Category: Managing Water Resources and Restoration
Project Team: Los Angeles Water Resources
Team Location: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory ÛÒ Pasadena, California
Cedric David (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Resource agencies such as the Council for Watershed Health (CWH) and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) rely on accurate knowledge of the entire watershed system to monitor, model and manage water resources. The current methods to detect streams and predict flow regimes (perennial/intermittent) in California’s watersheds mostly use field measurements. Intermittent stream identification is challenging using these methods, and field verification is labor intensive and expensive. To assess the feasibility of using remote sensing, we determined which NASA sensors were compatible for our study and then researched, created and executed methodologies to analyze Landsat and UAVSAR data. We used Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI to analyze the potential of imagery to detect surface water, soil moisture and vegetation-rich areas by performing band combinations, band math, classification and change detection. We used UAVSAR (PolSAR) to evaluate the potential of radar to detect soil moisture and vegetation by using different band polarizations, performing land classification, and change detection. Our findings indicate that UAVSAR data and Landsat data cannot effectively locate small intermittent streams, but can be useful in analyzing trends within larger water bodies such as reservoirs. Our results are useful to the CWH and the SCCWRP in understanding the potential use of Earth observation data for enhanced decision-making.
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