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Waterfalls and Rapids in the Conterminous United States Linked to the National Hydrography Datasets V2.0


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Wieferich, D.J., Daniel, W.M., Procopio, J.M., and Morningstar, C.R., 2020, Waterfalls and Rapids in the Conterminous United States Linked to the National Hydrography Datasets V2.0: Geological Survey data release,


This GeoJSON dataset contains information about 10780 waterfall and 1080 rapid locations (referred to as falls throughout the metadata) and characteristics (e.g. type and height) for the conterminous United States. This dataset centralizes known information about falls while providing basic quality control (i.e. resolving duplicate records and spatial accuracy checks) and linkages to stream networks intended to facilitate stream network analyses. Locations of falls were sourced from the World Waterfall Database (WWD,, the US Forest Service Center for Aquatic Technology Transfer (acquired from Southeast Aquatic Barrier Inventory), and Geographic Names Information System (GNIS, [...]


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Knowing where falls occur in the stream network can help researchers better understand and model aquatic species distributions and species migration patterns. This dataset is intended to support national scale species distribution modeling efforts by documenting potential natural barriers to aquatic species' passage. More specifically, the locations are addressed to commonly used hydrography datasets to help facilitate linear network analyses. A full gradation of falls (rapids to sheer drops) were included to help document potential falls that may impede movement of any or all species. We hope to work with partners to continually improve upon and validate records within this dataset (both spatial and tabular information) and to further build understanding of falls and species movements affected by them. Examples of improvements could include field verifications of locations and characteristics, or use of algorithms to generate waterfall height estimates for the entire dataset. We recommend that users link value-added attributes to feature ids from this dataset to help facilitate improvements of the dataset through time. Please contact metadata contacts to further discuss ways to contribute.


Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.

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DOI doi:10.5066/P9QQTKA0

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