Team Location: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Authors: Michelle Foreman, Katie Campbell, Semiha Caliskan, Danielle Keyes, Kevin Cowart, Joseph Olson, Steve Padgett-Vasquez
Advisors/Science Mentors: Dr. Jeff Luvall, Dr. Donna Burnett, Dr. Randy Haddock
Abstract: The Cahaba River in Alabama is recognized as one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the U.S. In the recent years, increased urbanization around the Cahaba River has led to increased surface runoff and sedimentation, which are both detrimental to the health of the river, specifically the wildlife. The Marshall Space Flight Center DEVELOP Team partnered with the Cahaba River Society to investigate the effects of urban growth on fish, mussel, amphibian, and snail populations and habitats using spatio-temporal analysis with remote sensing and GIS technologies. Landsat 5 TM and ASTER imagery were employed to characterize land cover types and land cover characteristics. Scenes from 2001, 2006, and 2010 were analyzed to determine vegetation coverage. The DEVELOP Team integrated remotely sensed data as well as socio-economic and physical factors into a GIS framework to analyze the impact on the watershed. Ground truth data on species living in the Cahaba River were gathered from surveys and literature review for statistical analysis. The outputs of the project will include ecological susceptibility maps and a model using remote sensing and GIS technologies which will derive and combine factors impacting the riverine ecology. Findings and end products will be vital to policy makers for the Cahaba River Society, City of Birmingham, and Alabama Department of Environmental Management in development of conservation strategies and new land use plans pertaining to the Cahaba River watershed.
Video transcript available here.