Developing Lidar Elevation Data for the Upper Mississippi River System

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The USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC), La Crosse, Wisconsin, is working with the USACE to create and distribute lidar data for the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) floodplain; the Mississippi River between Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Cairo, Illinois; and the full length of the Illinois River.  UMESC has received lidar for approximately 95% of the UMRS.  The lidar data were collected by the USACE, the State of Iowa, and the State of Minnesota, with funding assistance from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  UMESC has been processing the raw lidar data to elevation datasets for use in geospatial analysis projects.  In areas where high-resolution bathymetry (i.e., water depth) data are available, the lidar data are merged with bathymetry data to produce continuous elevation surfaces.  These data are used by the USACE, USFWS, State agencies, universities, and others to predict river flows, water-level inundation boundaries, and runoff at various river levels; design and evaluate habitat projects; assess floodplain forest height and densities; and analyze connectivity.  All lidar derivatives generated for this project are available from UMESC’s Web site.

Author Name
Jennifer Dieck and John (JC) Nelson
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