The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) updates its national land cover and land change information every five years. NOAA recently released data on coastal intertidal areas, wetlands, and adjacent uplands gathered from 2010 to 2011 in U.S. coastal regions. The new data currently is available for California, Oregon, and Washington — areas that drain into the Pacific Ocean. These maps can help with planning and decision-making related to stormwater and wetland conservation.

In May, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also released new national maps of soil chemical elements and minerals. The maps and datasets can help answer questions about how soil may be related to certain water quality parameters. According to USGS, “This new study provides a more complete understanding of natural variability for the nation’s soils than has ever been available.” The study opens the door to many future research opportunities.

The maps are based on the efforts of about 40 people who collected more than 14,000 soil samples from more than 4,800 sites across the U.S. between 2007 and 2010. Scientists analyzed the samples for 45 elements and major minerals. Read more.