The USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) Downloadable Data Collection from The National Map (TNM) is a comprehensive set of digital spatial data that encodes information about naturally occurring and constructed bodies of surface water (lakes, ponds, and reservoirs), paths through which water flows (canals, ditches, streams, and rivers), and related entities such as point features (springs, wells, stream gages, and dams). The information encoded about these features includes classification and other characteristics, delineation, geographic name, position and related measures, a "reach code" through which other information can be related to the NHD, and the direction of water flow. The network of reach codes delineating water and transported material flow allows users to trace movement in upstream and downstream directions. In addition to this geographic information, the dataset contains metadata that supports the exchange of future updates and improvements to the data. The NHD supports many applications, such as making maps, geocoding observations, flow modeling, data maintenance, and stewardship. For additional information on NHD, go to https://nhd.usgs.gov/.
DWR is the steward for NHD and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD) in California. We work with other organizations to edit and improve NHD and WBD, using the business rules for California. This is a process that takes time with a State as large and diverse as California. California's NHD improvements are sent to USGS, and accessible from their website.