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July 22, 2013
In Reply Refer To:
6270/7000 (280) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2013-166
Expires: 09/30/2014
To:                   All Field Office Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:            The Bureau of Land Management Stewardship of the National Hydrography Dataset and the Watershed Boundary Dataset
Program Area: Water Resources (Soil, Water, and Air), Fisheries, Riparian, Wildlife
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides direction regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) use and stewardship of the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and the Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD). These datasets support the fish, wildlife, riparian and water resources programs and provide the geospatial themes for many programs throughout the BLM to collect, store, and use their data. 
Policy/Action: This IM reiterates direction provided in IM 2009-212. It provides the following ongoing direction to BLM state and field offices:
1) Adopt the NHD and WBD as their authoritative data sources for high resolution (1:24,000) Geographic Information Systems (GIS) hydrography data. 
2) Proactively participate in NHD and WBD stewardship programs, established within their states, whereby the BLM contributes updates and improvements to these national framework datasets that are managed nationally by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 
To maintain currency with the national repositories for the NHD and WBD datasets, the direction is summarized as follows: 
  • State and field offices will, on a yearly basis, download the most current NHD and WBD datasets from the USGS during the month of January and incorporate this data into their internal data holdings to support GIS analysis and map production. State and field offices may download the datasets more often as needed to meet their BLM business needs.
  • State and field offices will maintain a copy of the previous year NHD and WBD datasets either locally on their data servers or as an offline copy in a recoverable archival format.
  • Where BLM offices must use modified hydrography (non-NHD) data to meet an immediate project need, said offices will identify a mechanism to capture, properly attribute, and retain all BLM hydrography changes.  The BLM offices will submit these changes to the NHD through stewardship processes established within their state.
  • The BLM state data steward for hydrography will make contact with their state’s USGS geospatial liaison in order to remain current with NHD and WBD issues, enhance working relationships between cooperating agencies, and collaborate on stewardship of the NHD and WBD within their state.
  • The BLM Washington Office Water Program Lead will coordinate nationally with cooperating agencies to facilitate improved working relationships. 
Continued implementation of the stewardship program for the NHD and WBD has the following objectives: 
  • Ensures that the BLM’s hydrography and hydrologic boundary datasets are of sufficient quality and consistency to meet BLM planning and other business needs.
  • Ensures that NHD and WBD do not become dated or fragmented (localized editions) and are available to all users at all levels in the BLM and by outside stakeholders (e.g., Native, State, and environmental users).
  • Minimizes redundant data development in order to reduce long term costs.
  • Encourages all organizational levels within the BLM to establish key relationships that support stewardship including the following:  USGS Geospatial Liaison, USGS NHD and WBD Technical Points of Contact, USGS Water Community of Use, and other key stewardship partners within their states. See key contacts listed on USGS site: http://webhosts.cr.usgs.gov/steward/. 
Descriptions for the NHD and WBD and available data downloads can be located at the following website: http://nhd.usgs.gov/.
Timeframe: The policy contained in this IM is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: There is no budget impact on the downloading and use of the NHD and WBD datasets as this is a regular expectation for data gathering and use. Archival requirements should have a minimal impact on the budget. Budget impact may vary depending on the extent of the effort to improve both the NHD and WBD. States will need to determine their own needs, priorities, timeframe and budget commitment for improving both datasets.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: Coordinated with Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO210); Forest, Rangeland, Riparian, and Plant Conservation (WO220); Fish and Wildlife Conservation (WO230); and Environmental Quality and Protection (WO280).
Contact: Questions regarding the NHD and WBD stewardship with the BLM can be referred to Dan Wickwire at the Oregon State Office at (503) 808-6272 or Lee Koss at the Washington Office (202) 912-7139. 
Signed by:                                                        Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                            Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                             Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
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Last updated: 07-30-2013