I have a polygon layer of watershed boundaries

And a single multipart feature that contains all public lands for the state.

I need to find the area of public lands within each watershed and add it as a field to each of the watershed polygons.

Tan is public lands, blue is watersheds

For example, for the Black river, I just want the area of public lands (tan) that is contained within the polygon.

I assumed I would use a spatial join from this, but I can't figure out how to get the area within each watershed as opposed to the area of the giant multipart public land feature.


The only geoprocessing tools you need for that is Intersect (Analysis toolbox) and Join Field (Data Management toolbox).

Run Intersect on the land use and watershed polygons which will result in the intersection of those two layers (your watershed layer will be clipped to the borders of your land use layer while having all the attributes preserved).

Then run the Join Field to join the source watersheds to the intersected one (which contains the area field you want to transfer to the source watersheds layer).

  • Great! If you will ever need to "explode" your multipart feature into multiple single ones, please use the resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//… (Multipart To Singlepart (Data Management) – Alex Tereshenkov Feb 23 '15 at 17:37
  • This doesn't work if you have multiple polygons overlapping a single polygon. Join Field only captures one of the values. – user44796 Apr 5 '18 at 16:44

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