Our mapping projects help guide science, management, and stewardship in Hudson River waters and along its shores. We make dozens of free GIS data sets and mapping products available to researchers, managers, and members of the public to advance science and stewardship of the Hudson River and its habitats. Researchers and resources managers use our data for a range of purposes, including:

  • Assessing aquatic vegetation losses and identifying restoration sites
  • Tracking chemical contaminants in sediments
  • Studying ecological conditions
  • Investigating the habitat preferences of key species like the Atlantic sturgeon

Looking to conduct research in the Hudson River estuary? We can help. Check out our searchable library of research focus areas and related resources.

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Maps

These maps document the coverage of native submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and invasive Trapa natans  within the Hudson River Estuary. They assess:

1) current distribution and abundance;

2) status and trends of the habitat;

3) ecosystem function of SAV;

4) major threats and impacts to SAV

5) needed regulatory protection.

An additional mapping product combines multiple GIS layers to show areas where SAV currently exists, where it existed in the past, and where it may return in the future. Analysis of the imagery indicates that there are 1,800 fewer acres of SAV in 2020 than two decades ago.

Reserve Vegetation Maps

 These maps document 20 vegetation categories within the four Reserve component sites in 1991, 1997, and 2005. They were designed to document existing plant communities, and analyze changes in this composition and distribution over time.

Tidal Wetlands Maps

These were produced from the 2007 aerial photo inventory for the Hudson River Estuary from Troy to Hastings-on-Hudson. The goal was to assist in the review of river development plans by providing a comprehensive atlas of potential impact areas.

River Bottom Maps

The River Bottom Mapping Project was initiated in 1996 as part of the larger Hudson River Action Plan. It integrates extensive mapping with sidescan sonar, sub-bottom profiling, single and multi-beam bathymetric sonar with ground truth data from sediment cores, grab samples, and sediment profiling imagery. The goal is to create a comprehensive dataset with interpretive maps of the physical environment of the Estuary floor that can support activities related to wildlife management, sediment and contaminant management, and protection of historic resources.


  • Bell, R.E., Flood, R.D., Carbotte, S., Ryan, W.B.F., McHugh, C., Cormier, M., …Blair, E.A. (2006). Benthic habitat mapping in the Hudson River Estuary. In J. Levinton & J. Waldman (Eds.), The Hudson River Estuary (51-64). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Maher, N.P. (2006). A New Approach to Benthic Biotope Identification and Mapping (Doctoral dissertation). Marine Sciences Research Center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. 181 pp. (Copies can be obtained from Dissertation Express order #3258909)
  • Nitsche, F.O., Kenna, T.C., & Haberman, M. (2010). Quantifying 20th century deposition in complex estuarine environment: An example from the Hudson River. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 89, 163-174.
  • Strayer, D.L., Malcolm, M.M., Bell, R.E., Carbotte, S.M., & Nitsche, F.O. (2006). Using geophysical information to define benthic habitats in a large river. Freshwater Biology 51, 25–38.