Our Data

EcoAtlas aggregates data from many different sources. Key data and their sources are described below.

California Vegetation (CALVEG)

CALVEG is a USDA Forest Service product providing a comprehensive spatial dataset of existing vegetation cover over California. The data were created using a combination of automated systematic procedures, remote sensing classification, photo editing, field based observations.

Analyses are based on a crosswalk of the CALVEG classifications to the California Wildlife Habitat Relationships CWHR). CWHR is a state-of-the art information system for California's wildlife developed upon the life history, geographic range, habitat relationships, and management information on species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals known to occur in the state. CWHR products aid in understanding, conserving, and managing California's wildlife.

For more information on CALVEG: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/landmanagement/resourcemanagement/?cid=stelprdb5347192.

For more information on CWHR: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CWHR.

Last update: 2013

California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI)

The California Aquatic Resource Inventory is a standardized statewide map of surface waters and related habitat types, including wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes, and their riparian areas.

CARI is a compilation of the best available local, regional, and statewide maps of surface waters. Datasets used in CARI include the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) of the US Geological Survey, as well as maps from regional and local agencies.

The maps contributing to CARI vary in detail and accuracy, and they represent different time periods, different areas of the state, and different classification systems. These differences greatly complicate efforts to measure changes in the abundance, diversity and condition of surface waters from place to place and over time. These measures will improve as CARI is replaced with a standardized mapping approach developed by statewide experts and implemented regionally to meet the needs of local land use planners and managers.

Local data stewards can contribute to the detail and accuracy of CARI by using the CARI Editor Tool to submit suggested updates, deletions or additions of stream and wetland features. It is important to have the mapped aquatic resources as accurate as possible, since amounts are summarized in various reports and the Landscape Profile Tool.

For more information on CARI and to download the data: http://www.sfei.org/cari.

Last update: Varies by dataset and feature

California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN)

The California Environmental Data Exchange Network is a central online location to find and share environmental data for California. Many interests in California contribute data on water quality, aquatic habitat, and wildlife health to CEDEN to help ensure good stewardship of the state’s natural resources. CEDEN aggregates these data and makes them accessible to the public.

Water and sediment toxicity data in CEDEN are made available in EcoAtlas. The data were developed by the state’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP). Data collection sites are categorized as non-toxic or having some, moderate, or high toxicity based on a common analytical process involving multiple samples taken at a site and multiple tests conducted on the samples. Methods used for categorizing toxicity data are available in the state’s Toxicity in California Waters report and in this diagram.

For more information on CEDEN and to download the data: http://www.ceden.org.

Last update: Weekly

California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB)

Data are available at the 7.5′ Quadrangle and County level only.

CNDDB is a collection of certified sightings of special status species that represents the most complete set of information available on the state's declining and/or vulnerable plant and animal species. The data sources for CNDDB are restricted to museum and herbarium specimens, published literature sources with location data, field survey data reviewed by CNDDB, and data from unpublished "gray" literature such as contracted reports. CNDDB is not an exhaustive and comprehensive inventory of all special status species statewide. CNDDB concentrates its work on areas with active Natural Community Conservation Plans or Habitat Conservation Plans, as well as high priority areas identified by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other natural resource agencies. No inference can be made regarding lands that have not been surveyed, and it is never appropriate to conclude that an area contains no special status species based on the CNDDB.

The Landscape Profile Tool uses publicly available data provided by the California Natural Diversity Database relating to the status and approximate locations of special status species of plants and animals in California. These species are rare, threatened, or endangered. All special status species from quadrangles that overlap any part of the area demarcated in the Landscape Profile are reported in the Landscape Profile Report, although the species reported may not necessarily inhabit all or any part of the demarcated area. CNDDB data are updated monthly and the data provided in the Landscape Profile Report represent the most recent CNDDB update.

For more information on CNDDB and to download the data: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Data/CNDDB/Maps-and-Data.

Last update: Monthly

California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM)

The California Rapid Assessment Method is a standardized, cost-effective tool for assessing the overall health of wetlands, streams, and their riparian areas in California. CRAM generates numerical scores based on field evaluations for multiple attributes of physical and biotic condition. Scores are relative to the best achievable condition based on statewide surveys. There are different modules of CRAM for different types of wetlands and streams, as classified in the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI). CRAM can be used to plan and assess restoration and mitigation projects. It can also be used to assess ambient baseline conditions at any spatial scale, from statewide to local watersheds. As a standard method for assessing projects, CRAM can be used to evaluate how ambient conditions are affected by projects.

For more information on CRAM: http://www.cramwetlands.org.

CRAM data can be downloaded from: http://www.ecoatlas.org.

Citation: California Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW). "California Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands and Riparian Areas (CRAM)." EcoAtlas. Accessed [date]. [URL].

Last update: Frequently

California Stream Condition Index (CSCI)

Data are for statewide assessment purposes only and are not intended for regulatory purposes.

The California Stream Condition Index (CSCI) is a statewide tool that translates complex data about individual benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs) living in a stream into an overall measure of stream health. CSCI scores are categorized into four categories for statewide monitoring sites sampled from 1999 through 2015.

For more information view The California Stream Condition Index (CSCI): A New Statewide Biological Scoring Tool for Assessing the Health of Freshwater Streams SWAMP Technical Memo.

To download the data, visit the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program’s (SWAMP) website: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/swamp/bioassessment/csci_scores_map.shtml

Last update: Monthly


The Landscape Profile Tool incorporates US census data developed by the Fire and Resource Assessment Program (FRAP) of CAL FIRE. FRAP acquired the data from the US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau, Geography Division. Using methods recommended by the Bureau, FRAP developed a GIS layer of population and housing counts by census block. FRAP further refined the analysis of population density on habitable lands reported in this GIS layer. The data summaries generated by the Landscape Profile Tool for population density are estimates only.

Percentages of languages spoken at home are based on the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS), an ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year.

For more information on the FRAP dataset: http://frap.fire.ca.gov/data/frapgisdata.

For more information on the US Census data and to download the data: http://www.census.gov/2010census/data.

For more information on the American Community Survey: http://www.census.gov/acs/www/.

Last update: 2010; 2008-2012(ACS)

Congressional Districts

Congressional Districts from the 114th Congress are displayed in EcoAtlas. Users can generate a Landscape Profile report based on a selected Congressional District, as well as display the Congressional District boundaries as an overlay.

For more information visit the US Census Bureau website: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/cbf/cbf_cds.html.

Last update: 2015


EcoAtlas recognizes ten ecoregions in California for visualizing the condition and extent of surface waters. These ecoregions originated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Omernik ecoregions and were later modified to reflect the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) CalVeg ecoregions. The modifications involved collapsing and renaming some ecoregions; separating the Central Valley into two ecoregions (Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin Valley); and creating a new Bay/Delta ecoregion from adjoining parts of the North and Central Coast ecoregions.

For more information visit the USEPA Ecoregions and USDA Vegetation Classification & Mapping web pages.

Last update: 2011

Eelgrass Aquatic Resources

Data are not comprehensive for all areas of California.

Eelgrass (Zostera marina and Z. pacifica)is recognized as an important ecological resource in nearshore open coast areas, shallow bays, and estuaries throughout coastal California. Access to regional maps and related monitoring reports for eelgrass is crucial to monitor the extent of eelgrass habitat and how it is changing over time, evaluate the effects of coastal development projects on eelgrass habitat, and inform interested stakeholders and the public about eelgrass distribution. A system for tracking changes in the distribution and abundance of eelgrass may inform the effectiveness of ongoing conservation and restoration efforts.

All eelgrass data provided by EcoAtlas, including maps of mitigation projects and associated monitoring reports, were provided by third party consultants and compiled by the Long Beach Office of the Protected Resources Division, National Marine Fisheries Service West Coast Region. The regional survey maps for eelgrass represent the best available data about eelgrass distribution in coastal embayments and estuaries in California for the period 1994-2015. These data have been collected using a variety of methods and the survey results are not comprehensive. The data incorporated into these maps were derived from a restricted subset of surveys that have been conducted in different regions. This information is intended only for regional planning purposes and not for site-specific impact assessment purposes.

The date slider adjusts the visibility of system-wide eelgrass surveys according to the desired time period. The frequency and coverage of system-wide surveys vary.  For those systems with multiple year survey periods, the use of a wide date range may provide an indication of the maximum extent of eelgrass in the system.  However, the absence of eelgrass in a given year may be a product of limited survey observations rather than actual absence of eelgrass.

For more information and to download the data, contact Bryant Chesney (Bryant.Chesney@noaa.gov) or Adam Obaza (Adam.Obaza@noaa.gov), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southwest Region, Long Beach office of the Habitat Conservation Division.

For more information about regional eelgrass monitoring efforts, please view the Recommendations for a Southern California Regional Eelgrass Monitoring Program Technical Report.

Last update: 2015

Habitat Projects

The Habitat Projects data layer contains habitat restoration, mitigation, and conservation projects. The wetland mitigation projects are located in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Coast, Central Coast, South Coast, and Lake Tahoe Basin. In the San Francisco Bay Area, project information is collected for all projects that have received a 401 Certification and/or Waste Discharge Order from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Basic information is provided through the 401 Certification application or through subsequent inquiries with project sponsors. Habitat projects are tracked and updated by the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture, Central Valley Joint Venture, and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy.

Projects can be viewed in the landscape context along with other data layers on an interactive map. Individual project information pages summarize the status, events, contacts, funding, and habitat plan for each project. Some projects consist of multiple sites, each of which can have a different status. In addition, supporting materials including monitoring reports, permits, photos, videos, and links to other websites can be uploaded and stored in a project’s file repository.

Project Tracker is an online data entry tool for submitting new projects to EcoAtlas. Once approved by regional managers, project boundaries are displayed on the map and can be viewed within the larger landscape context. Project information is summarized on individual project pages and in the Landscape Profile Tool.

Project data can be downloaded from http://www.ecoatlas.org.

Citation: California Wetlands Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW). "Habitat Projects." EcoAtlas. Accessed [date]. [URL].

Last update: Daily

- Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) Projects

Launched in 1997, the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) is a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies, private interests, and the Washoe Tribe, created to protect and improve the natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin. While the EIP has several focus areas, only projects from the Watersheds, Habitat, and Water Quality Focus Area are displayed in EcoAtlas.

Project information is obtained using a web service developed by the Sitka Technology Group. These projects appear as points with a link to the EIP project summary and are color-coded based on their stage status. However, EIP projects cannot be downloaded or filtered through the Habitat Projects Tool in EcoAtlas.

For more information on the EIP projects visit https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/.

Last update: Monthly

Historical Surface Waters and Terrestrial Plant Communities

Since the 1990s, a variety of partnerships including federal, state, local agencies, and non-governmental organizations have been developing maps and other information about the distribution, abundance, and diversity of aquatic habitat types and terrestrial plant communities at the time of European contact in various regions of California. Most of these efforts follow a methodology of historical ecology research developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center (SFEI-ASC). The data included in EcoAtlas are derived from twelve research projects spanning the period 1998 to 2013. The goals of these projects include providing information for habitat restoration, watershed management, flood protection, and local education.

For more information visit http://www.sfei.org/he.

To download the data visit SFEI's Data Center page: http://www.sfei.org/data-center.

Last update: 2013

Hydrologic Regions (HUC)

A Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) identifies a watershed within a hierarchical system dividing drainage basins into progressively smaller nested geographic areas. The size of the hydrologic unit decreases as the level of HUC subdivision increases: a HUC8 unit consists of one or more HUC10 units, each of which consists of one or more HUC12 units. In EcoAtlas, users can generate a Landscape Profile report based on a selected HUC8, HUC10, or HUC12 boundary, as well as display these hydrologic regions as an overlay.

For more information visit the USGS website: http://nhd.usgs.gov/wbd.html.

Last update: 2012-2013 (HUC8 and HUC10); 2013 (HUC12)

Modern Delta Habitat Types

The Modern Delta Habitats Types map layer is a compilation of several spatial datasets detailing Delta vegetation and land use, with each vegetation type crosswalked to the historical habitat types. This layer is a version of the Modern Habitat Type map published in the report A Delta Transformed: Ecological Functions, Spatial Metrics, and Landscape Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta Transformed) (SFEI-ASC 2014). It has been slightly modified for public posting on EcoAtlas. The original layer was developed to facilitate comparison with the Historical Habitat Type map published in the report Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Investigation (Whipple et al. 2012). To accomplish this, SFEI-ASC staff first compiled the best available datasets on Delta vegetation and natural communities, then cross-walked the classification schemes utilized by each of these layers to the historical habitat type classification scheme developed by Whipple et al. (2012).

Due to modifications for public posting of the layer, the area of the various habitat types will not precisely match those calculated in the Delta Transformed report. Also, since this layer was compiled from multiple sources, it represents Delta habitat types at multiple points in time. It is meant only to capture broad changes in the extent and distribution of habitats since the historical period (ca. 1800) and not to represent the Delta at any one moment in time. The source imagery used to develop each dataset may differ from the year it was published.

Sources referenced in the “Source” field include: (1) CDFG Delta VegCAMP 2007 - Vegetation and land use classification and map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta (Hickson and Keeler-Wolf 2007); (2) CDFG CVRMP 2012 - Mapping Standard and Land Use Categories for the Central Valley Riparian Mapping Project (GIC 2012); (3) WWR CSCCA Natural Communities 2013 - An unpublished natural communities dataset developed for the Cache Slough Complex Conservation Assessment (a combination of sources compiled by Wetlands and Water Resources, Inc.); and (4) SFEI 2013 Supplemental Mapping - Areas digitized and classified by SFEI-ASC staff from Bing aerial photographs accessed in 2013.

For a detailed description of the layer's sources, development, and cross-walking methods, refer to the Delta Transformed report on pages 14-15 and 77-78. For definitions of the habitat types, refer to pages 18 and 98-101.

For more information contact rlandscapes@sfei.org.

Last update: 2014

National Land Cover Dataset

The 2011 National Land Cover Database (NCLD) produced by the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) is a map of land cover classified into 16 classes with a spatial resolution of 30 meters. This dataset was developed using unsupervised spectral image classification of the Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) circa 2011 satellite imagery.

For more information on NLCD: http://www.mrlc.gov/.

To download the data: http://www.mrlc.gov/nlcd2011.php.

Last update: 2011

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh

This overlay includes both the primary and secondary zones of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) as defined in the California Water Code Section 12220, and the primary and secondary management areas of the Suisun Marsh as adopted by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission on January 20, 1978. The California Department of Water Resources compiled this information and created shapefiles.

The Delta Protection Act (1992) includes mandates for the designation of primary and secondary zones within the legal Delta and the completion of a Land Use and Resource Management Plan for the Primary Zone of the Delta. The Primary Zone consists of approximately 500,000 acres and the Secondary Zone of approximately 238,000 acres. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s Suisun Marsh Protection Plan (1976) proposes a Primary Management Area encompassing 89,000 acres of tidal marsh, managed wetlands, adjacent grasslands, and waterways, and a Secondary Management Area of approximately 22,500 acres of significant buffer lands.

For more information on the Delta Protection Act: http://www.delta.ca.gov/commission/delta_protection_act/

For more information on the Land Use and Resource Management Plan for the Primary Zone of the Delta: http://www.delta.ca.gov/land_use/land_use_plan/

For more information on the Suisun Marsh Protection Plan and to download maps: http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/plans/suisun_marsh.html

Last update: 2002 (Delta Primary Zone); 2009 (Delta Secondary Zone and Suisun Marsh)

US Geological Survey (USGS) StreamStats

StreamStats is a web service provided by the US Geological Survey used to delineate an upstream catchment from a user-defined pour point. Basins delineated by StreamStats are appropriate for use in planning and management, but they are not survey-grade. USGS combines digital elevation models (DEMs), 100,000 scale hydrology data from the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), and existing watershed boundaries from the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) to generate on-the-fly watershed delineations. This approach is dynamic and reasonable accurate in moderate to steep terrain. For relatively flat or gradual landscapes with minor streams or subsurface drainage, StreamStats can produce inaccurate watershed delineations. This generally occurs in urban areas and large valleys, such as the Central Valley. For best results in these landscapes, we recommend hand-delineation (heads-up digitizing) by using the draw your area of interest option in the Landscape Profile Tool. It should also be noted that StreamStats relies on a 10m node DEM that is coarser than some DEMs used in CARI v0. As a result, watershed boundaries generated by StreamStats might not align exactly with the boundaries evident in CARI v0.

For more information on USGS StreamStats: http://streamstats.usgs.gov.

Last update: Daily