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Project Work Plan

U.S. Geological Survey, Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)

Fiscal Year 2005 Study Work Plan

Study Title: Land Characteristics from Remote Sensing
Study Start Date: 2000 Study End Date: 2005
Web Sites: www.sofia.usgs.gov
Location (Subregions, Counties, Park or Refuge): Total System
Funding Source: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Other Complementary Funding Source(s):
'Testing and evaluation of remote sensing methods for estimating refuge characteristics of karst wetlands', BRD Park Oriented Biological Support.
'The development of a satellite-based capability for the assessment of hydrological conditions in southern Florida Wetlands' (Proposed against the NASA Hydrology NRA),
Principal Investigator(s): John W. Jones, Ph.D., Geographer, Eastern Region Geography
Email Address: jwjones@usgs.gov
Phone: 703/648-5543 Fax: 703/648-4603
Mail address: 521 National Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 20192
Study Personnel:
Richard L. Bernknopf, Ph.D., Economist, Center for Science Policy, Western Region Geography
Susan Price, Cartographer, Regional Investigations Team, Eastern Region Geography
Robert Stevens, Cartographer, Mapping Operations Team, Eastern Region Geography
Supporting Organizations:
Associated / Linked Studies:
Land Cover/Process Relationships (Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program)
Tidal Influences in the Mangrove Ecotone Model Development (GEPES)
SOFIA (GEPES)
High Accuracy Elevation Data Collection (GEPES)
South Florida Metadata (GEPES)
Evapotranspiration (GEPES)

Overview & Objective(s):

The primary goal of this study is to provide restoration-critical information regarding past and current characteristics of the Greater Everglades land surface (i.e., 'landscape dynamics') for improved landscape-scale modeling and restoration monitoring. The study develops innovative methods for geospatial data production and analysis of land surface characteristics over space and through time. The generated data provide baseline information necessary to begin monitoring the effects of restoration actions. Results of study landscape analyses facilitate more efficient and effective sampling strategies and improve field instrument placement. Structured study experiments increase our understanding of the relationships among surface features (e.g., vegetation and water) within the context of hydrologic, ecologic, and climate processes.

The study has three primary objectives:

  1. Develop and apply innovative widely applicable field data collection, remote sensing, and geographic analysis techniques to characterize spatial and temporal variations in land surface features and processes.
  2. Produce data and information that is useful for Everglades-focused science and restoration activities.
  3. Increase our understanding of the relationships among land surface spatial and temporal variations and hydrologic/ecologic processes.

Specific Relevance to Major Unanswered Questions and Information Needs Identified:

The work of this study addresses many of the major unanswered questions and key research needs identified in the DOI Science Plan (DOISP), the Restoration Coordination and Verification Program Monitoring and Assessment Plan (MAP), and the National Park Service Critical Ecosystem Studies Initiative (CESI) Program Announcement (RFP # Q528404CESI).

Tasks 1 through 3 contribute comprehensively to the development of landscape-scale modeling and monitoring outlined in the DOISP (i.e., projects to improve the quantity, quality, timing, and distribution of water and landscape-scale science needed to support multiple CERP activities) through (a) development of techniques and protocols for scaling of point-measured data collected in the field to moderate and regional extents through remote sensing and geographic analysis, (b) development of well-calibrated data that can be used to establish baselines, conduct historic analyses, and monitor regional scale biophysical processes and (c) the development of tools and information for vegetation, water, and habitat assessment and monitoring at regional scales over intra- and inter-annual timeframes.

Although Task activities are often technique-development oriented, they are conducted with an applications focus so that specific information needs of the MAP are met by each experiment. For example, while it accomplishes the integration of a flexible airborne imaging system, the solution hole mapping activity of Task 1 also develops a needed performance measure (GE-A4) identified in the MAP (section 3.1.4.7). Similarly, while it builds our capability for hyperspectral remote sensing, the periphyton research activity of Task 1 is directly responsive to trophic systems monitoring requirements for periphyton production, cover, and composition associated with the key uncertainty of vegetation mapping technology development (MAP Section 3.1.4.5) as well as using “hyperspectral systems as a cost-effective way of mapping Everglades landscape and water quality patterns”.

This study supports the CESI restoration goal 1 (“Get the Water right”) by contributing to efforts to: improve linkages between and/or develop fully coupled hydrologic/hydro-dynamic/ecologic models, monitor the response of species sensitive to changes in hydrology, and develop parameters needed for the population of various models. It also includes the collection field measurements in critical areas and the development of methods to estimate parameter values from commonly available information. It contributes directly to the CESI restoration goal 2 (“Restore, Preserve, and Protect Natural Habitats”) by generating information on spatial and temporal plant community cover and density in marl prairie, ridge and slough, and tree island habitats in the southern Everglades and by conducting data analysis to stress the synergistic use of in-situ and remotely-sensed vegetation data. Study Task 4 directly supports CESI restoration goal 3 (“Foster Compatibility of the Built and Natural Systems”) by conducting surveys on public perception of the restoration's goals and benefits and developing/applying tools for economic analysis of cost/benefit strategies of restoration.

Because study data collection and analyses are conducted at multiple scales (up to regional), this study specifically supports several projects listed in the DOI Science Plan. These include (a) WCA 3 Decompartmentalization and sheetflow enhancement, (b) baseline studies and monitoring of plant community species composition, cover, and density in marl prairie and ridge and slough habitats in the southern Everglades, and (c) Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands research to understand the links between hydrology and ecology. Data and change detection methods developed through this research are also expected to contribute to fire management and invasive species detection/monitoring needs of DOI land managers.

Status:

Previous study research has established a sound foundation of data (e.g., 64 moderate-resolution satellite images providing intra- and inter-annual temporal coverage and other recent products listed below), hardware and software (e.g., handheld radiometer and remote sensing algorithms), methods (e.g., non-destructive leaf area index vegetation characterization protocol), skills (e.g., the development of additional project personnel capable of digital photogrammetric and geospatial analyses), and collaborative relationships (e.g., with researchers from the University of Maryland, Florida International University, and SFWMD) to enable substantial progress in the application of remote sensing and geospatial analysis to South Florida science and restoration needs. Pieces of database construction, algorithm development, and analysis for Tasks 1 through 3 listed below (e.g., landscape ecology research on vegetation direction and density, and vegetation/topography analysis) were already well underway in FY04. Products from these activities will enter the production and distribution stages in early FY05. With the exception of field data collection for the periphyton study (Task 1, activity b), all funds in FY05 will be directed toward analyses, documentation, and presentation of project results.

Recent Products:

-Big Cypress/Pine Island Satellite Image Map
-South Florida Land Cover Spectral Library
-South Florida Multi-temporal and Multi-resolution Image Database
-Rocky Glades Pilot Study Region High Resolution (.16m) Color Infrared Orthophotos
-Report on leaf area index (LAI) extrapolation using field and satellite data (in review).
-Fact sheet on South Florida Land Characterization (in review).

Planned Products:

-Map of solution holes for pilot study areas of the Rocky Glades Region.
-Report on pilot study for solution hole mapping.
-Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program Status and Trends Professional Paper (a collection of multi-disciplinary papers on land cover analysis for Everglades restoration).
-Report on satellite data calibration and atmospheric correction algorithm comparison.
-Very-high resolution (i.e., 10 and 5 cm spatial resolution) digital orthophotoquads of the Rocky Glade solution hole pilot study region.
-Spectrally improved 1m digital orthophotoquad database for the Everglades Region.
-Report on landscape ecology of Everglades vegetation density.
-Digital Atlas of ENP vegetation and topography.
-Database of composition, spectra, and taxonomy for periphyton samples.
-Plan for the modification and application of socio-economic tools to issues in South Florida.

WORK PLAN

Title of Task 1: Field/remote sensing technique development for scaling studies, data calibration, and targeted CERP-MAP work activities
Task Funding: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES), USGS Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program, NASA Hydrology Program (Proposed)
Task Leaders: John W. Jones
Phone: 703-648-5543
FAX: 703-648-4603
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: John W. Jones, University of Maryland Faculty, Students, and Collaborators (TBD)

Task Summary and Objectives:

If remote sensing technologies are to provide the best information possible for Everglades science, restoration, and management, the development of field data collection methods is necessary. The activities of this task develop novel ways of extracting information from existing sensor systems and provide test-bed opportunities that allow us to stipulate future system requirements. Examples of the field collection technologies being developed by this study include those for handheld spectral radiometry, non-destructive vegetation structure assessment, global-positioning-system, and land cover validation data collection. Because the large size of the Greater Everglades Region makes the use of moderate and gross resolution satellite data attractive, methods are also needed to 'scale' point-based measurements to progressively larger areas. Experiments in scaling require fine-resolution airborne imaging. Objectives of this Task include: (a) continued refinement of the aforementioned field data collection technologies, (b) integration and deployment of color and color-infrared airborne imaging systems that rely on readily available airborne platforms (e.g., DOI or contract helicopters), and (c) the application of these technologies to the provision of critical information needs for the CERP (as described in the next section).

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

  1. Solution hole mapping pilot study: Using extremely high resolution orthographic imagery generated by post-processing the data we collect using our airborne imaging system, we will map the location and density of various types of solution holes for pilot study areas in the Rocky Glades region. This image data will be coordinated with field data collection on solution-hole content and characteristics. This activity is directly responsive to the performance measure (GE-A4) information need identified in the MAP (section 3.1.4.7 titled the Role of Solution Holes as Aquatic Refuges for Marsh Fishes and Other Aquatic Animals in Karst Wetlands) that calls for a “Pilot Study of Remote Sensing/Surveying Methods for Estimating Refuge Characteristics”. Three work activities are being specifically addressed through this activity:
    1. Conduct a pilot study to test alternative remote sensing methods to determine their resolution and accuracy in estimating hole density, areas, and depths in the rocky glades.
    2. Validate the methods by comparison to results from standard land surveying methods.
    3. Determine optimum study designs and survey methods to characterize the density, areas, and depth distributions of solution holes in the rocky glades in a spatially explicit manner.
  2. Cooperative, structured field experiment on periphyton hyperspectral analysis: Previous research by the principle investigator has established methods of differentiating gross differences in periphyton composition along environmental gradients using hyperspectral airborne imaging. While this experiment relied in part on field-collected handheld radiometry, detailed quantitative analyses of periphyton content was not possible because resources for detailed taxonomic analysis of the periphyton were unavailable. This year, in collaboration with the South Florida Water Management District, we will collect spectra over ground samples of periphyton that will then be carefully collected and analyzed using established SFWMD protocols and analytical resources. In this way, we will test whether spectral features identified through previous research are truly diagnostic of periphyton assemblage composition. This activity is directly responsive to trophic systems monitoring requirements for periphyton production, cover, and composition associated with the key uncertainty of vegetation mapping technology development (MAP Section 3.1.4.5) and vegetation mapping: “Using hyperspectral systems as a cost-effective way of mapping Everglades landscape and water quality patterns”.

Specific Task Product(s):

Fact Sheet (November 2004).
Map of solution holes for pilot study areas of the Rocky Glades Region. (December, 2004).
Report on pilot study for solution hole mapping (December, 2004).
Database of composition, spectra, and taxonomy for periphyton samples (September, 2005).

Title of Task 2: Construction of well-calibrated, high quality multi-resolution and multi-temporal databases for landscape-scale modeling and targeted CERP-MAP work activities.
Task Funding: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Task Leaders: John W. Jones
Phone: 703-648-5543
FAX: 703-648-4603
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: John W. Jones, Robert Stevens

Task Summary and Objectives:

This task is focused on the development and testing of methods for multi-temporal satellite data radiometric calibration and atmospheric correction to provide for most accurate and consistent land cover change analysis, biophysical remote sensing, and CERP monitoring. The objective is to build a remote sensed database that is:

  1. Well-calibrated (converted to physical values with some mitigation of atmospheric effects)
  2. Multi-scale (temporally: from event based to frequent; spatially: from point-based to regional)
  3. Multi-spectral (panchromatic, hyperspectral, RADAR, LIDAR, etc.)
  4. Extensively documented (metadata traces all processing actions).

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

Three different calibration and atmospheric correction algorithms will be implemented and rigorously evaluated for their efficiency and effectiveness in producing consistent, regional temporal series of satellite data for Everglades research and monitoring. This evaluation will be completed using the rich, previously assembled data base of Landsat TM, Landsat MSS, SPOT XS, and AVHRR data augmented with new acquisitions of MODIS, ASTER, Hyperion, and other satellite/airborne data. Because coverage by these sensor systems is regional and the ultimate use of these data is land surface change monitoring, this Task directly supports most restoration projects south of Lake Okeechobee.

Specific Task Product(s):

Report on satellite data calibration and atmospheric correction algorithm comparison (November, 2004).
Very-high resolution (i.e., 10 and 5 cm spatial resolution) digital orthophotoquads of the Rocky Glade region (10cm: October, 2004; 5cm December, 2004).
Spectrally improved 1m digital orthophotoquad database for the Everglades Region (July, 2005).

Title of Task 3: Landscape dynamics for landscape model development and enhancement
Task Funding: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Task Leaders: John W. Jones
Phone: 703-648-5543
FAX: 703-648-4603
Task Status (proposed or active): active
Task priority: High
Task Personnel: John W. Jones, Susan Price

Task Summary and Objectives:

This task builds upon the knowledge gained and information produced through Tasks 1 and 2. The tenets and methods of landscape ecology are used to produce restoration-relevant understanding of landscape dynamics (variations in land cover across space and through time) for the Greater Everglades region. We will conduct exploratory and structured experiments to uncover associations among landscape dynamics and the anthropogenic and non-human forces that influence them. Foci for this task include spatial analysis of calibrated field and remote sensed data, change detection using calibrated remote sensed data, and the linkage of land surface changes to underlying environmental gradients, episodic natural events, or restoration actions.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures: (Page numbers below refer to DOI Science Plan.)

This year, the study will begin testing hypotheses in three subject areas:

  1. Landscape ecology: This activity will focus on a specific ecological premise regarding wetland/vegetation landscape pattern and extent (MAP sections 3.1.2.X) about pattern and directionality in Everglades wetland landscapes. Landscape metrics will be applied to study-derived multi-scale field and remote sensed data to understand the scale lengths and directions over which contemporary vegetation density varies in the Greater Everglades. Such analyses will also inform the development of higher resolution hydrologic models - another need identified in the DOISP (pg 81).
  2. Change Detection: We will quantify the thresholds of land surface spectral change that are detectable in calibrated satellite data. Change detection techniques (e.g., image differencing and multi-temporal principle components analysis) will be applied to the calibrated satellite image library developed in Task 2 to determine the types of changes that can be detected and the timescale(s) over which changes occur. Because the Altantic Coastal Ridge will also be included in change detection analyses this year, information will be provided that supports the need to understand links between hydrology and ecology for the Biscayne Bay (DOISP pgs 66/67).
  3. Vegetation/environment relationships: Multivariate visualization and statistical analyses will be applied to the Everglades Vegetation Database and High Accuracy Elevation Dataset to examine relationships among vegetation and topography that have been suggested through field-based research as documented in the literature. Greater understanding of vegetation/topography relationships will aid modeling and planning for habitat and species recovery projects (DOISP section 4).

Specific Task Product(s):

Digital Atlas of ENP vegetation and topography (January, 2005).
Publication on landscape ecology of Everglades vegetation density (May, 2005).
Publication regarding change detection analysis (September, 2005).

Title of Task 4: Portfollio Land Use Modeler application to the South Florida Region
Task Funding: USGS Greater Everglades Priority Ecosystems Science (GE PES)
Task Leaders: Richard L. Bernknopf
Phone: 650-329-4951
FAX: 650-329-4710
Task Status (proposed or active): proposed
Task priority: Medium
Task Personnel: Richard L. Bernknopf

Task Summary and Objectives:

The Portfolio Modeler was created to value and compare various land use scenarios in terms of their mitigation of potential hazards impacts. The objective of this task is to adapt and apply the Portfolio Modeler and other socio-economic analyses tools (as appropriate) to the assessment of costs/benefits associated with various land use scenarios in the South Florida Region.

Work to be undertaken during the proposal year and a description of the methods and procedures:

Scope of the project for the FY05 year is limited to foundational assessment of possible model indicators and establishment of appropriate multi-agency contacts. It is essentially the start of a pilot study. This study would provide a unique and significant contribution to the economic analysis of cost/benefit strategies of restoration as called for by the CESI.

Specific Task Product(s):

Plan for the modification and application of socio-economic tools to issues in South Florida (September, 2005).



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