A Fused Radar–Optical Approach for Mapping Wetlands and Deepwaters of the Mid–Atlantic and Gulf Coast Regions of the United States
Tidal wetlands are critically important ecosystems that provide ecosystem services including carbon sequestration, storm surge mitigation, water filtration, and wildlife habitat provision while supporting high levels of biodiversity. Despite their importance, monitoring these systems over large scales remains challenging due to difficulties in obtaining extensive up-to-date ground surveys and the need for high spatial and temporal resolution satellite imagery for effective space-borne monitoring. In this study, we developed methodologies to advance the monitoring of tidal marshes and adjacent deepwaters in the Mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast United States. We combined Sentinel-1 SAR and Landsat 8 optical imagery to classify marshes and open water in both regions, with user's and producer's accuracies exceeding 89%. This methodology enables the assessment of marsh loss through conversion to open water at an annual resolution. We used time-series Sentinel-1 imagery to classify persistent and non-persistent marsh vegetation with greater than 93% accuracy. Non-persistent marsh vegetation serves as an indicator of salinity regimes in tidal wetlands. Additionally, we mapped two invasive species: wetlands invasive Phragmites australis (common reed) with greater than 80% accuracy and deepwater invasive Trapa natans (water chestnut) with greater than 96% accuracy. These results have important implications for improved monitoring and management of coastal wetlands ecosystems.
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This article was originally published in Remote Sensing, available at DOI:10.3390/rs13132495
This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).