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Short Citation:
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, 2024: USVI Land-Based Threat to Benthic Habitats,

Item Identification

Title: USVI Land-Based Threat to Benthic Habitats
Short Name: usvi_benthic_threat_metadata
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2006-01

This data set describes the potential threat of sediment delivery and land-based sources of pollution to benthic habitats. This dataset is derived from NOAA's study, the Benthic Habitats of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Benthic Habitats data is the result of a cooperative effort between NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), U.S. Geological Survey, National Park Service, and the National Geophysical Data Center, to produce benthic habitat maps and georeferenced imagery for Puerto Rico. This project was conducted in support of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force.


The purpose of this data set is to characterize land-based threats on coral reef ecosystems. This project was conducted in support of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. For more information see



Other Citation Details:

NOAA Summit-to-Sea Project


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None. Environmental Monitoring

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword

Physical Location

Organization: National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: vector digital data
Distribution Liability:

These data were prepared by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, make any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed in this report, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference therein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. Any views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Although all data have been used by NOAA, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA as to the accuracy of the data and/or related materials. The act of distribution shall not constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by NOAA in the use of these data or related materials.

Data Set Credit: Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, University of Puerto Rico, USGS, NPS, VI. Dept. Planning Natural Resources; Div. Fish and Wildlife, Univ. VI, Cons. Data Center, The Nature Conservancy, Sea Grant, and other local and regional experts for input and review.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 476325
Date Effective From: 2006-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:


CC ID: 476327
Date Effective From: 2006-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 476328
Date Effective From: 2006-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Point of Contact

CC ID: 476326
Date Effective From: 2006-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): NCCOS Scientific Data Coordinator
Email Address:

Principal Investigator

CC ID: 476329
Date Effective From: 2006-01
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Battista, Tim
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 476332
W° Bound: -65.088802
E° Bound: -64.43628
N° Bound: 18.417743
S° Bound: 17.633663

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 476331
Time Frame Type: Discrete
Start: 2000

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 585984
Complex Object Present?: Yes
Complex Object Count: 2395

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

please acknowledge the NOAA Summit-to-Sea project when using or publishing this data. The distribution of this data product by NOAA does not constitute any real or implied responsibility for its accuracy or usefulness. Map products should not be used for navigation.

Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 476333
Download URL:

Downloadable Data

File Type (Deprecated): shp
Distribution Format: Shapefile



CC ID: 476322
URL Type:
Online Resource


CC ID: 476323
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 476350
Activity Date/Time: 2013-07-02

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 476349
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

Converted from FGDC Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 585982
Activity Date/Time: 2017-09-13

Partial upload of Spatial Info section only.

Technical Environment


Microsoft Windows XP Version 5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 2; ESRI ArcCatalog

Data Quality

Completeness Report:


Conceptual Consistency:



Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 476319

Ground control points, camera calibration data, and USGS DTM data were used to orthorectify 500 dpi scans of the aerial photos using Socet Set Version 4.2.1. Orthorectified images were then loaded into ArcView 3.2 with the Image Analyst and Habitat Digitizer Extensions activated. This allowed the photointerpreter to interpret features, delineate and attribute benthic habitat directly into a digital reference system. The data were saved as ArcView estimate the potential threat to each polygon, the following methodology was employed:Step 1) The first step of the analysis involves estimating likely relative erosion rates for each 30 m resolution grid cell using a modified, simplified form of the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE) (USDA, 1989). Information on slope, land cover type, precipitation, and soil porosity were integrated to develop an indicator of relative erosion potential (REP) for all land areas within Puerto Rico. Inputs: (REP relies upon four input data sets, three of which were described under the analysis of vulnerability to erosion, above.) 4. Slope (percentage) - for each 30m grid cell, derived from the (raw) DEM (without hydrologic correction.)5. Relative erosion rate by land cover type. Relative erosion rates for each land cover type were calculated using a look-up table. Land cover categories from NASA Geocover-LC products covering Puerto Rico ( were reclassified to relative erosion rates, ranging from 15 (for forest) to 220 for barren land. (below) These relative erosion rates are based on published work involving conversion factors. 6.Precipitation during the peak rainfall month (in millimeters) - Long-term average monthly precipitation values for the peak rainfall month of the year is an interpolated grid based on data for climate stations from NOAA's National Climate Data Center (NCDC). This variable was chosen because it is more indicative of the rainy season and more extreme events during the year.7.Soil erodibility factor (K-ffactor) - the K-ffactor was obtained from the SSURGO database of the USDA.Land Cover Type, Grid Code, Relative Erosion RateDeciduous Forest, 1, 15Evergreen Forest, 2, 15Shrub/Scrub, 3, 50Grassland, 4, 125Barren, 5, 220Urban, 6, 210Agriculture, 7, 200Permanent Wetland, 9, 80Mangrove, 10, 80Water, 11, 5Cloud/No Data, 13, 0Equation 2:Relative Erosion Potential (REP) = Slope(%) x precip (mm for peak rainfall month) x soil k-ffactor x relative erosion rate for land cover type / 1000The grid is divided by 1000 and converted to integer for a better data range and easier display.The analysis was implemented in ESRI ArcView 3.2 software, using the map calculator function of Spatial Analyst, which is also available in ArcMap. The raster analysis was done at 30 m resolution in UTM projection (Zone 20N, WGS84.)Two indicators indicative of erosion within the watershed were calculated for each basin:mean REP for the basin (an indicator of average erosion rates for the basin) (REP_MEAN), and total relative erosion within the basin (REP_SUM).Step 2) An indicator of relative sediment delivery at the river mouth was estimated by multiplying total relative erosion in the basin (REP_SUM) by the sediment delivery ratio (SDR) for the basin, which is a function of watershed size. SDR reflects the percentage of erosion within the basin (REP_SUM) which reaches the river mouth. (continued...)

Process Date/Time: 2006-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 476320

(continued from above) Equation 3:Sediment Delivery Ratio (SDR) = 0.41 x basin area (in sq km)*-0.3. This factor comes from published research on watersheds in the Caribbean. Equation 4:Sediment delivery at the river mouth (SED_DELIV) = REP_SUM x SDR8. The point density tool (Spatial Analyst, ArcGIS) was then used to create a threat layer, using the sediment delivery at the outflow point as input, and a kernel radius of 5 km. 9. This threat layer was then averaged for every benthic habitat polygon (NOAA Benthic Habitats of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kendall et al., 2001) using a zonal function to determine the mean threat. Source used: (end continuation)

Process Date/Time: 2006-01-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity usvi_benthic_threat

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 39594
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:39594
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 12:53+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-10-17 16:12+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2017-09-13
Owner Org: NCCOS
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2017-09-13
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2018-09-13