Whole-river habitat mapping: coupling high-resolution remote sensing and ground surveys to prioritize conservation in the Dosewallips River, Olympic Mountains, Washington State.
Labbe, Ted*,1, Grotefendt, Rich 2, Carter-Mortimer, Alan3, Jones, Joseph4, 1 Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Kingston, WA, USA2 Grotefendt Photogrammetry, Seattle, WA, USA3 Point No Point Treaty Council, Kingston, WA, USA4 U.S. Geological Survey, Tacoma, WA, USA
ABSTRACT- Recent advances and integration of remote sensing, GIS, and GPS technologies offer aquatic ecologists new tools to conduct broad-scale river-floodplain habitat assessments. We combined 20 cm-resolution LIDAR and digital orthophotography with ground surveys to map large wood jams, pools, and secondary channels along 22 kilometers of the Dosewallips River. Results show striking among-reach differences in the distribution and character of key aquatic habitat features. Large wood jams ranged 0-26.9/km and pools ranged 1.4-23.5/km with most among-reach variation attributable to historical land use and fluvial geomorphic setting. Relative elevation differences between river mainstem and adjacent secondary channels also varied among alluvial reaches in a pattern consistent with their legacy of historical land use. We demonstrate how this investigation is aiding current conservation planning and restoration, and serves as a long-term baseline habitat monitoring tool. With additional refinement these methods represent a low-cost, effective approach to quantifying aquatic habitat conditions in other remote Pacific Northwest large river environments.
Key words: river ecology, remote sensing, GIS, aquatic habitat mapping
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