Natchez Trace Ecological Forecasting and Water Resources: Utilizing NASA Earth Observations to Assess Current and Historic Wetland Extent along the Natchez Trace Parkway

Author(s): Lynn, T.

This project partnered with the National Park Service (NPS) to produce needed land cover mapping products for the Natchez Trace Parkway and to address community concerns involving the past, current, and future wetland conditions of this area. The parkway occurs in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Beavers have altered current and historic wetland conditions in the study area by changing streamflow along adjacent rivers and tributaries. While the ecological services provided by these beavers can benefit wetland ecosystems, indiscriminate and excessive dam building has caused issues with flooding, property damage, and road maintenance within the parkway. NASA Earth observations (Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper, 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, and 8 Operational Land Imager) and ERDAS IMAGINE were used to generate a time series of land use/land cover (LULC) classification maps from October 1992 to January 2015 showing wetland status occurring along the parkway. A projected LULC classification map was also produced using TerrSet Land Change Modeler software. This LULC time series and modeled projection will aid the NPS in wetland conservation and beaver management plans throughout the Natchez Trace Parkway.

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