Investigating Alternative Technologies to Identify Invasive Species Extent in the Rio Grande and Other Basins in the Western United States
* Can hyperspectral imagery be used to map the extent of tamarisk infestations along the Rio Grande River?
* Can such mappings be useful in estimating water consumptions by tamarisk?
Need and Benefit
Infestations of _tamarisk spp._ have created a degradation of habitat along many water courses in the Southwestern United States. They displace native vegetation, poison the soil with salt, and consume excessive quantities of water. Eradication measures include chemical, mechanical, and biological controls. Removal of these infestations will make more water available for consumptive uses in Reclamation project areas and elsewhere.
Remote sensing techniques can be used to map the extents of tamarisk infestations so that the effectiveness of control efforts can be evaluated. Traditional techniques use aerial photography. New techniques could involve hyperspectral imagery for better discrimination of plant types. This proposal seeks to look at Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) hyperspectral imagery (the best available) to evaluate its ability to be a mapping tool for tamarisk. The study will identify spectral bands that are significant in plant type discrimination so that lesser hyperspectral instruments can be used for mapping tamarisk on a greater scale.
The results of the study can be useful to those modelling evapo-transpiration (ET) for determination of water losses to tamarisk.