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Land cover and vegetation maps are common products used by many refuges to portray current conditions.  A variety of remote sensing and geospatial layers may be used to derive these products.

Over the past year, the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has undertaken several land cover mapping efforts on National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs). The goal of these projects is to provide detailed, accurate land cover maps that will inform management decisions on the refuges.  The projects utilize a combination of image sources including National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial imagery as well as Quickbird, WorldView and ASTER satellite imagery depending on image quality and availability.  The refuges mapped in 2011 include Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Bitter Creek NWR, Blue Ridge NWR, Coachella Valley NWR, and portions of the Desert NWR.

As an example, the 2011 Land cover and Vegetation Map for Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County depicts ten vegetation classes derived (77 percent accuracy) from a multispectral classification of 2010 NAIP orthoimagery.  The classification was performed using eCognition software based on analysis of four spectral bands, NDVI, and texture.

Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge land cover map

Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge land cover map