The benthic cover data provide an inventory of nearshore aquatic habitats with a focus on living resources. Benthic-cover vector data sets capture the location, extent, general character, and spatial relationships of biological communities in shallow nearshore areas. These data were developed to support resource inventory activities and change detection efforts and can help in conservation planning, marine protected-area siting, and environmental monitoring.
Notes and Limitations: Benthic habitat vector polygon data are normally intended for regional inventory purposes. Although the data may support site-specific investigations, users are encouraged to develop or obtain higher-detail data for this type of application if possible. Variation in environmental conditions between mapping efforts can affect the ability to use these data for change detection purposes. Users should understand the project area when conducting this type of analysis. No habitat information may be available for deep or turbid waters (optical imagery) or very shallow waters (acoustic imagery).