National Hydrography

NHDPlus High Resolution


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NHD Plus HR Status Graphic 2021-2-10

(Public domain.)


What is the NHDPlus HR?

Check out the NHDPlus HR factsheet!

The NHDPlus HR is a national, geospatial model of the flow of water across the landscape and through the stream network. The NHDPlus HR is built using the National Hydrography Dataset High Resolution data at 1:24,000 scale or better, the 1/3 arc-second (10 meter ground spacing) 3D Elevation Program data, and the nationally complete Watershed Boundary Dataset.

NHDPlus HR consists of vector and raster data layers. It includes a snapshot of the NHD and WBD at the time the NHDPlus HR was built, as well as the following components:

  • A set of value-added attributes (VAAs), in addition to the standard NHD attributes, that enhance stream network navigation, analysis and display
  • An elevation-based catchment area for each flowline in the stream network
  • Catchment characteristics, including mean annual precipitation, mean annual temperature, and mean annual runoff, and mean latitude
  • Cumulative drainage area characteristics
  • Mean annual flow (1971-2000) and velocity estimates for each flowline in the stream network
  • Flow direction, flow accumulation, elevation, and hydro-enforced elevation rasters
  • Headwater node areas
  • Flowline min/max elevations and slopes

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 water quality samples, streamgage measurements, or fish distribution, can be linked to the framework. Together, the framework and linked data can support a limitless range and type of applications, for example:

  • Predicting the risk, timing, and magnitude of flood events
  • Estimating when and where an event such as a toxic spill will affect populations and ecosystems downstream
  • Enabling riparian property owners to better understand upstream invasive species threats

    NHDPlus HR is modeled after the highly successful medium resolution NHDPlus Version 2. Like the NHDPlus Version 2, the NHDPlus HR is comprised of a nationally seamless network of stream reaches, elevation-based catchment areas, flow surfaces, and value-added attributes that enhance stream network navigation, analysis, and data display. However, users will find that the NHDPlus HR, which increases the number of features nationally from about three million in the NHDPlus Version 2 to over 30 million, provides richer, more current content that also can be used at a variety of scales.

      When completed, the NHDPlus HR will provide a common geospatial framework that is open and accessible for use by everyone, including government, citizens, and industry. It is designed to support the National Hydrography Infrastructure and Internet of Water. NHDPlus HR will not only provide far more detail than NHDPlus V2 in order to support local analysis and modeling, special attributes also allow the selection of more generalized stream networks for regional or national analysis, while retaining the spatial accuracy of the highest-resolution, nationally available datasets.

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      Where is the NHDPlus HR available?

      The map above provides a general overview of the NHDPlus HR data availability. Click the map to visit the live National Hydrography Dataset Plus High Resolution Availability Web Map. For questions or to help with NHDPlus HR review/QC, email

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      How can I learn more about NHDPlus HR?

      If you would like to participate in a NHDPlus HR training session, please email with the subject line "NHDPlus HR Training".

      The User’s Guide for the National Hydrography Dataset Plus High Resolution and a Data Dictionary for the NHD, WBD, and NDHPlus HR are available with detailed information. A poster of the NHDPlus HR Data Model v1.0 is provides details on dataset structure, feature classes, domains, and relationships (upon opening the file, zoom in for a more detailed view).

      The NHDPlus HR is very similar structurally to the NHDPlus Version 2, for which a great deal of documentation is available. While not all aspects of the data are identical, nearly all concepts are applicable to the NHDPlus HR. See the “Learn More” tab on the US EPA NHDPlus website for documentation, training presentations, and exercises. Also, a series of video presentations from a July 2016 workshop on NHDPlus Version 2 is available from the California Department of Water Resources.

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      How can I access the NHDPlus HR?

      NHDPlus HR data is currently available in Beta version for selected hydrologic regions from the Linked Data > Download Hydrography Products page and The National Map Downloader.

      Note that two download files are available for each area: a file geodatabase (GDB) of all vector datasets in compressed ZIP format, and a collection of raster files in 7-Zip compressed format. Please see the NHDPlus HR User's Guide for more information on what is contained in these download files.

      Approximate Scale Representation using the VisibilityFilter Attribute

      The VisibilityFilter attribute enables users to represent NHD vector features in the NHDPlus HR at eight different map scales. Using an algorithm, each feature is assigned a VisibilityFilter value, indicating the approximate appropriate map scale, and all larger scales, for representing the features. This attribute is available for the NHDFlowline, NHDWaterbody, NHDArea, and NHDLine feature classes. Details on methods for using the VisbilityFilter attribute, information on known issues, and citations for determining the map scale levels are available on the Scale Representation using the VisibilityFilter Attribute page. Please note: The VisibilityFeature attribute will only be available for CONUS (not Alaska, Hawaii, or the U.S. Territories) due to limitations of datasets needed to calculate the attribute. It has been populated in the National Hydrography Dataset for most of CONUS, with the exception of a few hydrologic units in Region 02 and 08. The VisibilityFilter attribute will be incorporated into the NHDPlus HR as the datasets are updated to the next version after Beta.

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      Why is the first NHDPlus HR product called "Beta"?

      The NHDPlus HR is being built in an iterative fashion. A first “Beta” version of NHDPlus HR has been developed for most of the conterminous U.S. and limited areas of Alaska. While in Beta, the NHDPlus HR data is undergoing a structured review/QC by volunteers in the user community using a web-based Markup Application, during which any errors identified in the component hydrography datasets (NHD and WBD) and/or NHDPlus HR datasets are being corrected. This period of user review is a vital part of the overall process. After the datasets are updated, a new NHDPlus HR dataset will be regenerated to maintain integration with the NHD, WBD, and 3DEP data. Regular refreshes of NHDPlus HR are planned to keep up with changes in the underlying datasets.

      To help with NHDPlus HR review/QC, please send an email to

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      How can I help improve the NHD, WBD, and NHDPlus HR?

      Improving the NHD and WBD prior to NHDPlus HR Production: Partners proficient with NHD or WBD editing tools can perform the required review/quality control (QC) and fix problems in the NHD and WBD data before the datasets are used in NHDPlus HR production. Partners who have local knowledge but are not trained editors can get involved in the review/QC effort using the USGS Markup Application. Areas are not available for editing during the NHDPlus HR build process. Visit the section below on data availability to see areas available for editing. Please send an email to for questions about hydrography editing.

      NHDPlus HR Beta review/QC: The USGS is seeking volunteers to perform a review/QC of the​ NHDPlus HR Beta in various Hydrologic Regions. This opportunity is ideal for users with previous NHDPlus Version 2 (medium resolution) experience and, most importantly, local hydrography knowledge. Please send an email to with "NHDPlus HR QC" in the subject line to participate in the NHDPlus HR Beta review/QC process.

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      Known issues with the NHDPlus HR Beta Dataset

      How do I report issues with the NHDPlus HR?

      If you discover an issue with the NHDPlus HR stream network or waterbodies, please report the issue via Markup Application. For more information on how to use the Markup Application, please see the Markup App User Guide. If you have any further issues, please contact

      Unresolved known issues in the NHDPlus HR Beta Datasets: Below are unresolved issues identified in the NHDPlus HR Beta datasets which do not need further reporting.

      • 7-Zip Issue with NHD National Products - An issue exists with unzipping NHD National products using 7-zip software. NHD National products unzipped using 7-zip software will return a ‘header error’ message shortly after starting the unzipping process. This is a known issue with the 7-zip software and remains unresolved at this time. Please utilize Windows Extract, or any other software of your choosing, to unzip this product. (added 6/16/2020)
      • Errors in raster data - An error during the NHDPlus HR build process resulted in incorrect catchment raster data (cat.tif) for HU 19020302, creating a seam between this raster and adjacent hydrologic units. All rasters in this hydrologic unit have incorrect projection information (CONUS Albers) and should be re-projected into Alaska Albers. These errors will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (Added 4/29/2020)
      • Missing flow accumulation data - No flow accumulation data is present for hydrologic units in Regions 20 and 21 due to a lack of precursory data to perform these calculations. Missing data from the following tables: NHDPlusEROMMA, NHDPlusEROMQAMA, NHDPlusEROMQARPT, NHDPlusIncrLat, NHDPlusIncrPrecipMM01-12, and NHDPlusIncrTempMM01-12. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 4/15/2020)
      • Lack of network connectivity - Poor network connectivity found throughout NHDPlus HR Beta HU4 0713 and 0404 as the result of many disconnected flowlines and micrograps. These issues will be addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 4/20/2020)
      • Missing elev_meta polygon (raster data affected) - This error is present in hydrological unit 2101 and affects all raster data. A missing polygon has been identified within the elev_meta feature class . The issue is due to a lack of source data in this area and thus cannot be resolved. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 4/10/2020)
      • Unpopulated flow accumulation raster - The flow accumulation raster, fac.tif was previously not included for HU4 1027. A software issue caused the NHDPlus HR Build tool to fail for these processing units. This dataset also has an empty NHDPlusMegaDiv table. These issues will be corrected in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 2/20/2020)
      • Missing, overlapping, or noncontiguous elev_meta polygons (raster data not affected) - An issue has been identified affecting some polygons in the elev_meta feature class. All related raster files are unaffected. This error is present in, but may not limited to, the following hydrologic units: 041504, 0508, 0713, 1107, and 1711. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (updated 1/22/2020)
      • 0808 Dendritic Network – This unit would not process through the NHDPlus HR build software due to its highly complicated network. The only workable solution found to date is to set all flowlines having Divergence=2 (except for one at a VPU connection) to InNetwork=0 when processing the unit. In effect, this made the network dendritic, and much simpler than the original NHD data. We will attempt to correct this issue in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 10/22/19)
      • NHDPlusBurnLineEvent BurnLenKM - An issue has been identified affecting the BurnLenKM attribute in the NHDPlusBurnLineEvent feature class for 1705. The BurnLenKM attribute is incorrectly displaying the Length in Kilometers, this is due to an issue with the LengthKM from the NHDFlowline feature class. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 8/13/2018)
      • NHDPlusLandSea domain - An issue has been identified affecting all NHDPlusLandSea domains. Negative 2 values are not shown as Sea features. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 7/17/2018)
      • Metadata - Some inaccuracies have been identified in the NHDPlus HR metadata. These errors will be updated in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions with a future model change. (added 4/3/2018)
        • The 3DEP and WBD snapshot dates for VPUs are not accurate. These were included as place holders when the metadata template was being developed and have not been updated for the beta metadata.
        • The processing software version may not be up to date for the beta version of the dataset.
        • For the HU4 level, a statement is included that network connectivity was verified by tracing upstream from all outlets. This statement is being evaluated and will be modified.
        • The NHD source criteria scale will be modified from 1:24,000 to 1:24,000 or better.
        • An issue has been identified affecting all NHDPlus HR XML Metadata products created after August 13, 2018. Links within the metadata describing where NHDPlus HR Beta raster products are located in order for download are incorrect. This is making the raster data not downloadable in ScienceBase and The National Map Viewer. (added 9/7/2018)
      • NHDPlusLandSea domain - An issue has been identified affecting all NHDPlusLandSea domains. Negative 2 values are not shown as Sea features. This error will be corrected and addressed in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 7/17/2018)
      • Incorrectly named coordinate systems - Some CONUS NHDPlus HR raster file projections are incorrectly named NAD_1983_Albers, although the projection projection parameters within the file are correctly defined as USA Contiguous Albers Equal Area Conic USGS Version. To resolve the naming issue, use the Esri ArcToolbox Define Projection tool and select USA_Contiguous_Albers_Equal_Area_Conic_USGS_version for the coordinate system. This issue will be corrected in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 3/29/2018)
      • Incorrect PathLength - An issue has been identified affecting PathLength in the NHDPlusFlowlineVAA table. This source of this issue is incorrect LengthKM values on some NHDFlowline features. This issue affects the following NHDPlus HR Beta datasets: Regions 07, 10, 14, and 15. The source of the error has been corrected for the affected NHDFlowlines and will be addressed for the previously mentioned Regions in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 3/19/2018)
      • Missing NHDWaterbody catchments - A processing error has been identified which caused some NHDWaterbody features to not be burned and thus have no associated catchments. This issue will only affect a catchment boundary with no wall. This issue could also affect neighboring catchment boundaries. This issue potentially affects Regions 01, 02, 06, 10, 12, 14, 15 and 16. This error has been corrected and will be addressed for the previously mentioned Regions in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 11/28/2017)
      • Incorrect values in NHDPlusIncr Table for specific geographic areas only - In the NHDPlusIncr* table, the MissDataA field has positive values rather than the correct value of “0”. This does not affect EROM, other NHDPlus feature classes, or tables. This issue affects the following NHDPlus HR Beta datasets: 0903, portions of Region 12, Region 14, Region 15, Region 16, Region 02, 0108 and 0110. This issue will be corrected in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. *monthly mean tables. (added 7/19/2017)
      • Excessive sinks in off-network water bodies - A process was inadvertently introduced during the processing of NHDPlus HR Beta datasets for Hydro Regions 02, 07, 10, 12, 14, 15, and 16 that caused sinks to be created in all off-network water bodies. This will be corrected in subsequent NHDPlus HR dataset versions. (added 6/2/2017)
      • HU2, HU14, and HU16 Feature classes in WBD Feature Dataset are not populated - HU14 and HU16 features only exist for a few areas. These feature classes will be empty in most datasets. The HU2 feature class was not populated during the creation of initial NHDPlus HR Beta data. These datasets may not include HU2 features. More recent production now includes HU2 features. (added 5/12/2017)

      Resolved issues in the NHDPlus HR Beta Datasets: Below are issues identified in the NHDPlus HR Beta datasets which have been resolved.

      • RESOLVED -  Incorrect catchments due to zero elevation values - An error during the NHDPlus HR Build process resulting in an incorrect hydrodem caused incorrectly built catchments for HU4s 0714 and 0415. In the hydrodem, the streams were burned correctly, the walls created correctly, and the catchments derived from this hydrodem conformed correctly to the WBD boundaries. However, the topography in between was replaced with a flat surface of zero elevation resulting in incorrect catchment derivation . This issue has been corrected. (resolved 11/07/19, originally posted 10/4/2017)
      • RESOLVED - Missing relationship classes - Some NHD relationship classes normally found in the NHD data model are missing in NHDPlus HR Beta Datasets. This issue will be corrected in the future, but existing Beta datasets will not be recreated. (resolved 11/07/19, originally posted 5/12/2017).
      • RESOLVED -  Invalid and or missing NHDPlusFlowlineVAA and EROM Tables for  NHDPlus HR Beta datasets: portions of Region 09, Region 10, Region 16 and Sub-region 0108. Within the NHDFlowline feature class, the InNetwork field was improperly set to "NULL". This field is now set to "YES" or "NO" based on the FlowDir field. This issue also caused some VAAs to not be present in the NHDPlusFlowlineVAA table. This issue has been corrected. (resolved 10/29/19, originally posted 10/4/2017)
      • RESOLVED - Region 08 preliminary data release - Region 08 was distributed in September 2019 as preliminary data. Region 08 final processing has been completed and the updated data  distributed on October 22, 2019. Any data downloaded prior to October 22, 2019 will have the following conditions (resolved 10/22/19, originally posted 10/15/2019): 
        • 0808: three of the 40 total value-added attributes were not fully populated in 0808 (RTNDIV, TOTDA, DivDA), the incremental allocations for Precipitation, Temperature, Runoff, and Latitude were not present, and the EROM flow estimates were not populated.
        • 0801-0807: EROM flow estimates were not populated.
      • RESOLVED - 0318 reprocessing and redistribution – 0318 has been redistributed due to connection to 0809. This VPU was reprocessed in its entirety.  All identifiers, including NHDPlusID, LevelPathID, TerminalPathID, FromNode, ToNode, and HydrologicSequence have been updated. (resolved 10/22/19, originally posted 10/15/2019)
      • RESOLVED - Unpopulated flow accumulation raster - The flow accumulation raster, fac.tif was previously not included for HU4s 0208, 0901, 0903, 1018, 1019, 1025, 1604, and 1606. A software problem caused the NHDPlus HR Build Step P tool to fail for these processing units. Flow accumulation rasters are now available for these HU4s. To confirm access to the updated data packages, reference the <pubdate> provided in the xml files. (updated 5/8/2018)
      • RESOLVED - Incorrect files in raster download files - The raster download .7z files sometimes contain the wrong raster files. (resolved 05/25/2017, originally posted 5/25/2017)

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