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NHD Medium Resolution

In the late 1990s, the USGS and the US EPA collaborated to produce the National Hydrography Dataset Medium Resolution, at 1:100,000 scale for the conterminous U.S. In the early 2000s, the US EPA assumed the role of primary custodian for the NHD Medium Resolution to support their applications and those of other medium resolution users, while the USGS, U.S. Forest Service, and additional partners initiated the production of the NHD High Resolution at 1:24,000 scale or better. More background regarding the development history of NHD and related datasets may be found in the document Making the Digital Water Flow: The Evolution of Geospatial Surfacewater Frameworks.

Today, the US EPA manages the maintenance and distribution of NHD Medium Resolution as part of the NHDPlus Version 2 suite of products, which can be downloaded from the EPA NHDPlus website as described below.


The NHD Medium Resolution may be downloaded in regional datasets in either shapefile or File Geodatabase formats. The map below will automatically redirect you to the EPA NHDPlus website.

  1. Select the data region of your choice by clicking on the map below or by selecting the name from the list below the map. This will take you to the download page for that data region on the EPA NHDPlus website.
  2. Once on the download page, scroll down to the file links at the bottom of the page and click on:
    1. The filename containing “NHDSnapshot” for NHD Medium Resolution in Shapefile format, or
    2. The filename containing “NHDSnapshot_FGDB” for NHD Medium Resolution in File GeoDatabase format. This format matches that of the current NHD High Resolution, and thus can be used with tools such as the Hydrography Event Management Tool.

Additionally, the NHD Medium Resolution is available in modified format in a seamless national File GeoDatabase. The seamless geodatabase and accompanying User Guide is available for download on the NHDPlus National Data webpage.

A map of the NHDPlus Version 2 vector processing units. 
Each unit contains a set of data.

List of areas by name


Documentation for medium resolution NHD is available in three documents:

NHD Concepts and Content

NHDPlusV2 User Guide

1:100,000-scale National Map Accuracy Standards

Some of the files on this page are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Acrobat Reader, free of charge.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 02-May-2017 17:32:51 EDT