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Data Series 701

Prepared in cooperation with Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Natural Resources Conservation Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Classifications for Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Site-Specific Projects: 2008 and 2009

By William R. Jones and Adrienne Garber

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.81 MB)Abstract

The Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) funds over 100 wetland restoration projects across Louisiana. Integral to the success of CWPPRA is its long-term monitoring program, which enables State and Federal agencies to determine the effectiveness of each restoration effort. One component of this monitoring program is the analysis of high-resolution, color-infrared aerial photography at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Color-infrared aerial photography (9- by 9-inch) is obtained before project construction and several times after construction. Each frame is scanned on a photogrametric scanner that produces a high-resolution image in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF). By using image-processing software, these TIFF files are then orthorectified and mosaicked to produce a seamless image of a project area and its associated reference area (a control site near the project that has common environmental features, such as marsh type, soil types, and water salinities.) The project and reference areas are then classified according to pixel value into two distinct classes, land and water. After initial land and water ratios have been established by using photography obtained before and after project construction, subsequent comparisons can be made over time to determine land-water change.

Several challenges are associated with the land-water interpretation process. Primarily, land-water classifications are often complicated by the presence of floating aquatic vegetation that occurs throughout the freshwater systems of coastal Louisiana and that is sometimes difficult to differentiate from emergent marsh. Other challenges include tidal fluctuations and water movement from strong winds, which may result in flooding and inundation of emergent marsh during certain conditions. Compensating for these events is difficult but possible by using other sources of imagery to verify marsh conditions for other dates in time.

First posted September 7, 2012

For additional information contact:
Director, National Wetlands Research Center
U.S. Geological Survey
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Jones, W.R., and Garber, Adrienne, 2012, Classifications for Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act site-specific projects—2008 and 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 701, 8 p. and 14 maps.




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