GIS Tools

CALWATER 2.2 -- "Official" Watershed Mapping for California
CALWATER alternative source -- California Dept. of Forestry

The CALWATER system of watershed delineation and identification is a standard used by several state agencies and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (within California). CALWATER provides a consistent means of labeling watersheds at different scales.

California Spatial Information Library (CaSIL)

This site is the California Geographic Information Systems (GIS) web portal. The California Mapping Coordinating Committee (CMCC) is in the process of developing a series of GIS-related web pages to provide information on State government GIS activities, access to statewide GIS data, and links to the larger California GIS community. This website and the Spatial Information Library are works in progress.

California Environmental Information Catalog

The California Environmental Information Catalog is an online directory for reporting and discovery of information resources for California. Participants include cities, counties, utilities, state and federal agencies, private businesses and academic institutions that have spatial and other types of data resources. The Catalog has been developed through a collaborative effort with the California Geographic Information Association, California Environmental Resources Evaluation System, and the Federal Geographic Data Committee. Thousands of public and private agencies in California collect, use, and maintain geographic information in electronic format. In many cases efforts are duplicated, resulting in greater costs, inconsistent information, and longer information collection timeframes. The lack of knowledge about existing and planned geographic information resources is an underlying cause contributing to this unnecessary waste of public and private money. The California Environmental Information Catalog provides information about geographic information resources in an effort to improve their efficient use through information sharing.

California Multi-Source Vegetation & Habitat Assessment (CDF-FRAP, 2002)

Land cover data provide the basis for FRAP analyses of wildlife habitat, water, grazing, and development impacts. No single mapping effort provides GIS data adequate to address this broad range of issues. Efforts to map land cover statewide typically provide insufficient resolution to capture types that occur as "inclusions", such as wet meadows, riparian areas, or certain types of development. Other efforts tend to focus on mapping land cover for a specific geographic area (e.g. bioregion, national park), or theme (e.g. wetlands, farmland). Since resources were targeted to a narrow focus, many of these efforts can make a reasonable claim to be the "best" for their respective area or theme. In order to provide the most solid basis for our analyses, FRAP staff made the decision to take advantage of these sources and merge them into a single GIS data layer. Merging data from multiple sources required addressing differences in scale, resolution, and consistency. In addition, each data source had to be cross-walked into a common classification system (California Wildlife Habitat Relationships, CWHR).

Information Center for the Environment (ICE, UC Davis)

The Information Center for the Environment (ICE) is an environmental information brokerage and research laboratory in the Department of Environmental Science & Policy at the University of California, Davis. ICE specializes in the development and dissemination of geospatial data and technologies; the development of robust data architectures dedicated to the cataloging of global environmental information; and the creation of decision support systems geared toward improving the capabilities of resource managers in a variety of sectors.

Watershed Atlas (EPA)

The Watershed Atlas is a catalog of geo-spatial displays and analyses of information and data important for watershed protection and restoration. You can use the catalog by geography, theme, key word, source/organization, and age of source data (under construction). Or search it using your words.

Green Communities (EPA)

This mapping site provides national scale information on mapping and data sources. It is a fairly low resolution source of information and is appropriate for an introduction to mapping. It does include a land-use tool-kit that may be useful.

Coastal Watershed Mapping (CDF-FRAP)

The Coastal Watershed Mapping Tool allows anyone to locate a watershed of interest by zooming into a statewide map and using watershed boundaries and scanned U.S. Geological Survey quad maps. These maps illustrate key hydrographic components such as streams and watershed boundaries as well as major roads, urbanized areas, and coarse vegetation condition. After an individual watershed is chosen, the linked screens provide information on average rainfall, public and private land ownership, and land use and vegetation cover. The statewide coverages for most of these layers are also available on the FRAP web site. The advantage of the mapping tool is that it allows anyone with access to the internet to retrieve detailed information on factors that play a major role in determining potential non-point source pollution sources, key wildlife habitats, and the impacts of proposed new land uses and resource management practices.

Salmon & Watersheds Mapping Tool (CDF-FRAP)

The ESU Internet Map Server and the Salmon and Watershed Query Tool are designed to allow anyone with a modem and a web browser to easily identify if a specific area is within a threatened or impaired watershed for the purpose of the new Forest Practice Rules. Both tools will return the same information: Watershed identifier, Watershed name, and ESU status. Users needing quick access to this information and those on slower internet connections should use the Salmon and Watersheds Query Tool. This database query tool allows three ways to lookup watershed information: by CalWater ID, by public land survey (township & range) or by searching for watershed names in a particular county. The interface is simple to use and watershed information is returned quickly.

Using GIS Applications for Census Data in Watershed Analysis (Noonan and Vreeland, NRCS, 2002)

This technical note describes the use of sociodemographic data in watershed studies by outlining a basic method for processing and using U.S. Census 1990 Tiger/Line data. A recommendation of data sources and methods of data use are discussed to promote demographic analysis within special study watersheds. One aspect of this technical note is to improve accuracy of watershed census data through use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capabilities.

Analysis of Landscape Features -- BLM

BLM’s National Science and Technology Center provides some tools and information for analyzing surface topography from digital elevation models. These tools allow consistent estimation of terrain characteristics such as average slope and aspect, slope lengths, ruggedness, etc. Such characteristics can be useful in erosion estimations and watershed condition analysis.

National Land Cover Characterization Program (USGS)

The Land Cover Characterization Program (LCCP) was started in 1995 to address National and International requirements for land cover data that were becoming increasingly sophisticated and diverse. The goal of the land cover program is to be a national and international center for excellence in land cover characterization. To accomplish that goal, the program:

1) Develops state-of-the-art multiscale land cover characteristics data bases used by scientists, resource managers, planners, and educators. (Global Land Cover & National Land Cover)
2) Contributes to the understanding of the patterns, characteristics, and dynamics of land cover across the Nation and the Earth.(Urban Dynamics & Land Cover Trends)
3) Pursues research that improves the utility and efficiency of large-area land cover characterization and land cover characteristics databases.
4) Serves as a central facility for access to, or information about, land cover data.(Land Cover Applications Center).

Maps and Data Coverages

GEODE (Geo-Data Explorer) is a free service provided by the USGS that provides digital geographically referenced data to policymakers, land and resource managers, educators, industries, and private citizens. GEODE provides a gateway to real-time data and analysis over the Internet without the need for special hardware, software, or training. Users can retrieve, display, and manipulate multiple types of information, such as satellite images, geologic maps, graphics, live camera feed, three-dimensional images, and spreadsheet data.

Automated Geospatial Watershed Assessment

AGWA (USDA & US-EPA, 2003) uses widely available standardized spatial datasets that can be obtained via the internet. The data are used to develop input parameter files for two watershed runoff and erosion models: KINEROS and SWAT. The Kinematic Runoff and Erosion Model (KINEROS) is an event oriented, physically-based model developed at the USDA-ARS to describe the processes of interception, infiltration, surface runoff and erosion from small (less than about 100 km2) watersheds. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)is a quasi-distributed model developed at the USDA-ARS to predict the impact of land management practices on water, sediment and agricultural chemical yields in large (basin scale) complex watersheds with varying soils, land use and management conditions over long periods of time (> 1 year).

Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed Profiles

The site provides an online mapping tool to visualize various geographic properties of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and sub-watersheds. The tabs along the top of the mapping page allow one to obtain detailed information about water quality and other information for sub-watersheds.