The California Aquatic Resources Inventory (CARI) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) dataset of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas consisting of polygon and line features that are standardized to a common wetland classification system.  This statewide dataset is hosted online through, a web application specifically designed to provide wetland information, at variable landscape scales, to environmental scientists, managers and planners in support of the State’s Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy (WRAPP). CARI consists of 2 feature classes: Wetlands (polygons) and Streams (lines).

EcoAtlas supports the State’s monitoring and assessment framework described in the State’s Five Year Coordinated Work Plan for Wetlands Conservation Program Development  (Rev. March 2014) and the Tenets of a State Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan  (WRAMP). The WRAMP framework employs the Federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) recommended three level monitoring and assessment framework for wetlands  of which the fist level includes characterizing the distribution and amount of wetlands in their landscape setting using a GIS. CARI is the statewide GIS dataset that supports the WRAPP. EcoAtlas aggregates statewide monitoring and assessment data to address the core management questions of “where are the wetlands and how are they doing?”

CARI was initiated in 2009 by the California Wetland Monitoring Workgroup (CWMW) with the goal of achieving an updateable, standardized, GIS dataset of aquatic resources in California that could be used by environmental managers, planners and the public to assess the distribution and amount of wetlands at variable landscape scales. EcoAtlas employs CARI to display the location of:

     • wetland projects (with links to detailed project information), 

     • rapid ecological condition assessments (based on the California Rapid Assessment Method [CRAM]), and

     • to summarize the diversity and amount of wetlands within a user defined area through the Landscape Profile tool.


The current version of CARI is a compilation of local, regional, and statewide aquatic resource GIS datasets into a standardized, seamless, statewide coverage of aquatic resources employing a common wetland classification system. See metadata attached to this GIS dataset for information on what datasets have been incorporated into this version of CARI. CARI can be viewed on Additional information regarding CARI standards and methods can be found in the CARI Standards and Mapping Methodology documentation. 


Data File Download (Size: 1.2GB)

Creation Date: 
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Last Updated: 
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Type of Data: 
GIS vector dataset
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Environmental Informatics Program
Geographic Information Systems
Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
Location Information
General Project Location(s): 
Data Availability
Please Cite This Dataset as: 

San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI). 2022. "California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) version 2.2." Accessed [date retrieved].

Terms of Use: 

This file is part of CARI.

CARI is free data: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

CARI is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

More information about GNU General Public License is available at SFEI data are available without restriction upon use with the following caveats. Prudent usage, knowledge of the data quality, and professional courtesy should all be considered in obtaining and using SFEI data. As this dataset is NOT a survey document, neither use it as such nor use it beyond the limits of the source scale. Please read and fully comprehend all available metadata prior to data use. SFEI requests that the use of these data in any map, publication, or report should include citation of the data source(s) used and give proper attribution and credit to the originators of the data. Questions about SFEI data may be directed to the SFEI GIS team at [email protected]