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Section 5: Remote sensing of vegetation in the riparian corridor of the Colorado River’s delta 2013-2018

August 1, 2022

This remote sensing section is based on Nagler et al. (in preparation for the journal Hydrological Processes) and is a summary of the USGS preliminary findings to date.

This report documents the changes in green foliage density (greenness) as measured by satellite vegetation index (VI) data and corresponding evapotranspiration (ET) in the riparian corridor of the Colorado River delta associated with the Minutes 319 and 323 environmental water deliveries using time-series data from 2013 through 2018. The report focuses on what happened only within the riparian corridor’s seven reaches since the 2014 flows, and despite being a continuation of measuring greenness and ET after the 2017 end of Minute 319, this study continued the tracking of these two variables, greenness and ET, in these original riparian corridor focal areas. Two spatial scales are used here: (1) Landsat satellite imagery at 30 m pixels and (2) the EOS-1 satellite sensor the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) with a resolution of 250 m pixels. The focal period includes 2013 (prepulse flow) and the years 2014-2018, with a focus on imagery collected from the Summer growing seasons 2014 through 2018 (one-year, pre-pulse and several post-pulse years, respectively).

This report re-creates the 2013-2017 Landsat-based results from Jarchow et al. (2017a, b) by using the same region of interest (ROI). The report now provides revised and re-created results using all new imagery acquisition and processing techniques, as well as extraction code, created by the Vegetation Index and Phenology (VIP) Lab of the Biosystems Engineering Department of the University of Arizona (UofA). In 2018, methods employed by the VIP lab (and not ArcGIS) were used. ArcGIS was only used in the newly processed data to display the final difference maps. The entire spatial tile data from NASA was downloaded and processed at the VIP Lab using satellite imagery at two resolutions: 250 m MODIS and 30 m Landsat using three sensors, Landsat 5, Landsat 7 ETM+ and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), with added scenes for each year based on new clear atmosphere requirements. The VIP lab clipped the river boundary and seven riparian reaches from the previously existing ROI used in Jarchow et al. (2017 a, b) for the analyses done under Minute 319. The NASA image datasets for this riparian corridor ROI in seven reaches were re-processed to produce additional vegetation index (VI) information for years 2013 to 2018 for this report. At the same time, the report acquired and processed imagery from 2000- 2018 (data outside the scope of this report and data not shown here). The additional VIs (NDVI, scaled NDVI, EVI, EVI2) were analyzed so that new assessments of greenness and ET could be produced from the imagery datasets following methods in Nagler et al. (2013). These VI choices were based on previous performance comparisons between biophysical ground-based data and radiometric satellite-based data collected from this riparian ecosystem (Nagler et al., 2001) as well as performance related to ET estimation (Nagler et al., 2005a, b) and current advancements in VIs such as EVI2.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Section 5: Remote sensing of vegetation in the riparian corridor of the Colorado River’s delta 2013-2018
Authors Pamela L. Nagler, Armando Barreto-Munoz, Christopher J. Jarchow, Kamel Didan
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Index ID 70237091
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center