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Weekly Highlights

MEMORANDUM

From: Gabrielle Boudreaux Bodin
Subject: Weekly Highlights, USGS National Wetlands Research Center, July 11, 2013

Departmental/Bureau News - Current

USGS Contributes to Gulf of Mexico Studies Series: USGS scientists John Barras and Richard Day have contributed to two chapters in the newly released volume of Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, a series sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and published by the Texas A&M University Press. Volume 4, Ecosystem-Based Management, edited by John Day and Alejandro Yáñez-Arancibia, provides a comprehensive study of ecosystem-based management, analyzing key coastal ecosystems in eleven Gulf Coast States from Florida to Quintana Roo and presenting case studies in which this integrated approach was tested in both the United States and Mexico. John Barras is a co-author of Chapter 5, “Integrated Coastal Management in the Mississippi Delta: System Functioning as the Basis of Sustainable Management.” Richard Day co-authored Chapter 14, “Global Climate Change Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico: Considerations for Integrated Coastal Management.” (Richard Day; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8557)

Using Satellite Radar Data to Map Regional Flooding: Elijah Ramsey III (USGS National Wetlands Research Center), Amina Rangoonwala (Five Rivers Services LLC), and Terri Bannister (ULL Student Intern) authored a paper titled Coastal Flood Inundation Monitoring with Satellite C-band and L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar Data that was published in JAWRA, the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The paper describes how 45 satellite radar images collected between 2007 and 2009 were used to produce flood inundation maps of the spatially extensive Louisiana coastal zone. Mapping accuracy improved as water levels increased above or decreased below the marsh surface; however, the L-band radar performed better at mapping shallow marsh flooding as compared to the C-band radar. The study demonstrated the nearly on-demand operational capability of satellite radar to map regional flood inundation. The ability to obtain data quickly is essential for protecting lives and properties during severe storms and for sustainable management of coastal resources. (Elijah Ramsey, III; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8575)

Accuracy of Mobile Terrestrial Lidar Assessed: Mobile terrestrial lidar scanners are capable of rapid data collection on a larger spatial scale compared with tripod-based terrestrial lidar, but few studies have examined the accuracy of this relatively new mapping technology. The higher point density and mobility of terrestrial laser scanning (light detection and ranging, or lidar) is desired when extremely detailed elevation data are needed for mapping vertically orientated complex features such as levees, dunes, and cliffs, or when highly accurate data are needed for monitoring geomorphic changes. USGS Geographer Cindy Thatcher coauthored a paper, Accuracy assessment of a mobile terrestrial lidar survey at Padre Island National Seashore, documenting the results of a field test using a mobile lidar scanner mounted on a vehicle and integrated with a position and orientation system. The purpose of the study was to assess the vertical and horizontal accuracy of the georeferenced data collected by the mobile terrestrial lidar system. Results indicated that the very high density of the resulting point cloud was sufficient to map fine-scale topographic features, such as the complex shape of the sand dunes. This work was published in Special Issue 18 of the International Journal of Remote Sensing, Emerging methods for the study of coastal ecosystem landscape structure and change. (Cindy Thatcher; Reston, Va.; 703-648-5122)

Louisiana Colonial Nesting Seabird Catalog: USGS NWRC Geographer Steve Hartley, Wildlife Biologist Clint Jeske, and Gulf Coast Joint Venture Biologist Bill Vermillion are coauthors of a report compiling data on Louisiana’s colonial seabird nesting colonies from 1976 to 2008. “A Catalog of Louisiana’s Nesting Seabird Colonies,” was produced by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program. The report summarizes data from numerous major survey efforts during the stated time period, along with several miscellaneous surveys conducted by university researchers and State and Federal wildlife agencies. Location and data on nesting colonial waterbird species are provided for each site by survey year. Additionally, information on data sources is provided, along with descriptions of each seabird species’ status in Louisiana. A digital copy of Report 34 is expected to be made available on the BTNEP site. (Bill Vermillion; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8813)

Czech Scientists Team up with NWRC Ecologist: USGS NWRC Ecologist Jacoby Carter accompanied visiting scientists, Barbora Kubátová and Pavel Trávníček from the Czech Republic, into the field to collect milfoil (Myriophyllum spp.) samples from Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana and to determine the current status of submerged aquatic vegetation in the area. Watermilfoil are freshwater aquatic plants; several species are considered highly invasive. Kubátová and Trávníček have collected samples of Myriophyllum from each of the five Gulf Coast States and Georgia. They are using both genetic and cytological markers to better understand polyploidy (multiple sets of chromosome), how it effects invasiveness in Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum L.), and hybridization of Eurasian milfoil with native species. (Jacoby Carter; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8620)

NWRC Showcases Work During Esri Conference: Staff from the USGS NWRC Spatial Analysis Branch participated in the Esri International User Conference held in San Diego, California the week of July 8-12. Geographer Steve Hartley (NWRC) gave a presentation on geospatial mapping of feral hog activity. GIS Specialist Nicholas Enwright (Five Rivers Services at NWRC) delivered a presentation on collaborative conservation in the Edwards Plateau Region of Texas. Blair Tirpak (Five Rivers Services at NWRC) gave an overview of a decision support tool for conserving the endangered mussel, Louisiana pearlshell (Margaritifera hembeli). Bill Jones (NWRC) and contractors Nicholas Enwright, Adrienne Garber, and Matthew Keller (Five Rivers Services at NWRC) displayed a poster, “Analysis of the Impact of Spatial Resolution on Land/Water Classifications Using High Resolution Aerial Photography,” in the Map Gallery. Over 15,000 professionals across industries attend this conference. The user‐to‐user communication opportunities are essential for learning about real-life GIS experiences, best practices, and tips. (Nicholas Enwright; Lafayette, La.; 337-266-8613)

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