Using geomorphic change detection and supervised classification from LIDAR datasets to assess potential habitat distribution in the Tijuana River Estuary, San Diego.

Authors: Darbi Berry*, , Suzanne Walther, University of San Diego
Topics: Coastal and Marine, Geomorphology, Remote Sensing
Keywords: Wetlands, LIDAR, Classification
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Stones Throw 1 - Granite, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Coastal salt marshes and estuaries provide in-numerous ecosystem services and have long been subject to impacts from local anthropogenic activity. Coastal wetland habitats are influenced directly by subtle changes in their landscapes, and changes to physical factors such as elevation and tidal prism can dictate the available area range of specific habitats. The Tijuana River Estuary has noted for a reduction in its tidal prism and an increased influx of terrigenous sediments. This study combines analyzes of changes in elevation and land cover to evaluate changes in wetland habitat areas within the estuary. We utilized historical LIDAR datasets (2009, 2011 and 2014) to analyze changes in the surface elevation and employed a supervised classification of 2014 aerial imagery to identify and quantify the coverage of nine wetland habitat types within the study site. From this, we are able to quantify areas within the estuary that may be subject to habitat type change. The data shows that areas of low and salt marsh habitats in the estuary are most subject to habitat conversion. Low marsh and salt marsh habitats are critical habitats for many endangered species, such as the California Ridgeway Rail, and increased ecosystem monitoring from remote sensing helps to inform restoration and land managers which habitats may be subject to change.

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