| Contact Us

Selected PNWHF Projects

Washington Common Fish Distribution and LLID Data Project

Point of Contact: Anita Stohr, Washington Department of Ecology, asto461@ECY.WA.GOV

Washington’s salmon and steelhead fisheries are managed cooperatively in a government-to-government relationship. One government is the state of Washington and the other governments are Indian tribes with established treaties. Prior to this project, the Washington State Department of Fisheries (WDFW) and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) were working from different base hydrography layers with different upstream extents for various fish species. With funding from an EPA exchange grant, the two agencies have mapped the fish distribution data to the NHD as events. They are in the process of error checking the upstream extent of fish migration and plan to have a common fish distribution map for fisheries management in the fall of 2013. More>>

An important part of this project was creating an NHD event layer from the LLID (Latitude Longitude Identification) stream identification system. The LLID system was used by WDFW prior to their adoption of the NHD. Many data resources are still tied to that system, some of which are hatchery locations, and culvert locations. The LLID event project greatly simplifies moving the hatchery, culvert, and other location data to the NHD. In June 2013, WDFW completed the LLID layer using a static copy of the NHD from spring 2012. It will need to be synchronized to a current copy of the NHD prior to finalization.

Washington Water Quality Standards and 303d List

Point of Contact: Anita Stohr, Washington Department of Ecology, asto461@ECY.WA.GOV

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to establish water quality standards to protect uses of those waters by the public and by aquatic life. Every 2 to 4 years water monitoring data is compared against those standards to generate a list of waters not meeting standards. In Washington we are working toward creating and distributing the three datasets involved in this process as NHD event feature classes. More>>

The first dataset, the Water Quality Standards, are complete and waiting on final review prior to release (expected September 2013). The Water Quality Standards are linear events that cover the numeric and narrative criteria in the following two documents: Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters of the State of Washington, Chapter 173-201A WAC, Ecology Publication 06-10-091, Revised January 2012: and Waters Requiring Supplemental spawning and Incubation Protection for Salmonid Species, Ecology Publication 06-10-038, Revised January 2011:

The second dataset, the water quality monitoring data stations, are in progress. All stations are point features in a database, the Ecology Environmental Information Management system, but not all have been located as HEM events on the NHD. All new data loaded to this system is required to have an NHD ReachCode and Measure.


The third dataset, the 2012 Water Quality Assessment and 303d list was published on 7/3/2013, but is currently indexed to the older LLID system. The project to produce an NHD compliant version is starting immediately. Release notes for the current version follow: Washington State's 2012 Water Quality Assessment (WQA) is produced in the Environmental Protection Agency's "Integrated Report" format. The WQA consists of both the 303(d) List and the 305(b) Report. The 303(d) List is comprised of only Category 5 listings. The 305(b) Report lists all waters and all categories. The 2012 WQA is presented on the 1:24k LLID (Longitude/Latitude ID) hydro layer.

Washington and Oregon Population of Stream Order:

Points of Contact: Anita Stohr, Washington Department of Ecology, asto461@ECY.WA.GOV, Jay Stevens, BLM Oregon State Office,

Strahler Stream Order calculations are complete for Oregon and Washington and is now an attribute on the high resolution 1:24K National Hydrography Dataset (NHD).  This attribute is part of the NHD data model, but has been an empty field for many years.  Strahler Stream Order is a numerical measure of branching complexity commonly used as a surrogate for stream size and is also important in stream habitat analysis. In Washington, stream order ranges from a value of 1 (for the very smallest streams) to 10 (for the Columbia River). Some features like pipelines, coastline, or canal/ditches that should not participate in Stream Order will have a value of 0 or null. More>>

Stream Order is stored in the value-added attribute table NHDFlowlineVAA and is related to the NHDFlowline feature class by the common field, Permanent_Identifier. It is generated from the NHDFlow table using python/SQL coding originally generated by Jay Stevens (BLM) to work against BLM’s Oregon’s Oracle database. WA Dept. Ecology staff re-wrote the code to work in our Microsoft SQL environment.

The completed statewide NHDflowlineVAA has been loaded to the National NHD Database so that new extractions come with the stream order data. Maintenance of the stream order attribute is planned during NHD edit checkouts. We also hope to share code though USGS using a process that minimizes impact to state staff.

Clallam County Migrating Lidar Generated Streams Project

Point of Contact: Anita Stohr, Washington Department of Ecology, asto461@ECY.WA.GOV

Clallam County has a hydrography dataset that was generated in part from high resolution Lidar data. Washington State plans to incorporate this data, located in HUC17110020 ,into the NHD. This project has been delayed as the ArcGIS 10.1 versions of the NHD editor and NHD conflate tools were completed. The conflate tool helps with retention of existing NHD reachcodes and GNIS names while importing new linework. This project is scheduled to begin summer 2013 and will include re-synchronization of existing event data. More>>

Reconciling Named Features in the NHD in Oregon with the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) (Point of Contact: Bob Harmon, Oregon Water Resources Department, In 2009 the PNW Hydro Steering Committee identified the need to review and correct the names in the NHD. This was in anticipation of the U.S. Topo update of the quadrangle maps for Oregon in 2011. The effort would also further the goal of integrating the GNIS with the NHD. To determine the extent of the issue a comparison was made between the GNIS database and NHD feature classes. Out of 26,036 named hydrographic features in Oregon 6,605 (26%) were in the GNIS but not in the NHD. In January 2010 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) awarded a Partnership Grant to the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) to review and reconcile GNIS hydrographic features with the NHD to ensure that all hydrographic features in the GNIS exist as named features in the NHD. The work was broken down by by 8-digit hydrologic units (HU) and focused on lake, reservoir, and stream categories in the GNIS. Work began in the northeast portion of the state where sub-basins with a high number discrepancies had been identified and reconciliation work was occurring in other GNIS categories by state and federal agencies. Basins east of the Cascade divide have been completed and work is continuing on the west side.

Automated water distribution reporting system (pilot)

Point of Contact: Bob Harmon, Oregon Water Resources Department,

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is developing an automated water distribution reporting system based on the NHD. The purpose is to assist field staff in its twenty districts across the state by developing a mechanism for them to quickly identify water users in a basin that may need to have their use curtailed in the event of water shortages. The NHD will be used to help sort water right diversions by their position on each stream. The Water Master will be able to filter the data further by water right priority date and permitted consumption rates. The system is being piloted in the Klamath Basin.

Migration of Lidar-Derived Hydrography for Portions of Tualatin Subbasin

Point of Contact: Bob Harmon, Oregon Water Resources Department,

DOGAMI has developed lidar-derived hydrography for large portions of Western Oregon to support a variety of internal mapping projects. Large scale, lidar-based maps require detailed stream and water body delineations to achieve base map consistency. DOGAMI regularly maps bedrock and surficial geology, and natural hazards -- flooding, landslides, and tsunami inundation -- at large scales. DOGAMI recognizes the significant improvement of lidar-derived hydrographic alignments over existing NHD alignments. To date DOGAMI has not published or otherwise widely distributed its lidar-derived hydrography for the benefit of the larger community. Since NHD was recently adopted as the official hydrography layer for the State of Oregon, DOGAMI has identified NHD as the most appropriate vehicle for sharing these data with its state and federal partners.More>>

DOGAMI has coordinated with the Pacific Northwest Hydrographic Framework (PNWHF) Steering Committee to identify target twelve 12-digit hydrologic units within the Tualatin subbasin. Selection criteria priorities areas where lidar-derived flowline density was comparable to existing NHD flowline density and where there was a predominance of privately owned lands. The Oregon Department of Forestry and other partners will be consulted regarding proposed changes.

Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department NHD Project

Point of Contact: Bob Harmon, Oregon Water Resources Department,

ODFW is in the process of migrating LLID-based routes to events on NHD.

  • Synchronized LLID events that were migrated to the NHD in September 2012 to an April 2013 version of the NHD
  • LLID-based route system has been generated (despite pending edits to NHD) and provided to Oregon Water Resources Dept. (OWRD)
  • Staging approximately 800 edits to the NHD. Have begun stewardship process with BLM, USFS and OWRD
  • Once NHD edits are complete, LLID events will be synchronized again (~ summer 2013)
  • Fish habitat and fish passage barrier data will then be migrated to events on the NHD (~ fall 2013)

LLID to NHD Data Conversion Pilot Project (DEQ)

Currently the DEQ uses the 1:100,000 scale Pacific Northwest river reach hydrographic data to describe streams. The data set is maintained by StreamNet and uses the attribute called Latitude/Longitude ID (LLID) which provides a unique identifier for a stream. The LLID method of identifying geospatial locations is used in several water quality databases including the Oregon DEQ Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Division (LEAD) LASAR database (that stores water quality sampling results), WQ Assessments reporting, drinking water protection, and permitting. Water Quality TMDL modelers routinely use the NHD system rather than the LLID. Migrating to the NHD hydrography identification system as a statewide standard will facilitate better data transferability within the agency, between agencies and for federal reporting. More>>


The objective of this pilot project is to migrate water quality sampling sites in the Mid Coast Basin to NHD. There are approximately 700 water quality sampling sites in the basin. A process and timeline will be developed from this pilot that can be applied to the rest of the state. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Water Quality Division is requesting grant funding to determine methodology and conduct a pilot project to migrate and geocode Oregon DEQ Laboratory and Environmental Assessment Division (LEAD) LASAR data to the NHD (single or multiple routes) from the LLID format.

The migration of water quality sampling sites in the LEAD LASAR database to the NHD is an essential step in OR DEQ fully adopting NHD. This pilot project will determine the migration methods, quality assurance requirements, and provide documentation on how the geolocation process is conducted. The transition to the NHD geolocation will align DEQ with nearby states and other state and federal agencies facilitating data exchange and consistent. This project meets the criteria in the FY13 Data Supply Plan of adding data, value, and utility to the NHD by migration of water quality sampling sites.

LiDAR/Hydrography Delineation Project

As elsewhere in the country, LiDAR data sources are becoming more available to the NHD and WBD user community in Oregon and Washington. In order to ensure consistency in stream network and hydrologic unit boundary delineations, that will ultimately be processed as updates to the NHD or WBD, the PNWHF Partners have determined that guidelines need to be developed for the use of these sources for this purpose. The Oregon LiDAR Stream Delineation Project was formed to evaluate the use of these LiDAR sources and to provide the results to it's members and stakeholders.

We presented results (AWRA manuscript) from this project's two pilot phases at the Spring 2012 AWRA Conference and NHD Stewardship Meeting in New Orleans, LA. With support from the USGS and in coordination with the US Forest Service, we are continuing to fine-tune methods for modeling drainage patterns using lidar in Western Oregon, improve the NHD steward review process with ArcGIS web applications, and better quantify overall time and resources requirements. Please contact Craig Ducey (BLM - or Bob Harmon (OWRD – with any questions.

Hydrography Event Management (HEM) Tool

Ariel Doumbouya ( at USGS is the Point of Contact for HEM.

HEM is a set of ArcGIS tools intended for the creation, management, and refresh of event data that is referenced to NHD routes. The desktop version of HEM was initially developed by and for the BLM and the Pacific Northwest Hydrography Framework. In recent years BLM and USGS have collaborated on continued HEM development and user support to the expanding user community across the nation. Beginning in September 2013, USGS will provide all ongoing development and user support for the desktop version of HEM. USGS maintains a backlog of identified bugs and suggested enhancements. Although the desktop version is considered to be stable at this point, there is an ongoing opportunity to suggest additional enhancements.

Current releases and support for HEM can be found at More>>

Development of a web version of HEM began in 2012. BLM and USGS once again have collaborated on this HEM project that has the following objectives: (1) To create a new version of the HEM Tools and to serve the tool functionality via web services to the HEM user community. (2) To provide sample client application that enables the user to click on a location , send coordinates and reach code, and return what is needed to create a HEM point or line event, (3) Instructions on how to incorporate the code into a user organization web site that consumes ArcGIS services (SOE), (4) Functionality to create HEM metadata. In-house developer and web support is required of benefitting organizations. The HEM web version is still in a development phase and individuals interested in testing this new functionality should contact Ariel Doumbouya (