Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States

Document number

FGDC-STD-004-2013

Maintenance authority

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sponsored by

FGDC Subcommittee on Wetlands Data

Objectives 

The primary objective of the Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States, as originally drafted by Cowardin et al. (1979:3), was “to impose boundaries on natural ecosystems for the purposes of inventory, evaluation, and management.” The FGDC Wetlands Classification Standard (WCS) provides minimum requirements and guidelines for classification of both wetlands and deepwater habitats that are consistent with the FGDC Wetlands Mapping Standard (FGDC-STD-015-2009). 

Scope 

Any new, updated, or revised mapping of wetlands or deepwater habitats shall conform to the FGDC Wetlands Classification Standard. More general mapping activities may incorporate wetlands data from the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), rather than conducting new wetlands classification (see further information in the FGDC Wetlands Mapping Standard). The Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States was developed by wetland ecologists, with the assistance of many private individuals and organizations and local, state, and Federal agencies. It was designed for use over a broad geographic area—all U.S. States and Territories—by individuals and organizations with varied interests and objectives. The definition of wetland in this classification delimits the biological extent of wetland, as influenced by substrate properties and the hydrologic characteristics at each site. This robust classification system has been successfully applied throughout the United States and its Territories since the mid-1970s, making it a truly national system.

Project history

Document Version
Date
  FGDC-endorsed standard

 1996
 FGDC-endorsed standard (revision)    2013

Other information