The USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is investigating least tern and piping plover habitats in terms of the dynamics of land cover and emergent sandbars on the Garrison, Fort Randall, Lewis and Clark Lake, and Gavins Point segments of the Missouri River. Remotely sensed, submeter resolution images from sensors including WorldView-2 and GeoEye, and 6-m resolution RapidEye images are acquired multiple times each year. Land cover and emergent sandbars are mapped using a prototype knowledge- and object-based image analysis model developed for the Missouri River. Investigations include the dynamics of plant succession on sandbars, fluvial erosion of sandbars, sandbar area variability related to discharge, and spatial and temporal distribution of sandbars. Information about habitat dynamics is used in an adaptive management program and investigations of least tern and piping plover population dynamics.
Gavins Point segment of the Missouri National Recreational River upstream of National Park Service Mulberry Bend Overlook. On the left is a color infrared orthophoto acquired on May 4, 1998, at a discharge rate of 26,000 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) following the 1997 flood. On the right is a color infrared GeoEye image acquired on November 28, 2011, at a discharge rate of 40,500 ft3/s after the 2011 flood.