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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Remote Sensing Techniques for Determining Water Quality: Applications to Tmdls

Authors
item Ritchie, Jerry
item Cooper, Charles - USDA ARS SEDIMENTATION

Submitted to: Water Environment Federation
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 23, 2001
Publication Date: March 6, 2001

Interpretive Summary: Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) are standards required of each State by the Clean Water Act which define water quality in terms of the physical, chemical, thermal, and/or biological properties. Suspended sediments, chlorophyll, temperature, and nutrients are key factors in defining TMDLs. Once defined, a major problem with the implementation of TMDLs is assessing gwater bodies to determine which meets the TMDLs standards. Current remote sensing technologies using aircraft and satellite data have been shown to have many applications for assessing surface water quality to help define TMDLs and for monitoring the progress of clean-up efforts required after TMDL definition. This paper reviews the application of remote sensing technology for measuring suspended sediments, chlorophyll, and temperature.

Technical Abstract: Remote sensing techniques can be use to assess several water quality parameters (i.e., suspended sediments (turbidity), chlorophyll, temperature) that are key factors in defining TMDLs. These optical and thermal sensors on boats, aircraft, and satellites provide both spatial and temporal information needed to understand changes in water quality parameters necessary for developing better management practices to improve water quality. With recent and planned launches of satellites with improved spectral and spatial resolution sensors, greater application of remote sensing techniques to assess and monitor water quality parameters will be possible. These remote sensing techniques should improve our abilities to assess the landscape and thus better define TMDLs and then provide monitoring data to follow clean-up efforts.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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