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Eastern Geographic Science Center

Description of Current Projects

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Surface Inundation Dynamics

Principal Investigator: John W. Jones, Ph.D., U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center

The Science Issue and Relevance
The presence and extent of inland surface water features such as water bodies (lakes and ponds), rivers and wetlands (swamp and marshland) is dynamic at multiple space and time scales given variable weather, water resource management, land use and climate. To be as efficient and effective as possible, Chesapeake Bay Ecosystem restoration activities require information on these dynamics for purposes of hydrologic model development/testing, aquatic and water fowl habitat characterization, climate and land use change assessment, resource protection and restoration adaptive management. The Eastern Geographic Science Center (EGSC) has been developing techniques to mine ever growing archives of optical and RADAR satellite data to document the dynamics of surface water extent. Using those techniques, this project is focused on the derivation of information needed to realize the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Chesapeake Science Strategy and in so doing, information requirements for Department of the Interior and Bay partner resource management.

Sample data product for an area of Upstate New York shows for each image pixel the proportion of Landsat observations made in 2011 that were declared "open water".

Methodology for Addressing the Issue
This project leverages the efforts and outcomes of the Dynamic Surface Water Extent (DSWE) project through by conducting a series of experiments using DSWE data and evaluation products. Each experiment is designed to address particular information needs of the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP). The utility of the information generated is characterized by collaborative use of derived products in CBP modeling and assessment activities.

Future Steps
Many Chesapeake Bay science and management activities could benefit from improved information on surface water extent dynamics. This project is phased-based to address known near-term product requirements of the Watershed Modeling Group followed by longer-term research on surface water extent relationships with waterfowl habitat in coastal regions and aquatic habitat throughout the watershed.

Key Words: hydrology, water resource management, landscape dynamics, wetlands, modeling, remote sensing

Contact Information:
John W. Jones, PhD

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