An Enhanced Hydrologic Stream Network Based on the NHDPlus Medium Resolution Dataset

Scientific Investigations Report 2019-5127
By: , and 



The National Hydrography Dataset Plus, Version 2.1 (NHDPlusV2.1) is an attribute-rich digital stream network for the conterminous United States, serving as a foundational infrastructure for reporting hydrologic information at both regional and national scales. SPAtially Referenced Regressions On Watershed attributes (SPARROW) is a process-based statistical model that relies on a digital hydrologic network like NHDPlusV2.1 to establish spatial relations between quantities of monitored contaminant loads and contaminant sources, accounting for the physical characteristics along flow paths affecting contaminant transport. The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment project adopted and modified the medium-resolution NHDPlusV2.1 network for use as the primary framework supporting SPARROW modeling. This report describes the enhancements made to improve the routing capabilities and the value-added attributes of NHDPlusV2.1 to support modeling and other hydrologic analyses. These enhancements include corrections to inconsistencies in network/routing information, filling in missing attribute values of associated characteristics, accounting of water use affecting flow, new variables useful for interpreting network data, revised flowline attributes such as slope and flow, and incorporation of ancillary spatial data into the network. The resulting dataset containing the enhancements to the network is named E2NHDPlusV2_US. Although the enhancements described in the report were developed for use in SPARROW modeling, the enhancements are expected to be useful for a wide variety of hydrologic studies within the United States.

Suggested Citation

Brakebill, J.W., Schwarz, G.E., and Wieczorek, M.E., 2020, An enhanced hydrologic stream network based on the NHDPlus medium resolution dataset: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5127, 49 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Material and Methods
  • Validation
  • Summary and Conclusions
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Description of Addition and Removal Events Spreadsheet
  • Appendix 2. Description of Methods Used to Update Streamflow Estimates
  • Appendix 3. Description of Methods Used to Update Slope Estimates
  • Appendix 4. Description of Attributes in E2NHDPlusV2_us
  • Appendix 5. Description of Selected Ancillary Geospatial Dataset Variables Assigned to the Catchments and Flowlines of NHDPlusV2.1
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title An enhanced hydrologic stream network based on the NHDPlus medium resolution dataset
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2019-5127
DOI 10.3133/sir20195127
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) WMA - Earth System Processes Division
Description Report: vii, 49 p.; Data Release
Country United States
Other Geospatial Conterminous United States
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details