National Hydrography

National Hydrography Infrastructure Working Group

The National Hydrography Infrastructure (NHI) Working Group is a forum for Federal agencies with direct involvement in the National Hydrography Infrastructure to provide input and collaborate on the direction, development, priorities, management, technologies, use, and resources of the National Hydrography Infrastructure.

The NHI Working Group will advance a National Hydrography Infrastructure that continues to support the legacy needs and uses of the Watershed Boundary Data (WBD) and National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), while expanding to underpin interagency hydrologic observing networks and modeling systems through development and maintenance of the NHDPlus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) national hydrography framework and systems and services that allow for the referencing and discovery of water-related data.

The National Hydrography Infrastructure Working Group consists of representatives from each of the following Member Agencies:

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Bureau of Reclamation (BOR)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) / National Weather Service (NWS)
  • National Park Service (NPS)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
  • U.S. Forest Service (USFS)
  • U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Member Agencies provide a primary and alternate representative, with the alternate acting for the primary as needed. The USGS is the Lead Agency for development and management of the National Hydrography Infrastructure and underlying hydrography datasets, including the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD), and NHDPlus HR. The Lead Agency will support the Working Group with two representatives acting as Co-Chairs for the Working Group. The Lead Agency also will provide Advisors to assist with programmatic and technical guidance on National Hydrography Infrastructure development and management.z

National Hydrography Infrastructure Background

The USGS and partners are collaborating on the development of the National Hydrography Infrastructure (NHI) to support the referencing and discovery of water-related information, or hydro referenced data. The NHI is an integrated set of components enabling the referencing, discovery, and analysis of water-related information for the Nation to a geospatial framework (figure 1). It supports web-based applications that can be built on the infrastructure, and the  independent, stand-alone models and applications that can directly consume the geospatial framework that underlies the system.

National Hydrography Infrastructure diagram

National Hydrography Infrastructure diagram

(Public domain.)

This Infrastructure is comprised of:

  1. The National Hydrography Dataset Plus High Resolution (NHDPlus HR) geospatial framework providing geospatial context,
  2. Linked data functionality through web-based services for the referencing and discovery of data and referenced data directories to manage databases for linked data and references to external linked data,
  3. Web application interfaces to view map services and access the linked data functionality to reference and discover data, and,
  4. Application Programming Interfaces (API) supporting further utilization of the linked data functionality and web access interfaces in the development of connected applications.

This Infrastructure is collaborative, open, and valuable for everyone, including government, tribes, industry, and citizens. It therefore benefits from the input of partners and users such as the National Hydrography Infrastructure Working Group. Interest in improving accessibility to water-related information has been growing in recent years, as evidenced by efforts such as the Internet of Water. Endeavors such as this recognize the power of using a geospatial framework to organize water-related data on the hydrologic network and acknowledge the important role geographic location plays in understanding the relationships between water-related observations.


Becci Anderson

National Hydrography Management and Planning Lead | Physical Scientist
National Geospatial Program
Phone: 907-786-7042