Open-File Report 2010–1264
In 2007, the National Park Service (NPS) Inventory and Monitoring Program directed the initiation of a benthic habitat mapping program in ocean and coastal parks in alignment with the NPS Ocean Park Stewardship 2007-2008 Action Plan. With 74 ocean and Great Lakes parks stretching over more than 5,000 miles of coastline across 26 States and territories, this Servicewide Benthic Mapping Program (SBMP) is essential. This program will deliver benthic habitat maps and their associated inventory reports to NPS managers in a consistent, servicewide format to support informed management and protection of 3 million acres of submerged National Park System natural and cultural resources.
The NPS and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) convened a workshop June 3-5, 2008, in Lakewood, Colo., to discuss the goals and develop the design of the NPS SBMP with an assembly of experts (Moses and others, 2010) who identified park needs and suggested best practices for inventory and mapping of bathymetry, benthic cover, geology, geomorphology, and some water-column properties. The recommended SBMP protocols include servicewide standards (such as gap analysis, minimum accuracy, final products) as well as standards that can be adapted to fit network and park unit needs (for example, minimum mapping unit, mapping priorities).
To be most useful for managing submerged resources, the SBMP advocates the inventory and mapping of the five components of marine ecosystems: surface geology, biotic cover, geoform, sub-benthic, and water column. A complete benthic inventory of a park would include maps of bathymetry and the five components of CMECS. The completion of mapping for any set of components, such as bathymetry and surface geology, or a particular theme (for example, submerged aquatic vegetation) should also include a printed report.
First posted December 14, 2010
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Moses, C.S., Nayegandhi, Amar, Beavers, Rebecca, and Brock, John, 2010, A Servicewide Benthic Mapping Program for National Parks: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2010–1264, 82 p.
Acronyms and Definitions
Introduction and Background
Need for a Specialized Servicewide Benthic Mapping Program
Benthic Substrate, Potential Habitat, and Habitat
Benthic Mapping Technology
Visible Imagery: Satellites and Airborne
Multibeam and Swath Sonar
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Classification
Post-Processing, Interpretation, and Validation
Recommended NPS Benthic-Mapping Protocol
Recommended NPS Benthic-Classification Scheme
Region, Network, and Park Unit Scale Protocols
Appendix 1. CMECS component codes (Version III, Madden and others, 2009)
Appendix 2. Ocean and Great Lake Parks with Submerged Acreage
Appendix 3. Mapping checklist