Wetland status, change, and seasonal inundation dynamics for assessing the vulnerability of waterfowl habitat within the ABoVE study domain

Regions: Dehcho Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, vegetation, remote sensing, wetlands, wildlife habitat, waterfowl

Principal Investigator: French, Nancy H (2)
Licence Number: 16611
Organization: Michigan Tech Research Institute
Licensed Year(s): 2020 2019
Issued: Aug 08, 2019
Project Team: Michael Battaglia; Liza Jenkins; Laura Bourgeau-Chavez; Jeremy Graham; Kevin Smith; Bruce Chapman; Stuart Slattery; Michael Merchent; Jennifer Baltzer; Christoper Spence

Objective(s): To characterize changes in waterfowl habitat using remote sensing approaches.

Project Description: This licence has been issued for the scientific research application No.4543.

The overarching project goal is to characterize changes in waterfowl habitat using remote sensing approaches. The first objective is to create wetland type and surface inundation products (maps) for the Arctic-Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) boreal region. The second objective is to assess the efficacy of remote sensing products for analyzing spatial and temporal dynamics of waterfowl habitat suitability.

Wetland mapping will build on methods that combines multi-season, multi-sensor (EO, SAR) remote sensing products with field validated data to produce classification models. Field visits will focus on assessing wetland class. Random wetland sites will be selected from previously completed wetland maps (Ducks Unlimited Canada Earth Cover, or Michigan Technical Research Institute ABoVE maps). Each site will be representative of a half acre plot (~40x50 meters) to represent the minimum mapping unit for the output classified map products. At each half acre plot, field teams will collect GPS coordinates using handheld GPS units and will measure a variety of parameters including ecosystem type, dominant vegetation species, other occurring plant species, vegetation heights, density estimates, and topographic position. GPS enabled rugged digital cameras will be used to take photographs in the four cardinal directions and nadir at plot center for each sampling location as well. These data will be input into a Geographic Information System (GIS) for use as validation data with the output map products.

The research team will have discussions with individuals and communities, as well as providing informational handouts. Michigan Tech Research Institute staff have attending workshops in the past that have included local government and community members.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from July 30, 2019 to September 1, 2019.