Springs Coast Seagrass Remote Sensing Pilot Project
   Keith Kolasa, Southwest Florida Water Management Districts

Abstract: The overall goal of this pilot project will be to test the use of satellite imagery for mapping seagrass within the mid-shore regions of the Springs Coast. The objectives of this project will be to: 1) obtain archive satellite imagery (IKONOS or similar); 2) complete georectification of the imagery; 3) complete photo-interpretation of the imagery and GIS map production; 4) complete an accuracy assessment of the resulting seagrass coverage; 5) compare the coverage's to those produced in 2007 using conventional aircraft imagery to determine if consistent coverage's were achieved; and 6) use the project results to plan tasking a satellite to collect new imagery of the offshore seagrass beds. Archive satellite imagery is available for much of Florida’s Springs Coast. This pilot project will focus on the mid-shore marine waters of the Citrus and Hernando counties, extending from the St. Martins Keys to the Weeki Wachee river. Three to four archive IKONOS satellite imagery scenes (1m resolution) will be used to map seagrass coverage in this region with a combined area of roughly 125,000 acres (500 km2). The time period of the selected satellite frames is similar to that of the seagrass imagery collected in the Spring of 2007 by conventional aircraft. The IKONOS imagery was collected in the Spring of 2006. The four satellite scenes will be orthorectified. Photo interpretation will be completed using the same seagrass classifications of the recently completed 2007 seagrass map. An accuracy assessment will be completed in the field and the resulting seagrass coverage will be compared to 2007 Springs Coast seagrass coverage that was mapped using 1ft resolution digital imagery. A change analysis will be completed for the common area mapped (125,000 acres) for the purpose of determining consistency between the coverage produced using satellite imagery and the coverage produced using conventional imagery. This project will determine the feasibility and accuracy of remote sensing techniques for mapping the expansive seagrass beds of the Springs Coast. A successful demonstration of the use of satellite imagery will be beneficial to resource managers from multiple state agencies. Resource managers will be provided with information on methods used to process satellite imagery, as well as specific information on costs. This information will be used to plan future seagrass mapping of the Springs Coast. The potential cost savings associated with satellite imagery could provide an opportunity to continually map and monitor this remote region in a cost effective manner. In addition, resource managers would be presented with an opportunity to expand map coverage's to include the offshore seagrass beds and therefore improve monitoring of this little studied area.

Award Matching Funds Total
$25,000.00 $25,000.00 $50,000.00

Year Funded Starting Date Ending Date
2009 1/1/2010 9/30/2011

Location: Citrus and Hernando Counties