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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Grassland, Soil and Water Research Laboratory

Title: Evaluating remote sensing methods for targeting erosion in riparian corridors

item Christianson, Laura
item Smith, Meagan
item Storm, Daniel
item White, Michael
item Stoodley, Scott

Submitted to: Oklahoma Academy of Science Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2012
Publication Date: 12/28/2013
Citation: Christianson, L.E., Smith, M.B., Storm, D.E., White, M.J., Stoodley, S.H. 2013. Evaluating remote sensing methods for targeting erosion in riparian corridors. Oklahoma Academy of Science Proceedings. 93:55-65.

Interpretive Summary: Satellite imagery in conjunction with water quality models can be used to identify sources of pollution in a watershed. This research compares several sources of imagery with associated cost and effort to recommend the best source for differing watershed sizes. Manually digitized aerial photography is recommended for small watersheds and Landsat 7 for larger ones.

Technical Abstract: State agencies in the United States and other groups developing water quality programs have begun using satellite imagery with hydrologic/water quality modeling to identify possible critical source areas of erosion. To optimize the use of available funds, quantitative targeting of areas with the highest potential for water quality improvement is required. The objective of this research was to compare land cover classification accuracy of SPOT 5 and Landsat 7 satellite imagery with aerial photography to identify land cover categories thought to be critical sources of erosion in riparian corridors. Land cover for 24 km2 of riparian corridor in the Turkey Creek Watershed in Oklahoma was manually digitized from existing color aerial photography and used as a surrogate layer for assessing the SPOT 5 and Landsat 7 accuracy. Land cover percentages derived from each image type were compared. Weighting factors based on the type of land cover classification error were used to evaluate the magnitude and spatial distribution of the errors. Manual classification using aerial photography was determined to be the best option for areas up to twice the study size. For areas that exceed this critical size, Landsat 7 was recommended over SPOT 5 as the more cost effective satellite option.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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