California Aquatic Resource Inventory

About CARI

The California Aquatic Resource Inventory, or CARI, is a standardized statewide map of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas. This Geographic Information System (GIS) dataset provides accurate and detailed information about wetland and riparian distribution and abundance for management, planning, and research of the State’s aquatic resources.

CARI was initiated by the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW) in order to provide distribution and abundance information for the State's wetlands and aquatic resources. It is part of a larger monitoring framework known as the Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan. Work on CARI to-date has been conducted with the guidance of a Technical Advisory Team. 

Pre-CARI mapping efforts for California contain varying levels of detail, vintages, coverage, and classifications, which makes comparisons of wetland presence across the state challenging. To improve wetland and riparian data in the state, CARI is produced using a standardized mapping approach developed by statewide experts and implemented regionally drawing on local knowledge. Examples of CARI mapping can be seen in the SF Bay Area, Lake Tahoe Basin (Upper Truckee River Watershed), and the Southern California Coast.

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The first iteration of California's statewide aquatic resource map [CARIv0] is a compilation of multiple data sources to produce seamless coverage. Datasets used in CARIv0 include the National Wetland Inventory (USFWS), National Hydrography Dataset (USGS), and regional intensified maps.

CARI Regional Mapping Efforts


 BAARI_extent.png Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory [BAARI]

BAARI uses CARI methods to map the aquatic resources in Bay Area watersheds. BAARI was completed in 2011 and is available for download. For more information contact

tahoe_basin.png Tahoe Aquatic Resources Inventory [TARI]

The California Tahoe Conservatory and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in partnership with SFEI and the Lahontan Regional Water Board piloted the CARI mapping methods in two Lake Tahoe Basin watersheds. Data will be available end of 2012.

 SoCalMap_QuadMap_Small_0.jpg Southern California Wetland Mapping Project

Southern California Coastal Research Watershed Project and CSU Northridge-Center for Geographical Studies are producing updated wetland, stream, and riparian maps for coastal watersheds in Southern California.

 6coARI_webviewer1_0.jpg Six County Aquatic Resource Inventory

The US Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento Division updated wetland and stream maps for the 6 county area (Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Yuba, and Sutter Counties) to support regulatory, planning, and management efforts in the area.

ripmodel1_0_0.jpg Riparian Areas Mapping Tool [RAMT]

RAMT is a GIS model that estimates the extent of existing riparian functional areas around streams and wetlands. The Tool uses readily accessible input data and the output is designed to generate landscape summaries to assist in landscape-level planning and management.