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Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems

The importance of coastal wetlands for Gulf coast communities is unquestioned. While the degradation of Louisiana coastal marshes often receives the most attention, the marshes of the other Gulf States are similarly threatened by development pressures, storm damage, and sea-level rise. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) has thus identified Wetland and Coastal Conservation and Restoration as one of its five priority issues. This project will use NASA products to develop tools that can directly support the Gulf States as they plan, implement, and monitor coastal salt marsh restoration efforts. Most assessments of coastal salt marsh status are limited to habitat delineation and documentation of change in area. However, assessment of marsh condition is essential to the evaluation of the success of previous restoration efforts and for the prioritization of future restoration actions. This study will use remotely sensed data to evaluate important marsh biophysical characteristics including distribution of chlorophyll content, leaf area index, and vegetation fraction. These biophysical characteristics are primary indicators of photosynthetic capacity, nitrogen content, and physiological status of vegetation. The proposed research develops tools that can be used to assess these characteristics at large spatial scales, that will directly inform restoration and conservation decision-making. One of our key products will be large scale maps of these biophysical characteristics of Gulf Coast salt marshes derived from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 250 and 500-m datasets. The result of this study will include an efficient and non-destructive mapping protocol for emergent coastal salt marshes for use in restoration decision making. It can be used for assessing the success of previous restoration, identifying areas of degradation for future restoration, thus informing the requirement for appropriate compensatory mitigation. The proposal directly addresses GOMA's goal of enhanced monitoring to conserve and restore coastal wetlands throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Project PI: Deepak Mishra/University of New Orleans

Earth & Environmental Sciences,University of New Orleans 2000 Lakeshore Dr. New Orleans, LA 70148

Email: dmishra@uno.edu

http://ees.uno.edu/Deepak.htm

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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011

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