Field-Verification Of A Surface Depression Analysis Identifying Potential Vernal Pools Using LiDAR-Derived DEMs In Plymouth, NH

Authors: Dylan McManus*, Mr.
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Remote Sensing, Environment
Keywords: Vernal Pools, LIDAR, Conservation, Terrestrial, Amphibians, DEM, GIS, Remote Sensing,
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Vernal pools are a critical component of terrestrial ecosystems because they serve as a breeding ground for a variety of native amphibians. Amphibians are important secondary consumers in the terrestrial habitats they inhabit and help facilitate nutrient cycling in the forests. Since amphibians only breed in their natal pools, once a pool is removed or fragmented from the surrounding forest, a regional population is put at great risk. Common methods of detecting and verifying vernal pool locations include the use of aerial imagery. However, forest canopies make visual detection of vernal pools difficult. It is imperative to efficiently and accurately identify and map out the areal extent of vernal pools to inform land managers and policy makers to preserve these ecosystems and protect the amphibians. The town of Plymouth, New Hampshire recognized the deficiencies in their existing wetland inventory. Therefore, in the summer 2017 we completed ground surveys identifying and documenting the presence of several vernal pools. In addition, this project explored the use of a stochastic surface depression analysis (Wu et al., 2014) using a LiDAR-derived digital elevation model (DEM) to identify locations of potential vernal pools. A comparison of the GPS-ground surveys and the stochastic depression analysis results revealed that depressions within the DEM successfully delineated the areal extent of vernal pools. This initial field-verification comparison suggests a surface depression analysis can be applied to other watersheds beyond Plymouth, NH.

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