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Welcome to our portal for interactive internet-based GIS maps.  Here you can find both useful information for your own Bear Creek visit and tools for evaluating riparian buffer suitability.  Users should acknowledge that not all information contained in these maps can be completely accurate, and Iowa State University and the NREM riparian research group make no such claims.  For HELP with using the maps or to submit comments, please contact Joe Herring (


General Tips & Tools.  You don't have to be an expert to use the maps.  It will, however, take some time to become acquainted with the tools and functions before beginners become proficient with them.  Spend a little time learning what the tools do now and save yourself some frustration later.

Some helpful tips before you begin: 

toggle Toggle between legend and layer list.  Click here to see the map legend instead of the map layers (or vice versa).
toggle2 Toggle overview map.  Click here to get rid of the overview map (or bring it back).
zoom in Zoom in.  Either drag a box around the area or single click to move in at fixed intervals.  
zoom out Zoom out.  Single click to move out at fixed intervals.
zoom to active layer Zoom to active layer.  Clicking here will zoom you to the full extent of whichever layer is the "Active" layer (to check, toggle between your legend and layer list and see which layer has its radio button selected under the "Active" column.
zoom last Zoom to previous view.  Clicking here will automatically return you to the last zoom extent you were at.
pan Pan.  Use to grab hold of the map in a specific location and drag it to move around.  (Click and hold, drag mouse, release)
pan north Pan North.  Clicking this button moves your map area NORTH at a fixed distance.
Pan South.  Clicking this button moves your map area SOUTH at a fixed distance.
Pan West.  Clicking this button moves your map area WEST at a fixed distance.
Pan East.  Clicking this button moves your map area EAST at a fixed distance.
identify Identify.  Use this tool to click on various features, such as riparian buffer areas, to bring up attribute data for that feature.
Measure distances.  Click once, then move mouse along a line and double click to measure distance along that line.
Set units.  Click here to change the map units for using the measure tool (feet, miles, meters, or kilometers).
Identify/Select feature(s) by rectangle.  Choose this tool if you want to select (highlight) certain geometric features on the map (such as a riparian buffer area) and to bring up its attribute data.  To use, either single click or draw a rectangle box around the features you wish to select.
Identify/Select feature(s) by line/polygon.  This tool is similar to the one above, but allows you to select multiple features which might have odd boundaries by drawing a line or polygon around/inside those irregular boundaries.
Clear selection / hilighting.  Use to "clear" or undo your highlighted selection.
Print map.  This tool will set up a printable map layout associated with your current map detail and selections.


Bear Creek watershed --- Central Iowa, USA

Description: An interactive map of the Bear Creek watershed, which displays many layers of informative data including:

Take me to the Bear Creek GIS map

Crooked Creek, Otter Creek, and Long Branch watersheds --- Northeast Missouri, USA

Description:   A study was done in each of these three watersheds (all of which drain to Mark Twain Lake) to survey the extents of existing riparian forest buffers and to examine where at along streams new riparian buffers would have high potential to capture/trap NPS pollutants from surface runoff.  The maps are part of Joe Herring's 2005 M.S. Thesis and any questions/comments on their application and use should be directed to him (

Documentation:  For a one-page scientific briefing on what these websites contain, methods used, and modeling assumptions, click here.  For the "users guide" to the websites click here.

Take me to the Crooked Creek GIS map

Take me to the Otter Creek GIS map

Take me to the Long Branch GIS map

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