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ALL THAT "PHRAG": BRINGING ENGINEERING, WETLAND ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, AND LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY TO BEAR ON THE QUESTION OF COMMON REED IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS
LOPEZ, R. D. AND J. LIN. ALL THAT "PHRAG": BRINGING ENGINEERING, WETLAND ECOLOGY, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, AND LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY TO BEAR ON THE QUESTION OF COMMON REED IN GREAT LAKES COASTAL WETLANDS. Presented at International Association for Great Lakes Research, University Park, PA, May 28 - June 01, 2007.
The primary objectives of this research are to:
Develop methodologies so that landscape indicator values generated from different sensors on different dates (but in the same areas) are comparable; differences in metric values result from landscape changes and not differences in the sensors;
Quantify relationships between landscape metrics generated from wall-to-wall spatial data and (1) specific parameters related to water resource conditions in different environmental settings across the US, including but not limited to nutrients, sediment, and benthic communities, and (2) multi-species habitat suitability;
Develop and validate multivariate models based on quantification studies;
Develop GIS/model assessment protocols and tools to characterize risk of nutrient and sediment TMDL exceedence;
Complete an initial draft (potentially web based) of a national landscape condition assessment.
This research directly supports long-term goals established in ORDs multiyear plans related to GPRA Goal 2 (Water) and GPRA Goal 4 (Healthy Communities and Ecosystems), although funding for this task comes from Goal 4. Relative to the GRPA Goal 2 multiyear plan, this research is intended to "provide tools to assess and diagnose impairment in aquatic systems and the sources of associated stressors." Relative to the Goal 4 Multiyear Plan this research is intended to (1) provide states and tribes with an ability to assess the condition of waterbodies in a scientifically defensible and representative way, while allowing for aggregation and assessment of trends at multiple scales, (2) assist Federal, State and Local managers in diagnosing the probable cause and forecasting future conditions in a scientifically defensible manner to protect and restore ecosystems, and (3) provide Federal, State and Local managers with a scientifically defensible way to assess current and future ecological conditions, and probable causes of impairments, and a way to evaluate alternative future management scenarios.
Coastal wetlands are among the most fragmented and disturbed ecosystems and the Great Lakes are no exception. One possible result is the observed increase in the presence and dominance of invasive and other opportunistic plant species, such as the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud). Hyperspectral and multispectral airborne remote sensing data were used to quantify the distribution of P. australis in several coastal wetlands of western Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, and Lake Huron. The initial accuracy of species and structural-characteristic assessments for Phragmites is in excess of 90%. The precision and detail of field-based calibration data was important for the successful semi-automated mapping of P. australis. Additional, contemporaneous, efforts to assess landscape conditions in the coastal zone of the Great Lakes, using satellite multispectral remote sensing data, are ongoing. Results from both coastal wetland assessment efforts are being used to measure landscape characteristics at multiple scales, focusing on ecosystem connectivity and anthropogenic impact. Results from P. australis and coastal zone assessments are actively being used to develop broad-scale indicators of coastal wetland condition in the Great Lakes.