Slide Menu
Search Help Show/Hide Menu
Short Citation:
Office of Response and Restoration, 2023: Alabama ESI: HABITATS (Habitat Polygons),

Item Identification

Title: Alabama ESI: HABITATS (Habitat Polygons)
Short Name: Alabama_habitats
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2007-10

This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and rare plants in Alabama. Vector polygons in this data set represent SAV and rare plant distribution. Species-specific abundance, seasonality, status, life history, and source information are stored in relational data tables (described below) designed to be used in conjunction with this spatial data layer.This data set comprises a portion of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) data for Alabama. ESI data characterize the marine and coastal environments and wildlife by their sensitivity to spilled oil. The ESI data include information for three main components: shoreline habitats, sensitive biological resources, and human-use resources.


The ESI data were collected, mapped, and digitized to provide environmental data for oil spill planning and response. The Clean Water Act with amendments by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires response plans for immediate and effective protection of sensitive resources.



Other Citation Details:

Prepared by Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Emergency Response Division (formerly Hazardous Materials Response Division), Seattle, Washington and Assessment and Restoration Division, Silver Spring, Maryland; Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Incident Management and Preparedness, Washington, D.C.; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Nonpoint Source and Wetlands Planning Section, Atlanta, Georgia.

Supplemental Information:

Resource Description - ESI Atlas for Alabama


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category
NOS Data Explorer Topic Category Environmental Monitoring
None Coastal resources
None Coastal Zone Management
None ESI
None Habitats
None Oil spill planning
None Sensitivity maps
None Wildlife

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Alabama

Physical Location

Organization: Office of Response and Restoration
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
Entity Attribute Overview:

In addition to the geographic data layers, six relational attribute or data tables, BIORES, BREED, SEASONAL, SOURCES, SPECIES, and STATUS, are used to store the complex biological data in the ESI data structure. The geographic data layer containing biological resource information (in this case, HABITATS) is linked to the Biological Resources table (BIORES) using the unique ID and the lookup table BIO_LUT, or it can be linked directly using RARNUM. The ID is a unique combination of the atlas number (for the Alabama atlas, the number is 231), an element/layer specific number (BIRDS are layer 1, FISH are layer 2, etc.), and a unique record number. The RARNUM represents a unique combination of species, seasonalities, concentrations, and source information. For each of these groupings, a number is generated. That number is concatenated with the atlas number to create a "resource at risk" number that is unique across atlases. BIORES and the other relational data tables are described below in detail. See the Browse_Graphic section for a link to the entity-relationship diagram, which describes the way these tables relate to the geographic data layers and other attribute tables in the ESI data structure.Due to the complexity of the relational database model, the data items are also post-processed into a flat file format. This table, called BIOFILE, may be used in place of the relational files described below to ease simple data queries. The items in the flat file are ELEMENT, SUBELEMENT, NAME, GEN_SPEC, S, F, NHP, DATE_PUB, CONC, JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC, BREED1, BREED2, BREED3, BREED4, BREED5, RARNUM, G_SOURCE, S_SOURCE, and BREED. All of these items are the same as their counterparts in the individual data tables described below, except the BREED1-BREED5 and BREED items. BREED is a newly generated variable used to link to the BREED_DT data table, a modified, more compact version of the relational BREED data table. BREED1-BREED5 give a text summary of when each life stage occurs within the associated map object. The life stages referred to are the same as those listed in the Detailed_Description of the BREED data table. The link to the BIOFILE may be made through the BIO_LUT, using ID to link to RARNUM, or BIOFILE may be linked directly to the RARNUM in each of the geographic layer's attribute data tables. As mentioned, BREED_DT is an auxiliary support data table to the flat file structure, which allows the user to do searches based on month for seasonal breeding activities. The link from the flat file to BREED_DT is the BREED item.A second supporting data table is SOURCES. This is the same as the source file described above, and the link from the flat file is both G_SOURCE and S_SOURCE. It should be noted that although the flat file eases data query, it is not a normalized database structure, and actual updates performed by the states and other responsible agencies should be done using the relational data tables. The entity-relationship diagram, describing relationships between attribute tables in the ESI data structure, does NOT include the BIOFILE data table, and this data table is NOT described in detail below.

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:


Distribution Liability:

Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. NOAA warrants the delivery of this product in computer-readable format, and will offer a replacement copy of the product when the product is determined unreadable by computer-input peripherals, or when the physical medium is delivered in damaged condition.

Data Set Credit: This project was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Emergency Response Division (formerly Hazardous Materials Response Division), Seattle, Washington and Assessment and Restoration Division, Silver Spring, Maryland; Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, Office of Incident Management and Preparedness, Washington, D.C.; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Nonpoint Source and Wetlands Planning Section, Atlanta, Georgia.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 503528
Date Effective From: 2007-10
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


CC ID: 503530
Date Effective From: 2007-10
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 503531
Date Effective From: 2007-10
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Point of Contact

CC ID: 503529
Date Effective From: 2007-10
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: The biological data were compiled during 2006-2007. The currentness dates for the data range from 2002 to 2006 and are documented in the Lineage section.

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 503534
W° Bound: -88.5
E° Bound: -87.375
N° Bound: 30.875
S° Bound: 30.125

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 503533
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2002
End: 2006

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 588042
Complex Object Present?: Yes
Complex Object Count: 1271
Curve Object Present?: Yes
Curve Object Count: 53688
Point Object Present?: Yes
Point Object Count: 1271
Surface Object Present?: Yes
Surface Object Count: 1253

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

Contact NOAA for distribution options (see Distributor). ESI data are processed into multiple formats to make them useful to the widest community of GIS/mapping users. Distribution formats include Access Personal Geodatabase, ARC export files, Shape files, and MARPLOT map folders. An ArcMap .mxd file, an ArcView 3.x ESI project, and an ESI_Viewer product for use with the MARPLOT data are also included on the distribution DVDs for ease of use of the ESI data. The database files are distributed both in the NOAA standard relational database format (see NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA 115) and in a simplified desktop flat file format. This metadata document includes information on both of these database formats.;

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

DO NOT USE MAPS FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.Besides the above warning, there are no use constraints on these data. Note that the ESI database should not be used to the exclusion of other pertinent data or information held by state or federal agencies or other organizations. Likewise, information contained in the database cannot be used in place of consultations with environmental, natural resource, and cultural resource agencies, or in place of field surveys. Recognize that the information contained in the ESI database represents known concentration areas or occurrences of natural, cultural, and human-use resources, but does not necessarily represent the full distribution or range of each species or resource. This is particularly important to recognize when considering potential impacts to protected resources, such as endangered species, wetlands, etc. Acknowledgment of the originators, publishers, contributors, and sources listed would be appreciated in products derived from these data.



CC ID: 503526
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 503547
Activity Date/Time: 2015-07-06

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 503546
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

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

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 588040
Activity Date/Time: 2017-09-13

Partial upload of Spatial Info section only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 602381
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-01

Replaced entire Lineage section to populate new Source Contribution field.

Activity Log 5

CC ID: 719025
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Technical Environment


The software packages used to develop the atlas are Environmental Systems Research Institute's ARC/INFO(r) (version 9.2) and SQL SERVER(r) (version 2000). The hardware configuration is PCs with Windows Operating System (2000/XP/2003).The Spatial_Data_Organization Information section refers only to the source files in the ARC export format. The following files are included in that data set: birds.e00, esi.e00, fish.e00, habitats.e00, hydro.e00, index.e00, invert.e00, m_mammal.e00, mgt.e00, reptiles.e00, socecon.e00, t_mammal.e00. Associated relational and desktop data tables provided in Arc export and text format are bio_lut, biofile, biores, breed, breed_dt, seasonal, soc_dat, soc_lut, sources, species, and status.

Data Quality


A multi-stage error checking process is used to verify both attribute accuracy and logical consistency throughout data production. The process includes a standardized data entry methodology, hardcopy data review by in-house and external resource experts, a final Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) process, and multiple automated logical consistency checks. Quantitative data (such as densities, counts, abundances, or concentrations) provided by resource experts for inclusion in the data set may vary widely in attribute accuracy, depending upon the methodology used to collect and compile such data. For a more detailed evaluation of source data attribute accuracy, contact the sources listed in the Lineage section.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Spatial components for the biological data layers can come from expert interviews, hardcopy, or digital sources. Some of the spatial components of the biological data layers may have been developed using regional experts who estimate concentration areas. It is difficult to estimate the positional accuracy of such data, except to state that they are compiled on hardcopy base maps with a scale of 1:24,000. Some of the spatial components of the biological data sets are developed from pre-existing digital or hardcopy sources and reflect the positional accuracy of these original data. See the Lineage and Process_Description sections for more information on the original data source and how these data were integrated or manipulated to create the final data set. Note that biological resource data by their very nature are considered "fuzzy," and this should be understood when considering the positional accuracy of vector digital objects representing these resources.

Completeness Report:

These data represent a synthesis of digital data provided by USGS/Mobile Bay National Estuary Program and Alabama Natural Heritage Program on submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and rare plant distribution. These data do not necessarily represent all habitats occurrences in Alabama. The following species are included in this data set: (Species_ID, Common Name, Scientific Name [n/a if not applicable]): 144, Carolina lilaeopsis, Lilaeopsis carolinensis; 146, Yellow fringeless orchid, Platanthera integra; 149, Chaffseed, Schwalbea americana; 195, Snowy orchis, Platanthera nivea; 211, Southern three-awned grass, Aristida simpliciflora; 223, Tiny-leaved buckthorn, Sageretia minutiflora; 224, Green-fly orchid, Epidendrum conopseum; 248, Spoon-flower, Peltandra sagittifolia; 609, Submerged aquatic vegetation, n/a; 648, Swamp cottonwood, Populus heterophylla; 663, Beaked spikerush, Eleocharis rostellata; 764, Swollen bladderwort, Utricularia inflata; 786, Leafless false-foxglove, Agalinis aphylla; 787, Thin-stemmed false-foxglove, Agalinis filicaulis; 788, Flax-leaf false-foxglove, Agalinis linifolia; 789, Beardgrass, Andropogon capillipes; 790, Sweetflag, Acorus calamus; 791, Incised groovebur, Agrimonia incisa; 792, Nodding nixie, Apteria aphylla; 793, Broad-leaf signalgrass, Urochloa platyphylla; 794, Bluethreads, Burmannia capitata; 795, Bearded grass-pink, Calopogon barbatus; 796, Many-flowered grass-pink, Calopogon multiflorus; 797, Bandana-of-the-everglades, Canna flaccida; 798, Walter's sedge, Carex striata; 799, Shiny spikegrass, Chasmanthium nitidum; 800, Godfrey's golden-aster, Chrysopsis godfreyi; 801, Twig rush, Cladium mariscoides; 802, Lattice jointgrass, Coelorachis tessellata; 803, Southeastern tickseed, Coreopsis gladiata; 804, Georgia tickseed, Coreopsis nudata; 805, Texas pipewort, Eriocaulon texense; 806, Chapman aster, Eurybia chapmanii; 807, Loblolly bay, Gordonia lasianthus; 808, Michaux orchid, Habenaria quinqueseta; 809, Spring sneezeweed, Helenium vernale; 810, Coastal-sand frostweed, Helianthemum arenicola; 811, Brilliant hibiscus, Hibiscus coccineus; 812, Atlantic St. John's-wort, Hypericum reductum; 813, Serviceberry holly, Ilex amelanchier; 814, Pineland bogbutton, Lachnocaulon digynum; 815, Panhandle lily, Lilium iridollae; 816, Bog spicebush, Lindera subcoriacea; 817, Flax, Linum macrocarpum; 818, Christmas berry, Lycium carolinianum; 819, Nodding clubmoss, Lycopodiella cernua var. cernua; 820, Flame flower, Macranthera flammea; 821, Naked-stemmed panic grass, Dichanthelium dichotomum; 822, Climbing fetter-bush, Pieris phillyreifolia; 823, Chapman's butterwort, Pinguicula planifolia; 824, Sand pine, Pinus clausa; 825, Large white fringed orchid, Platanthera blephariglottis var. conspicua; 826, Southern rein orchid, Platanthera flava var. flava; 827, Rush false-asphodel, Pleea tenuifolia; 828, Slenderleaf clammy-weed, Polanisia tenuifolia; 829, Crenate milkwort, Polygala crenata; 830, Large-leaved jointweed, Polygonella macrophylla; 831, Shadow-witch orchid, Ponthieva racemosa; 832, Florida pondweed, Potamogeton floridanus; 833, Crestless eulophia, Pteroglossaspis ecristata; 834, Eastern bishop-weed, Ptilimnium costatum; 835, Bottomland-post oak, Quercus similis; 836, Hairy-peduncled beakrush, Rhynchospora crinipes; 837, Southern white beak rush, Rhynchospora macra; 838, Brown beakrush, Rhynchospora pleiantha; 839, Tracy's beak rush, Rhynchospora tracyi; 840, Night-flowering wild-petunia, Ruellia noctiflora; 841, Gulf spike-moss, Selaginella ludoviciana; 842, Swamp buckthorn, Sideroxylon thornei; 843, Giant spiral ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes longilabris; 844, Powdery thalia, Thalia dealbata; 845, Harper's yellow-eyed grass, Xyris scabrifolia.

Conceptual Consistency:

A multi-stage error checking process, described in the above Attribute_Accuracy_Report, is used to verify both attribute accuracy and logical consistency throughout data production. This process includes multiple automated logical consistency checks that test the files for missing or duplicate data, rules for proper coding, GIS topological consistencies (such as dangles, unnecessary nodes, etc.), and SQL SERVER(r) to ARC/INFO(r) consistencies. A final review is made by the GIS manager, where the data are written to CD-ROM and the metadata are written.After the data are delivered to NOAA, they are again subjected to a number of quality and consistency checks. In the process of checking for topological and database consistencies, new IDs and RARNUMs or HUNUMs are also generated. The new IDs are a combination of atlas number, element number, and record number. In addition, the value used to represent the element is modified to reflect the type of feature being mapped. In the case of an element that is normally represented by a point or polygon, a value of 20 is added to the standard element value for mapping of linear features. In the case where an element usually mapped as a polygon is represented by a point, a value of 30 is added to the regular element value. The RARNUMs are also modified to include the atlas number, so multiple atlases can be combined and RARNUMs remain unique. RARNUMs are redefined on an element basis, so "resource at risk" groupings will contain only a single element. HUNUMs are also modified to include the atlas number.




CC ID: 602383
Publish Date: 2005-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2002
Scale Denominator: 24000
Source Contribution:

HABITAT INFORMATION | Source Geospatial Form: vector digital data | Type of Source Media: online


CC ID: 602382
Publish Date: 2006-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2006
Source Contribution:

HABITAT INFORMATION | Source Geospatial Form: vector digital data | Type of Source Media: EMAIL

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 602384

Two digital data sets were used to depict habitat distribution and seasonality for this data layer: (1) a submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) data layer provided by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (NEP), and (2) Alabama Natural Heritage Program Element Occurrence Data for Rare and Endangered Species in Alabama.The above digital and/or hardcopy sources were compiled by the project biologist to create the HABITATS data layer. Depending on the type of source data, three general approaches are used for compiling a biology data layer: (1) information gathered during initial interviews and from hardcopy sources are compiled onto U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000 topographic quadrangles and digitized; (2) hardcopy maps are digitized at their source scale; and/or (3) digital data layers are evaluated and used "as is" or integrated with the hardcopy data sources. See the Lineage section for additional information on the type of source data for this data layer. The compiled ESI, biology, and human-use data are plotted onto hardcopy draft maps. Following the delivery of draft maps to the participating resource experts, a second set of interviews is conducted to review the maps. If necessary, edits to the HABITATS data layer are made based on the recommendations of the resource experts, and final hardcopy maps and digital data are created.

Process Date/Time: 2007-08-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity BIO_LUT
Entity BREED

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 40201
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:40201
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 14:50+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:09+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-02-08
Owner Org: ORR
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-02-08
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-02-08