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Title: Radar Monitoring of Wetland Hydrology:Dynamic Information for the Assessment of Ecosystem Services

item Lang, Megan
item McCarty, Gregory
item Ritchie, Jerry
item Hively, Wells - Dean

Submitted to: IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/26/2008
Publication Date: 7/6/2008
Citation: Lang, M.W., McCarty, G.W., Ritchie, J.C., Hively, W.D. 2008. Radar monitoring of wetland hydrology: Dynamic information for the assessment of ecosystem wervices [abstract]. Abstracts of the 2008 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Wetlands are hydrologically dynamic ecosystems which have the potential to improve water quality. Due to the substantial effect of agriculture on the ability of wetlands to function, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) serves a key 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 the most important abiotic factor 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, but further research is necessary to fully quantify the benefits and limitations of this approach. 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. Images collected at multiple incidence angles were used to improve temporal resolution and, in this way, management applicability was improved. Maps of forested wetland hydroperiod were compared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wetlands Inventory, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Soil Survey Geographic Database, lidar data, and in situ data. Results are encouraging and opportunities are being explored to include the hydroperiod metrics, as well as other biophysical parameters, in a watershed-scale decision support tool to assist USDA managers.