Project Team: MCHD Mississippi Water Resources Team
Team Location: Mobile County Health Department, Mobile, Alabama
Bernard Eichold, M.D., Dr.PH (Mobile County Health Department)
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Science Advisor)
Joe Spruce (NASA Stennis Space Center)
Watersheds in Mississippi provide many environmental and recreational benefits to the citizens and visitors of the state. The Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society are currently working to protect coastal Mississippi watersheds, in part through an urban coastal preservation initiative. The primary objective of this project was to aid these conservation efforts by delineating watershed extents for nine coastal streams spanning across the three coastal counties of Jackson, Hancock, and Harrison. This was accomplished by using ArcMap along with the open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) platforms Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) and Geographic Resources Analysis Support System (GRASS), to analyze environmental variables corresponding to the study area. An analysis of wetland areas also was performed using a Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) model. Relevant inputs included elevation, terrain aspect, temperature, and vegetation. Earth Resources Data Analysis Systems (ERDAS) and QGIS were used to perform a land cover classification. The analyses utilized Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) data, National Elevation Data (NED), interpolated LiDAR data, and stream vectors. Overall, this project illustrated the utility of open data, as well as open-source software. Furthermore, these watershed and wetland maps can aid in protecting endangered streams.