2020 Systemic Land Cover/Land Use Aerial Imagery Acquisition, Image Interpretation, and Spatial Data Products for the Upper Mississippi River System

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Upper Mississippi River Restoration (UMRR) program, through its Long Term Resource Monitoring (UMRR-LTRM) element, will once again collect systemic imagery of the entire Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) in the summer of 2020. Development of the 2020 Land Cover/Land Use (LCU) database will provide a fourth systemic dataset to compare to the 1989, 2000, and 2010/11 systemic coverages. While a crosswalk was used to update 1989 (originally interpreted using a different classification system), the 2000, 2010/11, and 2020 LCU datasets will share the same vegetation classification system and image interpreters, making them directly comparable. Once completed, the 2020 dataset will be invaluable in assessing the current state of floodplain vegetation, as well as evaluating long-term vegetation trends and habitat changes over the past 30 years.

An LCU Geographic Information System (GIS) database for Pools 1-26, the Open River Reach, the entire Illinois River, and the navigable portions of the Minnesota, St. Croix, and Kaskaskia Rivers of the UMRS, based on four-band digital aerial imagery collected in the summer of 2020, will be generated and served online by navigation pool (the stretch of river between locks and dams). This dataset will overlay the associated pool-based aerial image mosaics using commonly available GIS software. The database provides a general description of the vegetation along with density and, if applicable, height along with additional information. The aerial mosaics can be displayed in natural color or color infrared and provide visual context to the 2020 database as well as the previous LCU databases. Resource managers, scientists, or anyone with an interest in the UMRS can download all 2020 LCU data as it is completed along with past LCU and aerial imagery products at https://umesc.usgs.gov/mapping/resource_mapping_lcu.html.

4-band (RGB/CIR) aerial image of lower Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River

4-band (RGB/CIR) aerial image of lower Pool 8 of the Upper Mississippi River collected on September 17, 2018

(Credit: Brian Lubinski (USFWS), Larry Robinson (USGS). Public domain.)

4-band (RGB/CIR) aerial image of the Illinois River’s LaGrange Pool

4-band (RGB/CIR) aerial image of the Illinois River’s LaGrange Pool collected on September 9, 2019

(Credit: Brian Lubinski (USFWS), Benjamin Finley (USGS), and Larry Robinson (USGS). Public domain.)