Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing Support: Gulf Coast Joint Venture

Science Center Objects

The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) was established in 1988 as a result of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which espouses the restoration of continental waterfowl populations through conservation partnerships in priority habitat regions. Since that time GCJV partners have expanded their mission and purpose to include the provision of habitat to support other priority bird species within the region.

Gulf Coast Joint Venture Initiative Areas

The GCJV region encompasses coastal marsh and associated habitats from Alabama to south Texas, and is geographically subdivided into five planning units called Initiative Areas: Coastal Mississippi-Alabama, Mississippi River Coastal Wetlands (Louisiana), Chenier Plain (Louisiana and Texas), Texas Mid-Coast, and Laguna Madre (Texas).

The Science Issue and Relevance: The Gulf Coast Joint Venture (GCJV) was established in 1988 as a result of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, which espouses the restoration of continental waterfowl populations through conservation partnerships in priority habitat regions. Since that time GCJV partners have expanded their mission and purpose to include the provision of habitat to support other priority bird species within the region. Partners strive to collectively implement habitat conservation and provide bird needs through maintenance, restoration, enhancement, or creation of habitats that further regional and continental priorities for waterfowl, landbirds, shorebirds, and waterbirds. The GCJV region encompasses coastal marsh and associated habitats from Alabama to south Texas, and is geographically subdivided into five planning units called Initiative Areas: Coastal Mississippi-Alabama, Mississippi River Coastal Wetlands (Louisiana), Chenier Plain (Louisiana and Texas), Texas Mid-Coast, and Laguna Madre (Texas). 

USGS has been an integral partner of the GCJV since its inception, providing various forms of science support, office space and support, IT support, document preparation, and geospatial collaboration. As part of an ongoing effort to continually strengthen the biological foundation of GCJV partner conservation activities, USGS proposes to provide targeted geospatial support to priority tasks of the GCJV office.

Waterfowl habitat frequency in Chenier Plain of Louisiana

Waterfowl habitat frequency from over three assessments 2008 through 2014 from mid-January through the end of March in Chenier Plain of Louisiana

Methodologies for Addressing the Issue: The primary objective of this partnership is to provide remote sensing and geospatial support for a long-term monitoring effort to assess waterfowl and shorebird habitat on inland agricultural lands from the mid-1980s to present. These assessments are made via classification of Landsat satellite imagery.

Secondary objectives include the following: (1) analyses of the performance of a large private land program using classifications of waterfowl habitats; (2) employing photo-interpretation of digital aerial images known as DOQQs, Landsat TM, and other imagery to develop spatial data layers important to the planning or evaluation of bird habitats; and (3) preparing maps, images, and other materials relevant to GCJV’s conservation planning.

Future Steps: USGS will provide continued geospatial support to GCJV and its partners and communication of results.