As part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), this project is mapping vegetation comunities in Everglades National Park and parts of Big Cypress National Preserve via collaboration among multiple entities: the NPS South Florida/Caribbean Network (NPS SFCN), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The goal is to provide researchers and resource managers with spatially and thematically accurate maps of the spatial extent, pattern, and proportion of plant communities within the Greater Everglades prior to restoration activities. Approximately 40% of the 9,700 km2 that make up the Greater Everglades has already been mapped; this project will complete the remaining extent.
The project employs a grid-based mapping approach as opposed to the traditional vector-based approach. A 50 x 50 m grid network is superimposed over stereoscopic color-infrared aerial imagery on a 3D photogrammetric work station, and photo-interpreters identify the dominant vegetation community in each cell based on spectral signatures and extensive ground-truth data. Plant communitiy classes are assigned according to the Vegetation Classification System for South Florida Natural Areas. Concurrent accuracy assessments ensure an accurate and spatially complete product.
Mapping is currently underway, with the first deliverable expected in 2016 and subsequent deliverables each year thereafter. Project completion is projected for September 2019. The final map will provide resource managers and policy makers with a tool for park management and conservation as well as a means to assess CERP restoration success. This project receives support from the NPS Vegetation Mapping Program and the USACE Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) Restoration Coordination and Verification (RECOVER) Assessment and Monitoring Program.
Everglades and Big Cypress mapping project within the Greater Everglades CERP footprint.
Photo-interpreter mapping on a 3D photogrammetric work station.