A characterization of the data, including its intended use and limitations.
Abstract: Ecoregions by state were extracted from the seamless national shapefile. Ecoregions denote areas of general similarity in ecosystems and in the type, quality, and quantity of environmental resources. They are designed to serve as a spatial framework for the research, assessment, management, and monitoring of ecosystems and ecosystem components. These general purpose regions are critical for structuring and implementing ecosystem management strategies across federal agencies, state agencies, and nongovernment organizations that are responsible for different types of resources within the same geographical areas. The approach used to compile this map is based on the premise that ecological regions can be identified through the analysis of patterns of biotic and abiotic phenomena, including geology, physiography, vegetation, climate, soils, land use, wildlife, and hydrology. The relative importance of each characteristic varies from one ecological region to another. A Roman numeral hierarchical scheme has been adopted for different levels for ecological regions. Level I is the coarsest level, dividing North America into 15 ecological regions. Level II divides the continent into 50 regions (Commission for Environmental Cooperation Working Group, 1997). At Level III, the continental United States contains 105 regions whereas the conterminous United States has 85 (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011). Level IV ecoregions are further subdivisions of Level III ecoregions. Methods used to define the ecoregions are explained in Omernik (1995, 2004), Omernik and others (2000), and Gallant and others (1989).
Commission for Environmental Cooperation Working Group, 1997, Ecological regions of North America- toward a common perspective: Montreal, Commission for Environmental Cooperation, 71 p.
Gallant, A. L., Whittier, T.R., Larsen, D.P., Omernik, J.M., and Hughes, R.M., 1989, Regionalization as a tool for managing environmental resources: Corvallis, Oregon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA/600/3-89/060, 152p.
Omernik, J.M., 1995, Ecoregions - a framework for environmental management, in Davis, W.S. and Simon, T.P., eds., Biological assessment and criteria-tools for water resource planning and decision making: Boca Raton, Florida, Lewis Publishers, p.49-62.
Omernik, J.M., Chapman, S.S., Lillie, R.A., and Dumke, R.T., 2000, Ecoregions of Wisconsin: Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, v. 88, p. 77-103.
Omernik, J.M., 2004, Perspectives on the nature and definitions of ecological regions: Environmental Management, v. 34, Supplement 1, p. s27-s38.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2011. Level III and IV ecoregions of the continental United States. U.S. EPA, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, Oregon, Map scale 1:3,000,000. Available online at: http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/ecoregions/level_iii_iv.htm
Comments and questions regarding Ecoregions should be addressed to Glenn Griffith, USGS, c/o US EPA., 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, (541)-754-4465, email:firstname.lastname@example.org Alternate: James Omernik, USGS, c/o US EPA, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, (541)-754-4458, email:email@example.com