or as a file geodatabase for the entire nation.

Map Services

Hydrography web-based map services are available from The National Map Service Endpoints page as cached and dynamic services.

*Please note the NHD and WBD dynamic service endpoints listed  below were changed on February 2, 2018 due to migration of these services to the cloud. Any references to the previous endpoints will need to be updated. Also, on occasion, maintenance will be performed on these map services causing limited access. Contact nhd@usgs.gov if you encounter service-related issues or need assistance with these services.*

  • Hydrography - Cached (Tiled)
    • Service Name: USGSHydroCached
    • Category: Base Maps and/or Overlay
    • Type: Raster Tile Cache
    • Data: NHD
    • Scale: Down to 9K (Level 17 in Google map tiles)
    • Update Frequency: Updated Annually
       
  • National Hydrography Dataset
    • Service Name: NHD
    • Category: Theme Overlays
    • Type: Dynamic
    • Data: NHD
    • Scale: 1:288K and larger
    • Update Frequency: Updated Quarterly
       
  • Watershed Boundary Dataset
    • Service Name: WBD
    • Category: Theme Overlays
    • Type: Dynamic
    • Data: WBD
    • Scale: 1:18M and larger
    • Update Frequency: Updated Quarterly

Which service should I use?                         

  • Hydrography - Cached (Tiled): This nationwide cached overlay uses a variety of hydrography layers and depicts them in standard USGS Topographic Map symbology. It is updated and re-cached once yearly. It is useful for adding hydrography over other map layers down to 1:9,000 scale. It draws more quickly and is more reliable than the dynamic layers, but is updated less frequently and does not provide access to attributes nor the ability to change the style in other applications. This service is also available as a WMTS.
     
  • National Hydrography Dataset (NHD): This nationwide dynamic service displays the NHD High Resolution at scales from 1:288K and below. NHD symbology is used and it includes all symbols, for example, flow direction and connectors are shown at large scales. It draws more slowly than the tile cached service, but the data is updated quarterly and it supports access to attributes and dynamic styling (the ability to change the style representation in ESRI clients). This service is also available as a OGC Web Map Service (WMS).
     
  • Watersheds (WBD): This nationwide dynamic service displays the WBD at scales from 1:18M and below. It provides ability to either show all WBD levels at all scale ranges or the most appropriate HUC level at a given scale (default setting). The data is updated quarterly and it supports access to attributes and dynamic styling (the ability to change the style representation in ESRI clients). This map service is also available as a OGC Web Map Service (WMS) and a Web Feature Service (WFS).

Contacts

National Hydrography Support

Support for NHD, WBD, & NHDPlus HR
National Geospatial Program (NGP)