The 3.4 million acres of the Rainwater Basin wetland complex in south-central Nebraska serves as critical stopover habitat for migratory birds in the central flyway. The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture contracted with a private company to acquire color-infrared aerial imagery of the Rainwater Basin wetland complex. Imagery acquisition occurred in March and again in August 2012. The March flights were part of a project, started in 2004, to inventory the amount of ponding that occurs in Rainwater Basin wetlands during spring migration. The August imagery was used in conjunction with NAIP imagery acquired in July 2012 to produce a hydrophyte vegetation map by analyzing vegetation at different stages of the growth cycle.
Researchers use these products to support conservation planning by quantifying the annual variability of wetland habitat and potential impacts of climate change.