Landings and Layovers: Mapping Migratory Bird Habitats in Mississippi

Project Team: SSC Mississippi Water Resources Team
Team Location: NASA Stennis Space Center, Hancock County, Mississippi

Shown here is a preliminary landcover classification of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, used in the habitat model to highlight favorable cover types for each species. Image Credit: SSC Mississippi Water Resources Team.

Shown here is a preliminary landcover classification of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, used in the habitat model to highlight favorable cover types for each species. Image Credit: SSC Mississippi Water Resources Team.

Authors:
Shelby Barrett
Luke Wylie
Benjamin Beasley
Brennan McDaniel

Mentors/Advisors:
Joseph Spruce (NASA Stennis Space Center)
James “Doc” Smoot (NASA Stennis Space Center)

Abstract:
Coastal and migratory bird habitats in Mississippi are highly dynamic and constantly threatened by human activity. Today, these coastal and migratory species are typically found on managed public lands. However, as of 2014, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center (PRAC) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) reported shorebird populations in coastal Mississippi are continually in decline. In response, the Mississippi Audubon Coastal Bird Stewardship Program (CBSP) plans to focus on more than 20 sites in coastal Mississippi. This includes: planning and conducting standardized monitoring, implementing best-practice restoration projects, and a campaign to educate diverse audiences to increase understanding of the threats to and environmental/societal benefits of coastal and migratory birds. To support these efforts, this project used Landsat 8 OLI imagery from 2012 to 2014 to produce habitat classification maps that incorporated land use land cover, vegetation health, and water quality indices of areas in coastal Mississippi where these vital bird habitats are located. The project focused on at-risk coastal bird species such as the least tern. End products and methodologies aided end-users in focusing habitat restoration efforts based on individual species’ propensity to a particular area.

 

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