Submitted to: Wetlands
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: May 15, 2007
Publication Date: August 28, 2007
Citation: Lang, M.W., Ritchie, J.C., McCarty, G.W., Eckles, S.D., Hively, W.D. 2007. Radar monitoring of forested wetland hydroperiod to improve water quality management [abstract]. Wetlands. p. 2. Technical Abstract: Wetlands are hydrologically dynamic ecosystems which have the potential to improve water quality. Unfortunately, many of the Chesapeake Bay’s wetlands, especially forested wetlands, have been lost or degraded by anthropogenic impacts. Due to the large effect of agriculture on the ability of wetlands to function, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) serves a vital role in wetland conservation and restoration. In order for the USDA to allocate funds to best manage wetlands, a better understanding of wetland functioning is necessary. Hydroperiod (i.e., temporal fluctuations in flooding and soil moisture) is one of the most important parameters controlling wetland function and extent. Broad-scale forested wetland hydrology is difficult to monitor using ground-based and traditional remote sensing methods (i.e., aerial photography). C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data can improve the ability to monitor forested wetland hydrology. Research has been conducted which supports the use of C-band SAR to monitor hydrology in Mid-Atlantic forested wetlands. A forested wetland hydroperiod time series has been developed for the Choptank Watershed, Maryland to better represent the dynamic nature of this ecosystem variable. Maps of forested wetland hydroperiod were compared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Soil Survey Geographic Database, and in situ data. Results are encouraging and opportunities are being explored to include the hydroperiod metric, as well as other biophysical parameters, in a watershed-scale decision support tool to assist USDA managers.