Mission to Marsh: Using NASA Satellite Data to Monitor Coastal Marsh

Category: Monitoring Environmental Health and Disturbances
Project Team: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting
Team Location: Mobile County Health Department – Mobile, Alabama

MODIS NDVI showing photosynthetic activity of wetlands in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Image Credit: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting Team

MODIS NDVI showing photosynthetic activity of wetlands in Mobile and Baldwin County, Alabama. Image Credit: Mobile Bay Ecological Forecasting Team

Authors:
Saranee Dutta
Vishal Arya
Jeanett Bosarge
Courtney Kirkham
Tyler Lynn

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)
Bernard Eichold, M.D., Dr. PH (Mobile County Health Department)

Past/Other Contributors:
Tyler Lynn (Center Lead)

Abstract:

Mobile and Baldwin counties encompass the region known as Coastal Alabama. The fresh, brackish, and saltwater marshes of this area shelter a wide variety of species and provide valuable ecosystem services. Over several decades, this area has experienced extensive marsh loss due to a combination of anthropogenic and natural stressors. This project partnered with the Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) to address community concerns of ecosystem decay within Coastal Alabama marshland. MOD13Q1 data products from the Terra satellite assisted in extracting vegetation indices, establishing baseline conditions for marsh health, and comparing marsh health during disturbance years. These findings will support the ACF by providing data and maps of marsh health trend analyses, which will focus future restoration projects in appropriate areas.

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