Natural Resources Datasets

Federal Statistical and Resource Agencies along with universities produce a wide range of geospatial datasets characterizing the nation’s natural resources. Major data set themes include soils, water, climate, energy, and crop and forest production. This section provides links and descriptions to key data sources in these areas.

Key Data Sources
Department​​/Agency Data name URL Description
Department of Energy Wind Potential The U.S. Department of Energy provides an 80-meter high-resolution wind resource map for the United States with links to state wind maps. States, utilities, and wind energy developers use utility-scale wind resource maps to locate and quantify the wind resource, identifying potentially windy sites within a fairly large region and determining a potential site's economic and technical viability.
Department of Energy Natural Gas and Oil The Energy Information Agency of the Department of Energy provides maps of gas and oil in various formats. They also have maps of drilling history and natural gas proved reserves and production. Detailed field maps portray the locations, boundaries, names and quantity of the resource.
EPA Impaired Waters (303d), Beach Waters, and Water Quality Standards Water quality information to address public concerns such as: How healthy is my watershed? Can I drink the water? Can I eat the fish? Is it safe to swim in the water?
EPA EPA Data Finder (water, air, health, pollutants) This site contains data on Air Pollution, Air Quality, Climate Change, Drinking Water, Surface Waters, Watersheds, and much more
FEMA National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) Compilation of effective Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) databases (a collection of the digital data that are used in GIS systems for creating new Flood Insurance Rate Maps) and Letters of Map Change (Letters of Map Amendment and Letters of Map Revision only) that create a seamless GIS data layer for a State or Territory. It is updated on a monthly basis
FEMA Flood Map Viewer View areas at risk of floods in the United States and territories. Search by address, state or zip code or use advanced search options such as coordinates and map scales. View data from 2002 and earlier regarding earthquakes, hurricanes and other hazards.
Interior/BLM Bureau of Land Management data
Oil and Gas lease sale parcels, BLM National Mine Land Inventory for BLM Coal and Non-coal Abandoned Mines, BLM Lands and Administrative Areas, BLM National Monuments, Conservation Areas, and Wilderness Areas, BLM Range Allotments and Pastures, BLM Wild Horse and Burro Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas, BLM Solar Energy Study Areas, Public Land Survey System - PLSS (township, range, section, lots, surveys) - Downloadable
National Drought Mitigation Center Drought Monitor Drought Monitor, a synthesis of multiple indices and impacts, that represents a consensus of federal and academic scientists
NRCS/West Virginia University National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI) The National Commodity Crop Productivity Index (NCCPI) model is a national soil model.
Oregon State University Prism Climate Data (Temperature and Precipitation) PRISM is a unique knowledge-based system that uses point measurements of precipitation, temperature, and other climatic factors to produce continuous, digital grid estimates of monthly, yearly, and event-based climatic parameters.
USDA/ERS Natural Amenities Index Natural Amenities Drive Rural Population Change Climate, topography, and water area are highly related to rural county population change over the past 25 years. A natural amenities index, derived and discussed here, captures much of this relationship.
USDA/FS USFS Forest Inventory Analysis FIA reports on status and trends in forest area and location; in the species, size, and health of trees; in total tree growth, mortality, and removals by harvest; in wood production and utilization rates by various products; and in forest land ownership.
USDA/NRCS Soil Survey Geographic (SSURGO) Database, (also STATSGO and STASGO2) Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.
USDA/NASS CropScape CropScape is a geospatial data service which offers advanced tools such as interactive visualization, web- based data dissemination and geospatial queries and automated data delivery to systems such as Google Earth.
USDA/NRCS NRI (soil indicators)
The National Resources Inventory (NRI) is an inventory of land cover and use, soil erosion, prime farmland, wetlands, and other natural resource characteristics on non-Federal rural land in the United States. The NRI provides a record of the Nation's conservation accomplishments and future program needs.
USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) The National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) is the surface water component of The National Map. The NHD is a digital vector dataset used by geographic information systems (GIS). It contains features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, canals, dams and streamgages.
USGS National Elevation Database The National Elevation Dataset (NED) is the primary elevation data product of the USGS. The NED is a seamless dataset with the best available raster elevation data of the conterminous United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and territorial islands.
USGS Surface and Groundwater Database USGS data on the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground water.
USGS National Geologic Map Database
Your Geoscience resource for maps and related data about: geology, hazards, earth resources, geophysics, geochemistry, geochronology, paleontology, and marine geology.
USGS Streamflow, groundwater and aquifer data information needed to understand the Nation's water resources, and provides access to water data, publications, and maps, as well as to recent water projects and events
USGS Estimated Water Use Data Report details the quantity of water used such as for irrigation, public supply, domestic, livestock, aquaculture, and industrial.
USGS Mine and Mineral Processing Plant Locations
The locations of 1,879 coal mines and facilities, 8 uranium mines, and 1,965 mines and processing plants for 74 types of nonfuel minerals and materials are shown with symbols on both a large multicolored lithologic map and eight smaller maps. With the exception of certain commodities, such as gold, silver, gemstones, and coal, all mines and plants are shown for which production was reported or estimated in 1997
USGS National Water Quality Assessment The National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Regional and national assessments are possible because of a consistent study design and uniform methods of data collection and analysis.

Recommended Citation

Bailey, J., V. Breneman, K. Brewer, J. Cromartie, D. George, L. Hall, and A. Stanford. 2015. “Natural Resources Data.” Prepared for the Interagency Council on Agricultural and Rural Statistics, subcommittee of the Interagency Council on Statistical Policy.

ICARS Natural Resources Work Group Members:

Jeff Bailey, USDA–National Agricultural Statistics Service

Vince Breneman, USDA–Economic Research Service

Ken Brewer, USDA–Forest Service

John Cromartie, USDA–Economic Research Service

David George, USDA–Forest Service

Leroy Hall, USDA–Natural Resources Conservation Service

Aaron Stanford, USDA–Forest Service

ICARS (Interagency Council on Agricultural and Rural Statistics) activity helps identify, describe, and harmonize agricultural and rural data produced by the Federal Government. ICARS was formed in support of the “Global Strategy to Improve Agriculture and Rural Statistics,” which was developed under the United Nations Statistical Commission.