In order to build a long-term monitoring programme of marine macrophytes in the back-barrier island lagoons along the seaside of Virginia's Eastern Shore, an accurate rendition of Ulva thalli spectral properties was required. These properties included the unknown thallus reflectance, transmittance, and absorption and their expected variability. To provide that information, methods were developed to determine the visible (VIS) to near-infrared (NIR) spectral properties of thalli and epiphytes of the green macrophyte Ulva curvata.
Ecosystems – Coastal
Developed from the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), the Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) will monitor coastal wetlands from a coastwide or basinwide approach. Where CWPPRA is a more project-specific evaluation, the CRMS method is broad in scope to address wetland assessment on a much larger scale.
Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic shoreline of New Jersey during several astronomical high tide cycles in late October 2012. The eastern seaboard is subject to sea-level rise and increased severity and frequency of storm events, prompting habitat and land use planning changes. The NWRC is conducting detailed mapping of marine and estuarine wetlands and deepwater habitats, including beaches and tidal flats, and upland land use and land cover, using specially acquired NOAA aerial imagery flown at 1-foot resolution. These efforts will assist the USFWS in mapping the barrier i
Storm-surge flooding and marsh dieback resulting from Hurricanes Gustav and Ike were mapped throughout coastal Louisiana by fusing radar and optical satellite image data. Subcanopy surge flooding was mapped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data obtained from C-band advanced SAR (ASAR) aboard the European Space Agency’s Environmental Satellite and phased array type L-band SAR (PALSAR) aboard Japan’s ALOS. Marsh dieback was mapped with optical data obtained from Landsat’s TM sensor.
Intertidal ecosystems are valued for their biodiversity, traditional foods, cultural significance, and recreational and educational opportunities. To protect and manage the intertidal zone’s multiple values, Tribes, land managers, and coastal communities need to be able to anticipate the effects of sea-level rise on these complex systems. In the Pacific Northwest, rocky intertidal systems are characterized by high structural complexity and diverse invertebrate communities structured largely by fine-scale differences in elevation relative to tidal range.
The study goal is to document the damage and response of coastal ecosystems, including wetland and maritime forests, marshes, and submerged aquatic vegetation, to Hurricane Sandy. In reaching that goal, we will produce maps and remote sensing technologies for identifying those coastal resources that are most vulnerable to degradation and propose methods for resource management mitigation before irreparable loss.
The successful use of remote sensing for mapping marine macrophytes is based on maximizing their spectral contrast within their surroundings. To maximize the contrast, remote sensing mapping techniques must be calibrated with accurate and reproducible reflectance spectra of the macrophyte. However, when the macrophyte occurs as thin leaf (thalli) layered units, the ability to obtain accurate and reproducible reflectance spectra is complicated.
During summer 2013, the USGS, Louisiana State University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Coastal and Nongame Resources Division jointly completed an aerial survey to collect data on Louisiana 2013 vegetation types in coastal Louisiana. Plant species were listed and their abundance classified. On the basis of species composition and abundance, each marsh sampling station was assigned a marsh type: fresh, intermediate, brackish, or saline (saltwater) marsh.
Ecosystems – Wetlands
In response to accelerated wetland loss in Louisiana, two State laws were passed: Act 6 of the 2nd Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana State Legislature in 1989 and the CWPPRA of 1990.
The USGS National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC) located in Lafayette, Louisiana, is using remote sensing analyses to assess the impact of Hurricane Sandy on wetland areas by using before and after image data of coastal New Jersey. Radar data from TerraSAR-X and COSMO X-band collected before and after the storm will be used to produce a series of surge extent maps. These radar-based maps will document the extent of elevated salinity surge flooding and define the duration of the surge, which is critical for assessment of wetland resource damage.