Session 11: Applications of Remote Sensing

c) Using Ultra High Resolution Aerial Remote Sensing for Wetland Restoration Monitoring

Friday, May 12
9:20 AM - 10:50 AM
Location: Room 309/310

Since 2013, the Everglades Mitigation Bank (EMB) owned by Florida Power and Light (FPL) has been using an innovative approach to monitor the success of their restoration efforts. EMB is a private mitigation bank owned by FPL covering 13,249 acres of wetland in southern Miami-Dade County. The area was characterized by hyper-saline conditions until remediation work began in 1996 to restore the area to its natural state. The reconnection of freshwater sheet flow from the north through installation of culverts, removal of berms, and construction of tidal creeks is facilitating the restoration of vegetation zones throughout EMB.

FPL commissioned Normandeau Associates, Inc. and APEM Inc. to annually undertake Ultra High Resolution Aerial (HRA) surveys to monitor restoration effectiveness and detect change. Multispectral imagery is being captured at 5cm resolution. Specialized photogrammetric software is being used to generate a number of outputs including RGBN and NDVI mosaics and an extracted tree height layer for each Assessment Area (AA). The datasets are being used together in an Expert System to classify each AA into a set of pre-defined vegetation cover types. High-Resolution 3D technology was used in the AA’s to divide the habitat into three further zones (sawgrass, Juncus/ Distichlis, and coastal mangrove).

The analyses carried out were used to calculate the percentage cover of each vegetation type in each zone and provide a robust, quantifiable measure of the impacts the restoration work is having on the environment through this innovative aerial based technique. Statistics on vegetation height were also provided to help assess the success of plantings in area. In 2015, FPL implemented more detailed photogrammetric analysis of over 50 plots and study is continuing into 2016.

The presentation will discuss the methods and summarize the results and comparison between the four years. It will also discuss others ways that high resolution imagery and spectroscopy can be used to assess both biological and spectral diversity. It will also discuss how this method avoids disturbance, generates a permanent record, enables very accurate non-subjective measurements of change between years and/or treatments and how it can be used to replace or supplement on the ground monitoring for mitigation banks and other restoration projects.

Co-Authors:
David Campbell - Principal Remote Sensing Scientist, APEM Ltd.
Joe Sicbaldi, Manager Everglades Mitigation Bank, Florida Power and Light
Julia Robinson Willmott, Senior Scientist, Normandeau Associates, Inc.
Dr. Stuart Clough, Director, APEM Ltd.

Christian Newman

President
APEM Inc.

Christian Newman is President of APEM Inc. an aerial remote sensing and advanced geospatial analytics company located in Gainesville, Florida at the University of Florida Innovation HUB. Christian has a MS of Wildlife Ecology and MBA from the University of Florida. He has more than 20 years’ experience in starting and running environmental and technology focused businesses in the US. APEM Inc. is focused on providing customized applications for its unique high resolution aerial remote sensing capabilities developed in Europe for the environmental, transportation, water and energy sectors, as well as government and regulatory bodies.

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