In the United States alone, there are currently over 100,000 miles of canal and levee embankments and approximately 79,000 earthen dams on the national inventory list. Many of these structures are reaching or have surpassed their initial design life.
The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) uses Landsat data to help monitor consumptive water use throughout the western United States. BOR analysts use Landsat imagery to map irrigated crops for estimating water demand and to monitor interstate and inter-basin water compact compliance. The BOR is also involved in ecological restoration of a number of rivers in the West. Light detection and ranging (lidar), multispectral aerial imagery, and sonar data are used to generate maps of topography, vegetation, and river channel bathymetry, which help guide restoration activities.
BOR Population at Risk studies are used to determine the possible magnitude of loss of life in the event of a dam failure. Inundation extent, population at risk, and life loss estimation are the three components commonly considered in failure consequences. Remotely sensed data play a major role in determining population locations and densities.
BOR dams and reservoirs like Colorado’s Vega and Green Mountain, and Wyoming's Seminoe have landslide and/or dam issues that require long-term monitoring. In this research, the use of interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is being investigated as a monitoring tool for landslide and dam structure-related deformation.
The BOR operates the Paradox Valley Unit (PVU), a salinity control project located at Paradox Valley in western Colorado that helps to minimize water degradation in the Colorado River. PVU diverts up to 90% of the naturally occurring brine groundwater in Paradox Valley, preventing it from entering the Dolores River.
The Colorado River is the principal source of water for agriculture and riparian vegetation in Arizona, southern California, and southern Nevada.
Dam safety is an ongoing concern for the BOR. In the interests of maintaining modern dam safety monitoring, BOR has started to investigate the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) to improve safety, reduce costs, and increase effectiveness.
In the United States, there are currently over 100,000 miles of canal and levee embankments on the national inventory list, most of which are 50 or more years old and have surpassed their initial design life. These aging water conveyance systems are known to lose large quantities of water due to distributed seepage, resulting in major costs of operations and mainte
Remotely sensed data and derived information contribute significantly to mission-critical work across the Department of the Interior (DOI). This report from the DOI Remote Sensing Working Group (DOIRSWG) highlights a sample of DOI remote sensing applications and illustrates the many types of technology, platforms, and specialized sensors employed.* DOI personnel use remote sensing technology to evaluate and monitor changing land-surface and natural resource conditions over the vast areas for which DOI has responsibility.
The National Space Policy announced by the White House on July 28, 2010 recognized the Department of the Interior's expertise and accomplishments in remote sensing to provide data and advance research for science and natural resource management. This policy states:
The Secretary of the Interior, through the Director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), shall:
Remotely sensed data, information, and resources contribute significantly to mission-critical work across the Department of the Interior (DOI). Spanning data sources from aerial photography, to moderate resolution satellite data, to highly specialized imaging sensors and platforms, DOI personnel use remotely sensing capabilities to evaluate and monitor land-surface conditions over the vast areas for which DOI has responsibility.