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Western Gulf Coastal Plain Louisiana Land Use and Land Cover ground truth observations from 2016 to 2017

January 21, 2021

Collaborative landscape conservation planning is largely limited by the quality of spatial data which can be applied to decision support tools to inform conservation decisions. Conservation entities across the Western Gulf Coastal Plain are taking a collaborative, strategic, landscape scale approach to conservation planning. This effort encourages communication and implementation of restoration and habitat enhancement actions within water sheds. Land cover datasets available within this geography hinder the efficiency of such efforts due to low resolution quality and limited details associated with land use categories. In collaboration with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Gulf Coast Prairie Landscape Conservation Cooperative, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing three map products to 1) improve the resolution of current reference for land use land cover, 2) identify high priority areas for pollinator conservation, and 3) define pre-settlement vegetation types to serve as a reference for restoration efforts. The Land Use Land Cover (LULC) product will attempt to utilize data training methods such as e-cognition software using the 2015 National Aerial Imagery Program (NAIP) dataset (1m) as the basemap. If this is not successful, several data sources will be referenced to produce a refined version of land cover data across the Western Gulf Coastal Plain which includes additional land use categories at a higher resolution (10m). Other data sources will include ~12,000 aerial points assigned to image objects, National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) 2008, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) marsh classes, National Land Cover Database (NLCD) urban areas, and Cropland Data Layer (CDL) data. The aerial points will also contribute to the development of the conservation priority map. Potential pollinator habitat will be derived by ranking land use classifications resulting from the new LULC product, and grassland quality will be based on ground truthing and remotely sensed features indicative of remnant prairie. All known prairie remnants, prairie plantings, and clusters of mima mounds will be detected from high resolution LiDar data (3m). Mima mounds are indicative of areas in which the topsoil has not been significantly disturbed, and therefore have a higher potential to contain native prairie vegetation. The third map product, pre-settlement vegetation types, were compiled using Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO) data, to predict appropriate vegetation associations for plantings across southwest Louisiana based on expert elicitation, and historic references. Natural vegetation associations were examined and documented for each soil series individually using multiple references, including U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Soil Series descriptions, expert elicitation, and historical spatial references. This work provides high resolution references for conservation efforts in the Chenier Eco-Region in Southwest Louisiana.

Publication Year 2021
Title Western Gulf Coastal Plain Louisiana Land Use and Land Cover ground truth observations from 2016 to 2017
DOI 10.5066/P91IVK5F
Authors Larry K Allain, Stephen B Hartley, Heather Baldwin
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center - Gainesville, FL