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Roles and Responsibilities

PNWHF partners steward the NHD and WBD for Oregon and Washington within the context of the national programs led by USGS and NRCS. Terminology referring to stewardship roles has evolved over the past several years. The PNWHF adheres to the National Steward, State Steward, and Sub-Steward hierarchy for describing stewardship roles and responsibilities. There are slight differences between how these roles are applied to the NHD as compared to the WBD. See below for a description of these differences.

State Stewardship Roles

NHD Stewardship: The Washington Department of Ecology and the Oregon Water Resources Department review and approve all NHD updates for sub-steward state agencies within their respective states. The partnering federal agencies also exercise an internal review and approval process for stewardship activities within their organizations. All NHD updates within a state are coordinated, as needed, across jurisdictional boundaries. There is no single authoritative NHD State Steward for all state and federal jurisdictions in Oregon and Washington. Collectively, the lead state agencies and the regional offices for the federal partnering agencies form the NHD State Steward authority for Oregon and Washington. Approved NHD changes that create a need for a corresponding change in the WBD are conveyed to the WBD State Steward. More>>

WBD Stewardship: NRCS for each state serves as the WBD State Steward. All other PNWHF partnering state and federal agencies serve as Sub-Stewards. The need for updates generally originate within one of the Sub-Steward organizations but the NRCS serves as the authoritative WBD State Steward and is responsible for all content changes within the national repository at USGS. All WBD updates within the state are coordinated, as needed, across jurisdictional boundaries.

National Stewardship Role

The USGS and the NRCS collaborate to fulfill their national stewardship responsibilities for the integrated (NHD and WBD) National Hydrography Dataset. The USGS has primary stewardship responsibility for the NHD, and the USGS and NRCS share responsibility for the WBD. The USGS Technical Points of Contact (POCs), working in coordination with the NHD Project Manager, provide additional key support.

USGS Geospatial Liaisons

The role of the USGS Geospatial Liaison is evolving. A number of Liaisons, from across the nation, have been designated to specifically support development and use of hydrography data. Sheri Schneider (, the Geospatial Liaison for Oregon, now has responsibility within USGS to support these activities in Oregon and Washington.