Extent of available data.
The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI), originally developed for Minnesota during the 1980s, is being updated. 2011 spring imagery, LiDAR elevation data, and other ancillary data are being used to identify wetlands. Updates are available for the northeast, east-central, and southern parts of the state. These data are intended to replace the original NWI. The simplified Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) classification system emphasizes the geomorphic and hydrologic attributes of wetlands instead of focusing on biotic characteristics. Wetlands are highly valued for their ecological contributions They provide habitat for a variety of plants and animals and improve water quality. Minnesota's wetlands are also legally protected - any loss of wetlands in the state must be mitigated through an associated restoration project.