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). Literature cited: 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:email@example.com Alternate: James Omernik, USGS, c/o US EPA, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333, (541)-754-4458, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Ecoregion maps assist managers of aquatic and terrestrial resources to understand the regional patterns of the realistically attainable quality of these resources
Electronic versions of ecoregion maps and posters as well as other ecoregion resources are available at: http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/ecoregions.htm. Except for the Great Lakes, waterbodies were merged with surrounding ecoregion polygons, especially along coastlines. Ecoregions were digitized at 1:250,000 scale and are intended for large geographic extents (i.e. states, multiple counties, or river basins). Use for smaller areas, such as individual counties or a 1:24,000 scale map boundary, is not recommended.
200 S.W. 35th Street
Ecoregions are hierarchical, with Level IV being the most detailed and Level I defining the broadest classifications. Because of this hierarchy, Level IV features include appropriate codes and names for Levels III, II, and I. Likewise, Level III features contain Levels II and I, and Level II retains Level I information. Attributes pertaining to Level IV are only available for the Conterminous United States (US_). Level III has attributes for the US and North America (NA_) while Levels II and I apply to only North America. All features are identified by State and EPA Administrative Regions, as well. Fields ending with "KEY" combine ecoregion code and name attributes for convenient legends and are linked to style and layer files containing color definitions.
US Environmental Protection Agency
Internal feature number.
Code for Level IV Ecoregion (US
Name for Level IV Ecoregion (US)
Code for Level III Ecoregion (US)
Name for Level III Ecoregion (US)
Code for Level III Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Name for Level III Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Code for Level II Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Name for Level II Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Code for Level I Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Name for Level I Ecoregion (North America/CEC)
Name of State (US)
EPA Administrative Region
US Level IV Code and Name for Legend, color layer/style file
US Level III Code and Name for Legend, color layer/style file
NA Level II Code and Name for Legend, color layer/style file
NA Level I Code and Name for Legend, color layer/style file
Length of feature
Area of feature in internal units squared.
Although ecoregion polygons and attributes have been checked for accuracy, some errors may remain. Polygons along state borders were reviewed and updated, May 2010. ARC/INFO software is used to create and maintain topological relationships.
Data were collected using methods that have unknown accuracy (EPA National Geospatial Data Policy [NGDP] Accuracy Tier 10). For more information, please see EPA's NGDP at http://epa.gov/geospatial/policies.html
1) U.S.G.S. 1:250,000 topographic maps are used to delineate the ecoregions. The lines drawn are manually digitized or scanned to produce georeferenced electronic files.
2) All base maps are joined together and errors along the edges are resolved.
3) Topology is established and the maps are reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and conformity with the original lines. Corrections are made as needed and topology regenerated.
4) Attributes are added.
5) Maps are plotted for visual inspection by two individuals and necessary changes made.
6) Ecoregions from all available states are merged and dissolved to identify and correct inconsistencies.
7) Polygons of the corrected seamless ecoregion features are extended beyond the coastal borders.
8) State and Ecoregion datasets are intersected.
9) Topology errors removed.
10) Final QA
11) Select State from national geodatabase
13) Updated Arizona Level III and IV polygons and metadata
Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the Environmental Protection Agency, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy 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. It is also strongly recommended that careful attention be paid to the contents of the metadata file associated with these data to evaluate data set limitations, restrictions or intended use. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained herein.
200 S.W. 35th Street
200 S.W. 35th Street